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God the Politician Cover

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God the Politician

God the Politician is a compelling analytical, critical, informed and largely eyewitness account of the major events that have taken place in Cameroon since the return of multiparty politics in the 1990s. The accession of Paul Biya to power under the one-party regime in 1982 and the attempt to overthrow him in a coup d'?tat in 1984 are told in flashback, so are the excesses of power without responsibility that have come to be associated with over 25 years of Biya as President. Most of the story is centred on the struggle by the opposition, led by the Social Democratic Front (SDF), to overthrow the incumbent. In his determination to crush opposition, President Biya and his collaborators have sometimes used intrigue, but mostly force and callous indifference to basic human rights and to democracy. Bloodshed has often been the result of the regime's titanic struggles against freedoms. President Paul Biya is not in a hurry to go and so instead of democratizing Cameroon, he has chosen to Cameroonize democracy, turning electoral fraud into an art. Because of massive fraud during elections and the inability of the opposition to unite, political party leaders have decided to join him who they cannot beat. The book is an x-ray of a regime and the Frankenstein monsters it has created and sustained to thwart democracy. It exposes the corruption, electoral fraud, human rights abuse and cynicism that make politicians believe they can play God in the lives of Cameroonians.

I Spit on their Graves Cover

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I Spit on their Graves

Testimony Relevant to the Democratization Struggle in Cameroon

The essays collected in this volume are, by the depth of their analysis and the breath of their vision, indeed ëNo Trifling Matterí. They are a chronicle of the events in contemporary Cameroonian society, especially as concerns the conduct of public affairs therein. Over and above its relevance for our own time, this chronicle will, in the decades that lie ahead, serve as a rich source of information, opinion and comment which future generations, anxious to understand the making of an era whose impact, positive or negative, is destined to survive long after the longest-living of its principal actors and actresses shall have disappeared from the face of the Earth, will find a great benefit. Rotcod Gobata has, through these essays, lit and placed on a pedestal, a candle whose flame shall never die and whose glow shall serve as a beacon to guide and to inspire generations yet unborn.

Imperialistic Politics in Cameroun: Resistance and the Inception of the Restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons Cover

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Imperialistic Politics in Cameroun: Resistance and the Inception of the Restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons

Resistance and the Inception of the Restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons

Cameroun Republic, a former French-administered UN Trust Territory granted independence on 1 January 1960. This book focuses on the unresolved Southern Cameroons colonial predicament, giving insightful accounts of how Cameroun Republic hijacked the Southe

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In Chains for My Country

Crusading for the British Southern Cameroons

In Chains for My Country is an account of the struggle of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), a nonviolent liberation movement, to wrestle British Southern Cameroons from the colonial claws of la RÈpublique du Cameroun. It is an epic and thrilling account of the life of British Southern Cameroons, which passed from colonial rule to foreign domination through annexation and attempted assimilation into neighbouring la RÈpublique du Cameroun. Under British trusteeship, British Southern Cameroons graduated to self-government in 1954 with all hopes of independence. Instead, the Trust Territory was doomed to subservience in a contested union with la RÈpublique du Cameroun. Failure to implement United Nations Resolution 1608 of April 1961 to establish the envisioned federation of two states equal in status facilitated la RÈpublique du Camerounís annexation and colonial occupation of a defenseless United Nations Trust as Britain withdrew all its personnel and forces. The territory has been reduced to two provinces of la RÈpublique du Cameroun under the rule of proconsuls backed by an imperial occupation force with an agenda of nipping in the bud any resistance.

Invisible Agents Cover

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Invisible Agents

Spirits in a Central African History

David M. Gordon

Invisible Agents shows how personal and deeply felt spiritual beliefs can inspire social movements and influence historical change. Conventional historiography concentrates on the secular, materialist, or moral sources of political agency. Instead, David M. Gordon argues, when people perceive spirits as exerting power in the visible world, these beliefs form the basis for individual and collective actions. Focusing on the history of the south-central African country of Zambia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his analysis invites reflection on political and religious realms of action in other parts of the world, and complicates the post-Enlightenment divide of sacred and profane.

The book combines theoretical insights with attention to local detail and remarkable historical sweep, from oral narratives communicated across slave-trading routes during the nineteenth century, through the violent conflicts inspired by Christian and nationalist prophets during colonial times, and ending with the spirits of Pentecostal rebirth during the neoliberal order of the late twentieth century. To gain access to the details of historical change and personal spiritual beliefs across this long historical period, Gordon employs all the tools of the African historian. His own interviews and extensive fieldwork experience in Zambia provide texture and understanding to the narrative. He also critically interprets a diverse range of other sources, including oral traditions, fieldnotes of anthropologists, missionary writings and correspondence, unpublished state records, vernacular publications, and Zambian newspapers.

Invisible Agents will challenge scholars and students alike to think in new ways about the political imagination and the invisible sources of human action and historical change.

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Journey of Song

Public Life and Morality in Cameroon

Clare A. Ignatowski

During the long dry season, Tupuri men and women in northern Cameroon gather in gurna camps outside their villages to learn the songs that will be performed at widely attended celebrations to honor the year's dead. The gurna provides a space for them to join together in solidarity to care for their cattle, fatten their bodies, and share local stories. But why does the gurna remain meaningful in the modern nation-state of Cameroon? In Journey of Song, Clare A. Ignatowski explores the vitality of gurna ritual in the context of village life and urban neighborhoods. She shows how Tupuri songs borrow from political discourse on democracy in Cameroon and make light of human foibles, publicize scandals, promote the prestige of dancers, and provide an arena for powerful social commentary on the challenges of modern life. In the context of broad social change in Africa, Ignatowski explores the creative and communal process by which local livelihoods and identities are validated in dance and song.

Kongo in the Age of Empire, 1860–1913 Cover

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Kongo in the Age of Empire, 1860–1913

The Breakdown of a Moral Order

Jelmer Vos

The Land beyond the Mists Cover

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The Land beyond the Mists

Essays in Identity & Authority in Precolonial Congo and Rwanda

David Newbury

The horrific tragedies of Central Africa in the 1990s riveted the attention of the world. But these crises did not occur in a historical vacuum. By peering through the mists of the past, the case studies presented in The Land Beyond the Mists illustrate the significant advances to have taken place since decolonization in our understanding of the pre-colonial histories of Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Congo.

Based on both oral and written sources, these essays are important both for their methods—viewing history from the perspective of local actors—and for their conclusions, which seriously challenge colonial myths about the area.

Nachituti's Gift Cover

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Nachituti's Gift

Economy, Society, and Environment in Central Africa

David M. Gordon

Nachituti’s Gift challenges conventional theories of economic development with a compelling comparative case study of inland fisheries in Zambia and Congo from pre- to postcolonial times. Neoclassical development models conjure a simple, abstract progression from wealth held in people to money or commodities; instead, Gordon argues, primary social networks and oral charters like “Nachituti’s Gift” remained decisive long after the rise of intensive trade and market activities. Interweaving oral traditions, songs, and interviews as well as extensive archival research, Gordon’s lively tale is at once a subtle analysis of economic and social transformations, an insightful exercise in environmental history, and a revealing study of comparative politics.

 

Honorable Mention, Melville J. Herskovits Award, African Studies Association
 

“A powerful portrayal of the complexity, fluidity, and subtlety of Lake Mweru fishers’ production strategies . . . . Natchituti’s Gift adds nuance and evidence to some of the most important and sophisticated conversations going on in African studies today.”—Kirk Arden Hoppe, International Journal of African Historical Studies

“A lively and intelligent book, which offers a solid contribution to ongoing debates about the interplay of the politics of environment, history and economy.”—Joost Fontein, Africa

“Well researched and referenced . . . . [Natchituti’s Gift] will be of interest to those in a wide variety of disciplines including anthropology, African Studies, history, geography, and environmental studies.”—Heidi G. Frontani, H-SAfrica

Nso and Its Neighbours. Readings in the Social History of the Western Grassfields of Cameroon Cover

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Nso and Its Neighbours. Readings in the Social History of the Western Grassfields of Cameroon

Readings in the Social History of the Western Grassfields of Cameroon

This is a rich and compelling volume of readings in social history on Nsoí and its neighbours in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon. It consists of 19 essays by some of the leading historians, archeologists and ethnographers of the region, with seminal contributions by Jean-Pierre Warnier, Paul Nchoji Nkwi, Bongfen Chem-Langhee, Phyllis Kaberry, E.M Chilver, Miriam Goheen, Ian Flower, Dan Lantum and V.G. Fanso. The book covers a broad range of themes from precolonial times to date, including trade, alliances, diplomacy, the iron industry, colonial impact, continuities, discontinuities and compromise, general persistence, ideology and conflict. Warnier draws on linguistic and archaeological data to argue that this region has been settled for several millennia, very probably continuously, and that its landscapes are very ancient and have resulted from many human and natural forces other than the simple clearance of the forest cover of the region at an uncertain date as some authors have postulated. Using data on inter-group diplomacy and alliances, Nkwi puts into question some problematic theses on persistence hostilities and enhances knowledge of the precolonial history of the region. Fowler and Chem-Langhee show how local conditions and needs fostered the spirit and practice of cooperative ventures in the precolonial period, which provided the driving force and the ideological and structural underpinnings for the successful and smooth introduction of modern modes of cooperation in the area during the colonial and postcolonial periods. The rest of the studies have a unifying theme or thesis, namely, that despite the entry and assault of external, influences, particularly those associated with colonialism, Christianity and Islam, the traditional institutions, customs and value systems of the Nsoí and their neighbours have resisted major change and their total corrosion is not yet in sight. The volume illustrates the proposition that historical research is a continuous process of rediscovery which provides new questions, and also that the evidence of other disciplines ñ linguistics, archaeology and palaeobotany for example ñ may give rise to many new lines of inquiry and help to correct the documentary record and explain oral tradition. Herein lies the most important element of this experimental collection. Its editors hope that it will provoke other similar collections.

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