chapter  4
Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement
ByPeter P. Ekeh
Pages 23

This chapter argues that the experiences of colonialism in Africa have led to the emergence of a unique historical configuration in modern post-colonial Africa: the existence of two publics instead of one public, as in the West. Many of Africa's political problems are due to the dialectical relationships between the two publics. The chapter addresses two publics and attempts to explain some of Africa's political features within the matrix of these publics. In order to give some empirical content to the distinction it illustrates the issues raised with examples from Nigeria. The distinction between the private realm and the public realm delimits the scope of politics. Generalized morality in society informs both the private realm and the public realm. The colonial ideologies have had a major impact on Africans. The absence of a strong traditional ethos, for instance in the form of a pan-African religion, made Africans easy targets of these ideologies.