The Concept Of Neo Colonalism In Joy Chinokwu’s Cloud At Sunrise And After Midnight

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The Concept Of Neo Colonalism In Joy Chinokwu’s Cloud At Sunrise And After Midnight


The researcher, in the work, “The Concept of Neo-Colonialism in Joy Chinwokwu Clouds at Sunrise and After Midnight, tries to show neo-colonialism as a practice in Nigeria right from her independence to the present day: the negative effect of the neo-colonialist powers in all sectors of economy in the country and also, in the lives of the citizens. There by, bringing out a supposed solution to the problem facing Nigerians.

This work is divided into five chapters;

  1. Chapter one comprises of the introduction, statement of problems, purpose of the study, scope of the study, the significance of the study and research methodology.
  2. Chapter two deals with an overview of some other African writers and their works.
  3. Chapter three is the concept of neo-colonialism in Joy Chinwokwu’s Cloud at Sunrise.
  4. Chapter four is the analysis of the concept of neo-colonalism in Joy Chinwokwu’s After Midnight.
  5. Chapter five summarizes and concludes the work.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Using the dual perspectives of post-colonial and neo-colonial studies, this paper portions the traumatizing impact of the neo-colonialist leadership on Africa and Africa’s creative writers, as a strand of the continent’s intellectual class striving for genuine independence. It shows the African writer as frequents site for the classless in the struggle by post-colonialist Africans, to wrest true independence from the grip of neo-colonialist leadership. It further traces this rift to the realities of Western capitalism’s predatory dominations of Africa, which began with the brutalizing commodification of Africans as slaves, was followed by the arbitrary creation of unworkable states, and now has reincarnated in neo-colonialism’s garb, and submits that the true and lasting peace and harmony can be achieved by the human race, only if Western capitalism and advances in science and technology are aligned with the pre-industrial, pre-capitalist and pre-racialist human values.

The Concept of Neo-Colonialism- Definition of Terms

The term, “Concept” is traced back to 1550 – 1560, derived from a Latin word, conceptum, meaning something conceived. But what is today termed “Concepts” is used in mainstream cognitive science and philosophy of mind. It is an abstract idea or a mental symbol, sometimes defined as a unit of knowledge, built from other units which act as a concept’s characterizes.

It can also be defined as a general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences something formed in the mind, a thought or notion.


Neo-Colonialism is a term which is commonly used in a variety of academic literature, dealing with the history of the capitalist system, its expansion and contemporary world affairs.

The term is originally derived from a contrast made by V.I. Lenin in a pamphlet entitled “Imperialism”, which was originally published in 1939. His contrast was between direct political domination through force of arms and “domination by extra political means”. Early colonialism characterized the period from the beginnings of the age of European exploration and expansion to the gaining of granting independence to former colonies. It essentially involved the imposition of centralized political rule upon non-western peoples, using various means of direct political compulsion.

Neocolonialism refers to the continued domination of former colonies using extra political or commercial means. In other words, though is a continuation of the same process of exploitation and assimilation, it operates not through the application of military might or legislative power, but through economic compulsion.

On the other hand, neocolonialism (which means new colonialism), does not only rely on the continued domination of former colonies, it is also within the colonies. This is to say that, some Africans (precisely high officials) impose or enforce powers over their fellow Africans, by controlling the political and economic sector of the country.

Critics adherent to neo-colonialism contend that multi-national corporations continue to exploit the resources of post-colonial states, and that this economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the 16th to the 20th centuries. In this sense, neo-colonialism implies a form of contemporary economic imperialism, that powerful nations behave like colonial powers of imperialism, and that this behaviour is likened to colonialism in a post colonial world.

The term Neocolonialism first saw widespread use, particularly in reference to Africa, soon after the process of -decolonization, which followed a struggle by many national independence movements in the colonies. Upon gaining independence, some national leaders and opposition groups argued that their countries were being subjected to a new form of colonialism, waged by the former colonial powers and other developed nations, and even amongst the dictatorial leaders in the colonies. Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of newly independent Ghana, was one of the most notable figures to use the term. A classical definition of neo-colonialism is given in his, Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism. In the book, Nkrumah says; “the neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage”. He goes further to say that development of the less developed parts of the world and investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed countries operating in less developed countries, it is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries, being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.

Nkrumah’s work is self-defined as an extension of Lenin’s imperialism; The Last Stage of Capitalism (1916), in which Lenin argues that “19th century imperialism is predicated upon the needs of the capitalist system”. Neo-colonialism like colonialism is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. Che Guevara, Maxist Revolutionary, 1961; says,

We politely referred to as ‘underdeveloped’ in truth are colonial, semi-colonial or dependent countries. We are countries whose economics have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. ‘Underdevelopment’ or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat for all our peoples. We the ‘underdeveloped’ are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing condition. That is the great formular for imperialist economic domination. (41)

1.2 Statement of the Problem

For many Africans, the formal end of colonial rule did not produce an end to social injustice and drastic economic imbalance. The contention is that colonizers have aimed to control their colonized through indirect means; that in lieu of direct military political control, neocolonialist powers employ economic, financial and trade policies to dominate less powerful countries. They contain a continuing presence in the economies, especially where it concerns raw materials of former colonies.

In this context, Joy Chininwokwu’s novels are dominated by a desire to spell out what has been going on in her society, as regards to neocolonialism. Joy Chinwokwu, as well as other African writers yield to a critical examination of post-colonial African societies, seeking neither to embellish nor to discredit them, but to simply depict a reality.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out;

  1. To what extent the African writers, especially Joy Chinwokwu, have highlighted the problems faced by Africans in line with the neocolonial powers;
  2. To what extent these writers contributed in spelling out the concepts of neocolonialism and its negative impact on Africans;
  3. To what extent have these writers tried to change the impression of Africans towards neocolonialism, and how it can be resolved, by the way they reconstruct experiences in their work.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The researcher will focus on the concept of neocolonialism, as depicted in Joy Chinwokwu’s novels, and the roles played by each character as regards to neocolonialism. The project will shed light on the societal influence as shown in the two novels being examined.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The society is going to gain from this study. The pre-occupation of this project is to examine the concept of neo-colonialism, and in this regard, a critical examination of the sociology of neo-colonialism in Africa will be analyzed.

The society will be enlightened on the negative aspects and impacts of some of the policies imposed on them by the neo-colonialists, all in the name of development. More so, to seek for a total independence, not only from the external neo-colonialist, but also from the internal.

1.6 Research Methodology

The primary sources of data for this project are, Joy Chinwokwu’s Clouds at Sunrise and After Midnight. Other secondary sources include the texts from the library, internet, newspapers and critical works related to the topic.

Chapter Five


Going through Joy Chinwokwu’s Clouds at Sunrise and After Midnight, we see the concept of neo-colonialism depicted in the novels; it reflects the situation in Nigeria, and Africa in general. The leadership of Africa by their fellow Africans after the independence depicts the slave of the people in the hands of their fellow blacks. This is what Chinwokwu portrays in Clouds at Sunrise. In the novel, the author uses “Waazobia representing the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, depicting the bad leadership influenced by the Colonialist power is transferred to the black (Africans), who use it against their fellow blacks and this results to what we call Neocolonialism.

From Cloud at Sunrise, the military leaders are seen as the neocolonialists, who trample on the masses’ rights, intimidating and exploiting them for their own personal and selfish interest. Even when a better military Head of State decides to change things for the development of the Country, he is being killed by coup plotter (who are his fellow military men)m all because of their desire to continue in their corrupt practices and to exploit the nation’s wealth. The human rights activists who stand up to fight the rights of the people are being killed, while some are tortured. Going through the period of Colonialism, the colonialism, the colonial masters trampled on the rights and freedom of their Colonies, and dealt with any citizen that rises to speak against their bad policies and leadership. They also deceived the people to believe what they want them to believe. This is what is seen amongst the African leaders, and even the high class citizens of the Country. When the masses feels that the coming of Civil rule (practicing democracy) will make a difference, since it has to do with people’s consent, but it gets to the worse, because the people were deceived with empty promises by the presidential candidates, in order to be voted in.

In After Midnight, the presidential system newly introduced in Waazobia, instead of bringing better governance, is seem as the continuation of exploitation. Although, the author creates a state of fantasy, when a president that is chosen by the people leads the country with all sincerity and transparency, which is to show that the masses can gain their total independence from neocolonialist power, if they take law into their hands. But can this be achieved in the present day Africa (Nigeria)?

This is a question every citizen in Nigeria (Africa) has to think about. Even the White Congress, as we see in the novel, were being called upon to assist, in order to bring a stop to the bad situation in the Country. But on the contrary, they are the main cause of all the problems Africans are facing presently. Dashing back to the colonial period; the colonial masters used all kind of methods to exploit their colonies financially, and the wealth was then used to develop their own Country, to the detriment of the colonized Country. The colonial masters were so deceitful; introducing industrialization in Africa, as a means to develop the Country. It was a means they used to extract our wealth, indirectly, for their personal enrichment.

After lighting the fire, it becomes dangerous, destroying African as continent, building a bridge between the people (the rich and poor through the system of capitalism), and causing havoc in the economy of the Country These whites decides to intervene, their efforts (to an extent) becomes futile, because these practices (the concepts of neocolonialism), it already rooted in the Country, and can only be uprooted by the coming together of the people (in unity) to decide and fight, to build their Country for the better.

In Chinwokwu’s After Midnight; it ends with the people, putting their hands together to fight corruption even in the face of danger. They decide to put a stop to tribalism, nepotism, and other vices in the Country. The demonstration by the people shows that, it is only the people of Africa that can change and chase the neo colonial power from the Country, in unity and determination.

Linking the novels of Joy Chinwokwu, to the present day Nigeria, Since her independence in 1960, Nigeria has passed through the jackboots of eight military dictators: Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi Jronsi, General Yakubu Gowon, General Murtala Ramat Mohammad, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Major General Muhammed Buhari ; General Ibahim B. Babangide, Generals Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar. While human rights abuses, was a feature of all these regimes, the peak of horror was reached during the reign of General Sani Abacha, a murderous paranoid, who blocked his ears against all reasoning. Besides the numerous state-organized bombings and killings, including the horrendous hanging of Nigeria’s environmentalist and writer, ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his Ogoni ethnic members, on November 10, 1995. It was reported that he kept a pond of crocodiles, into which he fed some of his perceived opponents. In a characteristics African dictator culture, he was working towards transforming himself into a civilian Head of state, when he died suddenly in June 1998.

This criminal betrayal of the African people’s pre-independence expectations, and the euphoria at independence naturally resulted in the bifurcation of the continent into two. There is the Africa of the profits by neocolonialism, and the Africa that struggles to emerge into a free and truly independent post-colonial world The only solution is therefore, a relatively fair redistribution of wealth; such that the poor will not have to be kept awake by hunger.

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