Views Of Empire

A series examining the colonial experience from the receiving end.


01A View From Ghana20060516

A series examining the colonial experience from the receiving end.

The Ghanaian writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes illustrates some of the absurdities of Empire: his grandmother can still dance an Irish jig and his father recited Mary Had a Little Lamb without having any concept of snow.

Nii searches out The History of the Gold Coast and Asante, by the native Rev Carl Christian Reindorf.

Published in 1895, the year before the Asantehene (the king of the Asante) and his entourage were sent into exile by the British, it ends on a positively welcoming note:

To lift the nations which she rules:

To educate and leave the gospel free;

One word from her, and murderous customs died!

Britannias rule then blest by all,

With superstition drive away,

And Christianity and Peace prevail.

but did the British fulfil that promise?

02A View From Hong Kong20060523

Flicking through school history books old and new, former resident of Hong Kong and Oxford historian Dr Steve Tsang finds out what the former colony was taught about its part in the Empire.

And what now? How is the history of Hong Kong taught by its new rulers?

03A View From India20060530

Historian Maria Misra charts the rise and fall of nationalism in Indian textbooks, and hears some school pupils ponder the question: "What did the Raj do for us?".

04A View From Jamaica20060606

Poet Valerie Bloom Looks At How Jamaicans Remember Being Part Of The British Empire.

05 LASTA View From Canada20060613

Writer Gail Robinson asks whether Canada still cares about the British Empire.