From Kenya to Nigeria to South Africa, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted an outpouring of condolences from African heads of state praising an “extraordinary” leader and sharing memories of her frequent visits to the continent during her 70-year reign.
However, the monarch’s death has also reignited a sensitive debate about the colonial past in English-speaking Africa, particularly the queen’s role as head of state during British rule.
When Elizabeth was born in 1926, the British Empire spanned six continents. During her reign, which began in 1952, most of the 56 countries that make up the Commonwealth gained their independence, including many nations on the African continent such as Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.
His death comes at a time when European countries are under pressure to come to terms with their colonial history, atone for past crimes, and to return stolen African artifacts held for years in museums in London and Paris.