Mixed reactions from across the continent of Africa to the death of Queen Elizabeth

·3-min read

Queen Elizabeth reigned for 70 years, during which her country had a complex relationship with the continent of Africa.

British Empire ruled Nigeria from the mid-nineteenth century until 1960. And some people mourned the loss of the UK's monarch on the streets of its capital.

"I felt so sad when I heard about her passing, but I also celebrate her life as a symbol of leadership, a symbol of peace,” said Paul Apel, a Nollywood Film Maker.

“I remember she gave us our independence on a platter of gold, and I am grateful about that."

While others, such as Uju Anya, a professor now living in the United States, marked the event by criticising the Queen online.

In the 1960s, the UK supported a military dictatership that crushed the Biafra rebellion in the eastern part of the country.

Anya wrote on Twitter that “if anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star."

Her Carnegie Mellon University distanced itself from her messages, which the university called in a statement "offensive and objectionable".

In Cape Town, residents had a mixed reaction to her death. South Africa's Marxist opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, said it would not mourn the Queen for her country’s historical attempts to "dehumanize" people in Africa.

"We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth,” it said. "Our interaction with Britain has been one of pain ... death and dispossession, and of the dehumanization of the African people."

At the same time, the mayor of the country’s capital paid tribute to her.

"Of course, we remember the Queen had a special relationship with Cape Town,” said Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of Cape Town.

“It was here, in 1947 that she celebrated her 21st birthday and made what is probably remembered as one of the most, if not her most famous and well-remembered speeches."

Others throughout the continent also remember the Queen fondly.

Queen Elizabeth II was the UK’s longest reigning monarch, and during her rule, she oversaw her country’s relationship with Gambia, which was a member of the Commonwealth from 1965 to 2013.

The nation reapplied for membership in 2017.

Fatou Camara, entrepreneur and communication advisor, said that the Queen’s death is “something that people should not be sad about because she spent most of her years doing great things for people.

"And I think this is a great win for everybody, and every woman especially."

In Sierra Leone, a Commonwealth country, residents reflected on the monarch's death near the Queen Elizabeth II quay in the capital.

"The queen has set an example for the rest of the world,” said Alfree Barrie, a Freetown resident.

“When she visited Sierra Leone in the 1960s in the aftermath of our independence, I was not born, but I was taught in history that her visit turned the corner for the history of Sierra Leone."