European Divide and Rule: Afri-centric Analysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
February 28, 2012

Dr. Kwame NantambuFor the past five hundred years, the world has been under the sway of what deceased Guyanese anthropologist Dr. Ivan Van Sertima once called the “five hundred year curtain”. This geo-political curtain goes under the rubric of the European system of governance — a paradigm whose spinal cord is Divide & Rule.

This model has enabled Europeans to maintain, cement and perpetuate their global power control since the 15th century.

By way of elucidation, this system was introduced on the plantation during the heyday of the European enslavement of African people. For example, if there were 1,000 slaves, then, the European slave-master divided them into 100 house-servants versus 900 field-hands.

As Malcolm X delineates: On the plantation, “there were two kinds of Negroes-the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negro always look out for his master. When the field Negro got too much out of hand, he held him back in check. They did not kill him; they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. The house Negro lived better than the field Negro. He ate better. He dressed better. He lived in a better house. He lived right up near his master in the attic or the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and wore the same clothes and he could talk just like his master— good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. If his master got sick, he would say, ‘what’s the matter , Boss, we sick?’. And when his master’s house caught fire, he would try and put the fire out. He didn’t want his master’s house burnt. He never wanted his master’s property threatened and he was more defensive of it than his master. That was the house Negro. Then, you have the field Negro who lived in a hut. They had nothing to loose. They wore the worst kind of clothes. They ate the worst food and they caught hell. They felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master-oh, yes, they did. If the master got sick, they prayed that the master died. If the master’s house caught fire, they prayed for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two.”

Hence, the field-hands had to be the ones to engage in slave revolts. They wanted to destroy the system, while the house-servants wanted to protect it.

In other words, the house-servants were psychologically and subliminally trained and conditioned to protect the European slave-master’s interests. They were his buffer zone.

In terms of power dynamics, the European slave-master had absolute power on the plantation, as in veto power, period. He controlled any and everything. This veto power not only resided in the slave-master’s mansion but it was also in the hands of only one person.

This was the system of governance on the European plantations in the 15th century — keep the slaves divided so as to secure European rule. And this successful divide and rule model (ploy) of governance has enabled Europeans to rule the planet for the past five hundred years and counting.

And fast-forwarding to the 1960s, when the descendants of these two 15th century plantation entities were now demanding political independence, as in freedom, from their former European slave-master (colonizer), Britain, it was no great surprise that Britain imposed that same but successful 15th century plantation system of governance on them.

At that time, it was successfully packaged as the Westminster system of government. Give me a break, please!

The Truth Be Told: The Euro– British Westminster system of government is absolutely nothing more than a new and improved successful 15th century plantation system of governance. As the adage goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Put another way, under this new and improved Euro-British two-party system of government, the members of the ruling government are now the descendants of the house-servants, while the members of the loyal opposition are viewed as the descendants of the field-hands.

Sadly, the legacy of the 15th century plantation acerbic hatred, antagonism and downright animosity that existed and were purposely perpetrated by Europeans between the two entities still exist in T&T as of this writing.

By skilful design, the Euro-British was able to maintain and perpetuate the competitive modus operandi that existed between these two entities. Ergo, the Westminster system of governance only took the divide and rule slave model of governance to the next European global control level.

The re-mix of the 15th century European plantation system of governance is overtly reflected in the geo-political reality in that before the Euro-British granted political independence to her colonized in Africa and the Caribbean, it was stipulated that they must meet the basic “criterion of eligibility for independence”, namely, ” a full-fledged two- party system in operation.”

Furthermore, the Euro-British insisted that independence was “a right of only those who were capable of maintaining and perpetuating liberal democratic institutions”, albeit the descendants of the 15th century house-servants.

As Louis Lindsay (1976) elucidates: “The adoption of the Westminster model of competitive two-party government facilitated the persistence of (continued European) control . The political leaders who are chosen by ordinary citizens in periodic elections are the ornamental elements of the polity. They provide the illusion that government is government of the people and for the people.”

In the final analysis, the overall impact of the imposed Euro-British Westminster model of governance has not only been in the direction of making self-determination impossible but has also tended toward making meaningful total liberation impractical and illusive for the former colonized in Africa and the Caribbean.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

8 Responses to “European Divide and Rule: Afri-centric Analysis”


  • Please explain how one can start a fire, unperterbed about controlling the fire or where the fire goes and the say I go in peace.
    I do agree that the system of government that is pushed around the world does not fit most of the countries and everyone should be able to move towards a system that best suits them. And these debates should be started because the system we hang on to in T&T might not be the best fit. But lets be more constructive and make proposals. With critism we should have alternative proposals.

  • Term limits. 2 five yrs and out.

  • Did You Notice that ??
    Those playing Super Heroes in Movies and in Literature- The Hard Mean Man, the Bad Man, the Hard Core Criminal- Apply some down to earth hard labor-
    Cutting Sugarcane, Fulling water, Gathering Dry wood, Cleaning Drains, and not forgetting Planting Rice. Invite some of these folks of the unreal house to fall through the real house and you would see!!!!
    Come on down and apply the Acid Test -then you would know what is Heroes…..

  • Very good writing Kwame, @ Al..Kwame’s job in this brief edit was to provoke thought, the solution is inherent in the problem, many times we go seeking solutions but are clueless to the actual problem so we end up putting problems disguised as solutions in place

  • Most current systems for governing the masses globally are in the end all equall. The problem or difference is the balance of power of the corrupt leadership which guides each and every nation.

  • A suitable system of Governtment, is a Government of the people for the people and by the people. This means a representitive coming out of the house of the majority of the people, who lives and knows their needs, and will agitate FOR them. This representitive is consented by the people and at any time can be recalloed by them. This means and end to party politics as we know it, and the begining of representitive Government, with each representative, serving his district, and accountable to them only.

  • Meaningless racist twaddle! : “This was the system of governance on the European plantations in the 15th century — keep the slaves divided so as to secure European rule. And this successful divide and rule model (ploy) of governance has enabled Europeans to rule the planet for the past five hundred years and counting.”
    This pseudo-intellectual diatribe concerning white rule is historically spurious – there could hardly have been any Negro-slave type of plantations in the 15th century for the simple reason that the New World as we know it didn’t come into being until the very end (1492 to be exact) of that century. This is either a deliberate indulgence in hyperbole to grind a particular axe or else CRASS IGNORANCE. Whichever, these pompous pontifications are not to be taken seriously or relied upon for authenticity or even basic veracity

  • Starting a fire to burn vermin is not inconsistent with peace. Pestilence comes in many forms, and the most appropriate remedy is incineration. And when we use truth, logic and facts to analyze and refute the myths and notions that passes for history and conventional wisdom, we, in effect, incinerate pestilence.

    The Portuguese began kidnapping and transporting Africans to Europe in 1440. In 1518, the transportation of these enslaved peoples across the Atlantic began. There were “African Slave” plantations in the new world in the 15th Century. The fact that you do not know this is because your thinking is still locked into that era. Further, a narrow assed racist like you will always believe that it is racist to analyze the devious patterns of your reasonings. It is your birth right dude, so live with it.

    Africans need to understand these racist idiots who froth at the mouth when their dirty laundry is exposed. After the perpetuation of evil of enormous proportions across history and this world, there are still significant human remnants with the legacy of this kind of thinking in their heads, and they will cling to zealously because without it they have nothing. All of your frothing and Freudian pawning off of a cultural traite unto the victims of that traite will not alter the trend of the inevitable. Because what we know today is not what you teach us, and we are not ignorant, so yours cannot reach us.

    And for my brothers and sisters, here is some information to whet your historical appetite.

    http://www.atlnightspots.com/2012/worlds-languages-traced-back-to-africa

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