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Death, Belief and Politics in Central African History

Walima T. Kalusa, Megan Vaughan

Publication Year: 2013

In this set of essays Walima T. Kalusa and Megan Vaughan explore themes in the history of death in Zambia and Malawi from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Drawing on extensive archival and oral historical research they examine the impact of Christianity on spiritual beliefs, the racialised politics of death on the colonial Copperbelt, the transformation of burial practices, the histories of suicide and of maternal mortality, and the political life of the corpse.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction: Death – Again?

Walima T. Kalusa and Megan Vaughan

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pp. xi-xxvi

In 2008, one of the authors of this study gave some account of the research that forms part of this book to a Malawian colleague. She looked at the author critically, sighed, and then said, ‘What are you people going to do when we stop dying?’...

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CHAPTER I - Translating the Soul: Death and Catholicism in Northern Zambia

Megan Vaughan

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pp. 1-46

When priests of the White Fathers order first made their way into Bemba territory in what is now northern Zambia in the 1890s, they arrived onto a scene of death, in more ways than one. Here was a region decimated by the deathly traffic of the...

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CHAPTER II - Sex, Death and Colonial Anthropologists in the Inter-War Period

Megan Vaughan

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pp. 47-88

As we have seen in Chapter I, the complex and lengthy mortuary rituals of the paramount chief of the Bemba people, the Chitimukulu, attracted the attention of both colonial administrators and anthropologists in Northern Rhodesia.1 The administrators were concerned with preventing human...

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CHAPTER III - Death, Christianity and African Miners: Contesting Indirect Rule on the Zambian Copperbelt, 1935–1962

Walima T. Kalusa

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pp. 89-132

Early in 1956, Mukuka Nkoloso, a budding, mission-educated Bemba-speaking nationalist, had an old score to settle with the white District Commissioner of Ndola, the commercial and administrative hub of the colonial Zambian Copperbelt...

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CHAPTER IV - Corpses, Funerals, Imageries of Modernity and the Making of the African Elite Identity on the Zambian Copperbelt, 1945–1964

Walima T. Kalusa

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pp. 133-164

When Donald McDonald Thondoya, an educated employee, died in an accident at the Roan Antelope mine, Luanshya on the Zambian Copperbelt in 1960, his family arranged a memorable elite funeral and burial.1 They dressed his corpse...

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CHAPTER V - Politics of the Gravesite: Funerals, Nationalism and the Reinvention of the Cemetery on the Zambian Copperbelt

Walima T. Kalusa

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pp. 165-200

In early 1962, an unusual funeral/burial procession led by the United National Independence Party (UNIP) snaked its way from the municipal mortuary to the cemetery in Luanshya, a small mining town in the Zambian Copperbelt.1 Conspicuous at the head of the cortège was a municipal hearse with four...

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CHAPTER VI - The Killing of Lilian Margaret Burton and Black and White Nationalisms in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in the 1960s

Walima T. Kalusa

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pp. 201-232

The violent killings of Europeans that marked the nationalist struggle for independence in some parts of Africa in the 1950s and 1960s have long attracted the scrutiny of historians. Most of these academics have been particularly concerned with...

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CHAPTER VII - Suicide: A Hidden History

Megan Vaughan

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pp. 233-292

In the extensive literature on the history of suicide, the societies of the African continent barely feature, except in brief discussions of folk beliefs and practices.1 A simple explanation for the relative lack of attention given to this issue is that historically African societies have been assumed to have...

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CHAPTER VIII - Maternal Mortality in Malawi: History and Moral Responsibility

Megan Vaughan

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pp. 293-326

When Joyce Banda became President in April 2012, the people of Malawi had acquired a leader with a well-earned reputation for furthering the interests of women. Unlike some of the region’s ‘first ladies’, whose philanthropic foundations, typically aimed at women and children, have been founded...

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CHAPTER IX - Big Houses for the Dead: Burying Presidents Banda and Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi

Megan Vaughan

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pp. 327-354

When the President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, died in April 2012, his body was buried in a large white mausoleum, built in his home village in the south of the country. In addition to the dignitaries and diplomats and heads of neighbouring states, ordinary people gathered to witness the event, amongst...

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pp. 355-390

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789982680028
Print-ISBN-13: 9789982680028

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2013