A paradox, a moment of both progress and scientific achievement, and paternalism and oppression. The Great Lion's paw secured a lion's share of Africa in the days of Empire. From Egypt, to the north, Nigeria to the West, Kenya in the East, and the Cape to the south. Domination of both the naval trade corridors into the Indian ocean secured the supremacy of the English speaking peoples for centuries. It also heralded the rise of Anglicanism as one of the largest Christian denomination, rivaling even Roman Catholicism at it's heyday. It's exporting of the Protestant Supremacy Acts was responsible for the disenfranchisement of large portions of societies in the mighty continent. British missionaries, able to call on the support of the Royal Navy, and elite corps of marines, when their own guards faced challenge, often preceded economic domination.
-Cecil Rhodes, if any man is to demonstrate the contradictions of Empire in Africa, it is this man. Ambivalent on matters of faith, it is possible he believed in a creator, but he was at most a deist.
'There is nothing one notices more in life than the similarity of all religions. Whether one inquires into the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians....or goes back to the religion of the Romans....in all, the same idea is to be found - to raise humanity higher. The idea is not new; it is as old as the beginning of civilisation....'
He did have faith in the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race though, and held in his heart the belief that the English peoples had the duty to rule the "Savages" in order to enlighten them to the supremacy of the English way. He looked down on Europeans of continental descent, and used his political connections to support his wealth, the aggressions of which leading up to the Boer Wars. You can read more about him here, I will move on. There are entire collections of books, tens of thousands of pages, written about this man. http://www.cecilrhodes.co.za/
There is the scientific benefits, the discovery of the skulls that lead to the advancement of our knowledge of human evolution, there is the benefits of bringing a stone and copper age societies into the modern world, there is the medical advancement. This does not excuse the atrocities committed, the suppression of indigenous beliefs, the aggressive expansion of homophobia and Christianity. It is true British imperialism was no where near as brutal as Belgium or French, but the "They were worse" defense isn't exactly a decent one. The institutionalization of racial and religious supremacy. The question is then, what should the history books say about this.