I remember reading once that there were universities in India that were managed or run by the British, and that these schools permitted native Africans to attend. However, it was a long time ago and I can't find the source. (Of course, it's also possible that I imagined it all!) Can anyone help me identify any university level schools that would have accepted native African students during the early 1890's? It doesn't matter to me where they might have been located, but I would be particularly interested in any around the Africa region or possible England.

  • Heh. There seems to be a lot of interest around the 1890s decade currently for some reason. :-P – Noldorin Oct 19 '11 at 22:22
  • In any case, can't answer your question I'm afraid, but I should say that the British didn't treat black Africans particularly well during their rule. For example, the administrative and mercantile class in colonial British Africa (east Africa at least) was largely composed of Indians, who the British shipped in from the subcontinent to run the place; a) because they were typically better educated than the natives, b) because it reduced the chance of any local uprisings. – Noldorin Oct 19 '11 at 22:24
  • We know Tintin was teaching history (later changed to mathematics) to Africans in his adventures in Congo. ^_~ – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Oct 20 '11 at 9:48

I tried looking at the biographies of known native Africans. An obvious starting point is Nelson Mandela, he went to the University of Fort Hare. Close but no cigar: that university was founded in 1916. However, his biography also mentions University of South Africa (founded as University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1876) and University of the Witwatersrand (founded as South African School of Mines in 1896). Mandela studied there half a century after the period you are asking about here but if one is to believe Wikipedia on this, there were no acceptance restrictions for black students before late 40's of 20th century. So at least theoretically native Africans were allowed to study there. To prove that it also happened practically one needs to actually find somebody who studied there during the period in question (e.g. Sol Plaatje had to resort to private lessons, no good).

Looking at personalities from Ghana, things first looked worse there. I could find lots of people who studied in Europe: Germany, France, England. For example J. Benibengor Blay who studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic in the 30's of the 20th century. Or Jacobus Capitein who studied at the University of Leiden in the 18th century. Then I found J.E. Casely-Hayford, looks like he attended Fourah Bay College in Freetown (Sierra Leone) somewhere around 1890. Seeing that this university existed since 1827 it must have been an obvious destination for native Africans looking for an education option. Africanus Horton and Samuel Ajayi Crowther attended the same university earlier. One of the sources for the Wikipedia article even says:

From 1827 to 1950 and from 1969 to the present, the majority of the faculty was African.

I looked some more but couldn't find any other university in West Africa, maybe Fourah Bay College was the only one at that time.

  • Another great find! This will fit nicely into the storyline for a book I'm planning to write. Thanks once again! – Steven Drennon Oct 21 '11 at 14:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.