Africa 1960: Four faces of independence from France

Ahmed Sékou Touré, Guinea's first president.
Ahmed Sékou Touré, Guinea's first president. © FRANCE 24

Sixty years ago, most of the French colonies in sub-Saharan Africa became independent nations. Between January 1 and December 31, 1960, some 17 countries, including 14 under French rule, gained their statehood. Senegal's first post-independence president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, referred to 1960 as the "magical year", while others hailed a peaceful decolonisation process.


But behind the scenes, negotiations were bitter. For France, in the midst of the Algerian War of Independence, there was no question of losing its prerogatives, nor its interests in Africa. And in the context of the Cold War, each country had to choose its side or its political orientation.

By following the path of four charismatic leaders – Senegal's Léopold Sédar Senghor, the Ivorian Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Guinea's Ahmed Sékou Touré and Central African Republic's Barthélemy Boganda – FRANCE 24's journalist Florence Gaillard offers viewers a look back at the eventful history of these African countries' path to statehood.

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