Department or Program

International Relations

Additional Department or Program (if any)


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Quinn Slobodian


Several African historians have famously recognized the challenges created by colonialism in colonial cities. Colonial rule has been argued to have brought modernization and urbanization to Africans. On the other hand, African colonial cities were often sites of terror, inequality and racial segregation where those colonized were made disenfranchised. Thus, what became of these former colonial African cities that were designed to promote European superiority? How did African leaders and urban planners overcome the challenges inherited from colonialism? Finally, how did the ideologies of African postcolonial leaders influence urban plans? Through the case studies of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Tanzania’s capital Dodoma, and Nigeria’s capital Abuja, this paper evaluates the methods and policies adopted by postcolonial governments to rid African cities of harmful colonial legacies and consequently decolonize the African urban space.