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Coloniality of Power in Postcolonial Africa

Myths of Decolonization

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Walter Chambati

Publication Year: 2013

This lively book interrogates the African postcolonial condition with a focus on the thematics of liberation predicament and the long standing crisis of dependence (epistemological, cultural, economic, and political) created by colonialism and coloniality. A sophisticated deployment of historical, philosophical, and political knowledge in combination with the equi-primordial concepts of coloniality of power, coloniality of being, and coloniality of knowledge yields a comprehensive and truly refreshing understanding of African realities of subalternity. How global imperial designs and coloniality of power shaped the architecture of African social formations and disciplined the social forces towards a convoluted ëpostcolonial neocolonizedí paralysis dominated by myths of decolonization and illusions of freedom emerges poignantly in this important book. What distinguishes this book is its decolonial entry that enables a critical examination of the grammar of decolonization that is often wrongly conflated with that of emancipation; bold engagement with the intractable question of what and who is an African; systematic explication of the role of coloniality in sustaining Euro-American hegemony; and unmasking of how the ëpostcolonialí is interlocked with the ëneocolonialí paradoxically. It is within this context that the postcolonial African state emerges as a leviathan, and the ëpostcolonialí reality becomes a terrain of contradictions mediated by the logic of violence. No doubt, Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheniís handling of complex concepts and difficult questions of the day is remarkable, particularly the decoding and mixing of complex theoretical interventions from Africa and Latin America to enlighten the present, without losing historical perspicacity. To buttress the theoretical arguments, detailed empirical case studies of South Africa, Zimbabwe, DRC and Namibia completes this timely contribution to African Studies.

Published by: African Books Collective


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-xvi

...This book has been written at a crucial time in global history in general and African history in particular. On the one hand, the history is dominated by a climate of interventionist global neoliberal imperialism which increasingly manifests its violent character through the military invasion of Iraq, bombardment of Libya, imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe and military ...

Part I. Colonial Matrix of Power

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1. Introduction: A Neocolonized Africa

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pp. 3-36

...This book deals with the predicament of Africans in a ‘postcolonial neocolonized world’ that was created by the negative processes of Western modernity as it spread across the world. The term ‘postcolonial neocolonized world’ is used to capture the structural, systemic, cultural, discursive, and epistemological pattern of domination and exploitation that has engulfed Africans since the Conquest (with a capital ‘C’ to signify it as a multifaceted process rather than an event and to underline ...

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2. In the Snare of Colonial Matrix of Power

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pp. 37-64

...Africa is still entangled and trapped within the snares of the colonial matrix of power. Quijano (2007: 168-178) identified the key contours of the colonial matrix of power as consisting of four interrelated domains: control of economy; control of authority, control of gender and sexuality; and, control of subjectivity and knowledge. This chapter deals with the impact of this colonial order on the African continent and the African minds since the onset of colonial encounters. Frantz Fanon correctly noted that colonialism was never simply contented with imposing of its grammar ...

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3. Myths of Decolonization and Illusions of Freedom

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pp. 65-96

...The momentous people’s uprisings rocking the North African region since January 2011, culminating in the collapse of the oppressive regimes of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in quick succession as well as the collapse of Colonel Muamar Gaddafi’s forty-two years of iron rule in Libya, and his death in the process, have put to rest notions of an ‘end of history and the last man’ that was popularized by Francis Fukuyama ...

Part II. Discursive Constructions

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4. Discursive Construction ofthe African People

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pp. 99-124

...The major African discourses on identity construction have acknowledged, and perhaps been hostage to, a modernist grammar and logic of alterity. Those discourses, informed by the aspirations of African liberation from colonial domination in particular, have always made efforts to seek an alternative foundational alterity and to articulate a transcendental subject that would constitute a radical alternative to the equally homogenized non-African Other. Of course, Of course, this is not the best way to approach the complex subject...

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5. Coloniality of Being and the Phenomenon of Violence

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pp. 125-144

.. In the preface to Law and Disorder in the Postcolony (2006), Jean and John Comaroff addressed the paradox of the ubiquity of violence in the postcolonies in general. Their entry point to the debate on violence was predicated on whether postcolonies were ‘haunted more by unregulated violence, un/civil warfare, and random terror than are other twenty-first-century nation-states’? Their response was that, ‘Yes, postcolonies are especially, excessively, distinctively violent and disorderly. Yes, they are sinking ever further into a mire of conflict ...

Part III. Case Studies

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6. The Idea of South Africa and Pan-South African Nationalism

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pp. 147-178

...All these arguments speak to the pertinent issue of who constitute the authentic subject of the post-apartheid nation. It is a new and old question as it pre-occupied the proponents of Anglicization, Afrikanerization and Africanization as discursive processes within which identities germinated and were reconstructed and contested. What further complicated the situation were the questions of indigeneity and nativity that have persistently existed as a hidden script across all imaginations of the nation within plural and multiracial societies created by colonialism ...

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7. Zimbabwe and the Crisis of Chimurenga Nationalism

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pp. 179-236

...It began to be widely used in the 1970s by the nationalists mainly in the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and its fighting wing known as the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) as a vernacular name for the armed liberation struggle against the settler colonial state. It is also used today by ZANU as an ideological thread capturing the undying spirit of African resistance to colonialism, running from primary resistance of the 1890s to the present attempts by the Harare nationalists to take the liberation and decolonization ...


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8. The Murky Present and the MysteriousFuture

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pp. 239-264

...What runs through this concluding chapter is the complex theme of phenomenology of human uncertainty. The question of human uncertainty in this present century is obvious even to historians who are generally comfortable with engagement of human pasts rather than the murky present and the mysterious future. Becker (1994: xii-xiv) explained ‘phenomenology of uncertainty’ as being characterised by appearances of convergence and intersection of epochs resulting in instabilities and doubts about the adequacies of the existing normative order of life...


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pp. 265-293

E-ISBN-13: 9782869785779
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869785786

Page Count: 308
Publication Year: 2013