BBC post about Queen and Africa draws outrage

The broadcaster disabled comments under the tweet after being accused of “rebranding colonialism”

The BBC has disabled comments under a tweet celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s “longstanding relationship” with Africa after the post drew public outrage, with people calling the tribute a “rebranding of colonialism.”

The post in question was published on Twitter by the BBC’s African arm on Thursday in the wake of the long-serving monarch’s death, and featured a four-and-a-half-minute video celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s relations with Africa and its leaders throughout her 70-year reign.

However, a number of people took issue with the post, stating that the BBC was trying to “rebrand colonialism” by sugarcoating Britain’s rule over Africa, which continued into the late 20th century. In 1980, Zimbabwe became the last African nation to gain independence from the UK.

Many went on to provide examples of how African freedom fighters suffered at the hands of the their British oppressors throughout the years, with some users citing Kenya’s Mau Mau anti-colonial uprising which resulted in 1.5 million Kenyans being kept in British concentration camps and heavily patrolled villages, amid widespread starvation and torture.

“She became queen while on tour in Kenya. Africans were segregated, enslaved, tortured and killed on their own lands,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is what the BBC consider a long term relationship.”

“We never had a relationship with Elizabeth, it was imperialism and colonialism, meaning it was forced into us. COLONIAL relationship,” another pointed out.

Some, however, did try to defend the post, with one person writing that people were now using the Queen’s death as a means to criticize everything Britain has done in the past 70 years. 

As the negative outpour continued, BBC Africa’s social media team banned any new comments and now only allows those tagged by the channel itself to contribute to the thread.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday.

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