* Boys' Youth Group Uniforms : countries Africa

Boys' Youth Group Uniforms: Africa

Figure 1.--Madagascar was a French colony and Scouting was founded there during the French colonial period. Here we see some Madagascar Scouts, we think in the 1970s.

HBU at this time has very little information about youth movements in Africa. We have very little information on individual African countries. And we have rektiveky few African reders to contribure information. Most of Africa was colonized by European countries during the 19th century. Thus the African youth movements were influenced by the developing youth movement in Europe. The principal youth movement active in Africa has been Scouting. The Boys' Brigade and rekated groups were also ctive. Italian Fascists promoted youth movements in their African colonies. We do not yet have much information on other African youth movements. Scouting was most populkar during the colonial era. It ahd the Bioys; Brigade behan to decline in Brur=tain at about the same time that De-colonization began in Africa. And as far as we can tell, youth groups have not continued as an important institution in mny of the new independent countries. There is also a major difference beteen the Arab north and Sub-Saharan African south. Scouting as it shifted the original Christian requirement ti a gebneralized belief in God wa able to organize some groups in North Africa as well as tge Sub-Sahsran south. The Boy' Brigade and relared grouos are only fiund in the Sub-Sagaran countries. Some countries had Marrxist governments (Angola, Ethipoa, Congo, and others). We have been unavle to find information on Pioneer groups which may have been organized.



We know very little about youth groups in Benin. The country was the French colony of Dahomey. Scouting was founded there during the French colonial period. Thecolony was granbted indepoendence as Benin and there is a small Scouting movenent. After independence the country became radicalized and a Marxist republic was established. We do not know if aioneer movement wa established. The Pioneer are the youth movemnent orgabized in Communist countries. .

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso was the French West African colony pf Upper Volta. We have very little youth group information. There may have been a small Scouting mivemnent during the French era. We note a group of Pionniers de la révolution (Pioneers of the revolution) a youth organization modelled along the pattern of the young pioneers in communist countries. It was established in Burkina Faso during Thomas Sankara's presidence who influenced by the Cubans toyed with socialism (1983-87). Tthe few images we have show that, except the yellow berets (modelled on the Che Guevara beret), the children didnt't always wear a standardized uniform. Even the scarfs were not allways red, and the children commonly wore they ordinary clothing. We are not sure to what extent it was a seriuous group or just a prop for the Sankara regime. We believe it was disbabded safter Sankkara was ousted from power.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is an island nation, opposite Cape Verde, the western most projection of the Afrivan Continent. We know very lititle about youth groups in Cape Verde. The country was a Portuguese colony and there was Scouting there beginning with the colonial period. Independent Cape Verse has a small Scouting movement.


The modern nation of Camerron is the fusion of English, French, and German colonies. Cameroon was a German colony until World war I. We have no infornmation on youth groups during the German colonial period. After thecWar, German Kameroon wa partitiuoned between Britain and France. We have virtually no information on youth groups in Canerron. There is a small Scouting movement which was founded duriung the colonia period in both the British and French controlled areas. .


Scoting was founded in Ethiopia during the inter-War era. We believe it was founded about 1933, but do not yet have details. Ethiopia was one of the few independent Africa countries at the time. We do not know much abouth Ethiopiam Scouting, but at the time suspect it was a realtively small movement confined to Adis Abana or perhaps a few other of the coutrty's largest cities. Italy invaded and occupied Ethiopia (1935). The Italians banned Scouting and founded their Fascist colonial youth movement. The British invaded Ethiopia and restored Emperor Haile Selassie to power (1941). Scouting was revived in the country, but as far as we can tell several tears later (1948). Scout troops appear to hsve been organized through the school system. The coyntry's Scout movement was recognized as a member of the World Organization (1969). The Scout movement played an importan role in the relief effort needed because of the droughts and famines. Scouts also worked in literacy campaigns and other community betterment efforts. A Marxist Government seized power in Ethiopia and banned Scouting for a second time. I do not know if the Government organized a Young Pioneer movement.


The only youth group we know if in Gabion is Scouting. Scouting began during the French colonial era. There is currebtly a very small Scouting movement which includes both boys and girls.



Mussolini seized power in Italy (1924). Within a few years he banned Scouting so there would be no competition to the Fascist youth movement (1927). The movement was extended to the African colonies. The movement was disbaned when the British drove the Italians and their German allies out of Libya (1942).


The only Malagasy youth group we know of is Scouting. There is a small Scouting movement. Madagascar was a French colony and Scouting was founded there during the French colonial period (1912). The Malagasy Scouting movement was not recoginized by interntional groups until independence (1960). There are both Boy Scout and Girl Scout assoiciations. Here we see some Madagascar Scouts, we think in the 1970s (figure 1).


Nigeria is Africa's most popular country. As a former British colony we see the various British youth organizations with Nigerian afiliates. The most important organization was the Boy Scouts. We have not, however, been able to find mich information about Nigerian Scouting. We believe it ws most popular in the Christian south. We also notice the Boys' Brigade, but have been unable to find much information about them. We see a Life Boys group in 1933. Life Boys were the yiunger division of the Boys' Brigade, rather like Cubs in Scouting. There was a Boys' Life Brigade in Britain, but they joined with the Boy' Brigad. After doing so, they dropped Scouting as an activity. As this was a Christian organization, it was only found to any extent in the south.



Mussolini seized power in Italy (1924). Within a few years he banned Scouting so there would be no competition to the Fascist youth movement (1927). The movement was extended to the African colonies. The movement was disbaned when the British drove the Italians out of Somalia (1941).

South Africa

The best known youth group in South Africa is of course the Boy Scouts. Baden Powell played an important role in the Bohr War and his expereinces in South Africa played an important role in the foundation of the Scoyting movement. During the Apartheid era, the Scouts were on of the few institutions in which one could find some minimal degree of participation by different racial groups. This was probably because English South Afraicans played a major role in the Scouting movement. Less well known outside of the country is the the Voortrekker movement. This movement was run by Afrukaaner South Africans and almost all the boys were Afrrikaaners. The penkoppe (singular: penkop) are the junior division of comparable to what Cubs are to Boy Scouts. Penkop ('pin head') is basically an affectionate designation of a youngster in general, referring to the crew cut of many Afrikaner boys. More particularly the term is used for boy soldiers who joined the ranks of the Boer Commandos that fought the British between 1899 and 1902. They in turn serve as as a role model for Voortrekker 'cubs', hence their name.


We have limited information about youth groups in Zambia. The Boy Scouts are the most importat group and involved in important social projects. There is also a Guide movement.


We have very little information about youth groups in Zimbabwe at this time. Readers have provided some information about the Boys' Brigade. One source indicated tht the Boys' Brigade in what is now Zimbabwe was founded in 1948. At the time of course, Zimbabwe was the British colony of Rhodesia. A reader tells us, "The 1st Bulawayo Company of The Boys' Brigade was founded on Friday, October 1, 1948, the 1st Wankie in 1949 and the 1st Salisbury on Friday, July 14, 1950. [Coltham] William Thomson was the first members of the 1st Salisbury and, as the person responsible for calling the meeting which resulted in the Company being formed. He tells us, "The inaugural meeting of the 1st Salisbury took place in the Presbyterian Church, Jameson Avenue on July 14, 1950." [Thomspn]


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Created: 2:15 AM 1/28/2007
Last updated: 9:32 PM 7/30/2012