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History > African History > Central Africa

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Our New Husbands Are Here Cover

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Our New Husbands Are Here

In Our New Husbands Are Here, Emily Lynn Osborn investigates a central puzzle of power and politics in West African history: Why do women figure frequently in the political narratives of the precolonial period, and then vanish altogether with colonization? Osborn addresses this question by exploring the relationship of the household to the state. By analyzing the history of statecraft in the interior savannas of West Africa (in present-day Guinea-Conakry), Osborn shows that the household, and women within it, played a critical role in the pacifist Islamic state of Kankan-Baté, enabling it to endure the predations of the transatlantic slave trade and become a major trading center in the nineteenth century. But French colonization introduced a radical new method of statecraft to the region, one that separated the household from the state and depoliticized women’s domestic roles. This book will be of interest to scholars of politics, gender, the household, slavery, and Islam in African history.

 

Paths in the Rainforests Cover

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Paths in the Rainforests

Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa

Jan M. Vansina

Vansina’s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life.

“In 400 elegantly brilliant pages Vansina lays out five millennia of history for nearly 200 distinguishable regions of the forest of equatorial Africa around a new, subtly paradoxical interpretation of ‘tradition.’” —Joseph Miller, University of Virginia

“Vansina gives extended coverage  .  .  . to the broad features of culture and the major lines of historical development across the region between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. It is truly an outstanding effort, readable, subtle, and integrative in its interpretations, and comprehensive in scope.  .  .  .  It is a seminal study  .  .  .  but it is also a substantive history that will long retain its usefulness.”—Christopher Ehret,  American Historical Review
   

Petitioning for our Rights, Fighting for our Nation Cover

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Petitioning for our Rights, Fighting for our Nation

The History of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949-1960

Thousands of Cameroonian women played an essential role in the radically anti-colonial nationalist movement led by the Union of the Populations of Cameroon (UPC): they were the women of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women (UDEFEC). Drawing on women nationalistsí petitions to the United Nations, one of the largest collections of political documents written by African women during the decolonization era, as well as archival research and oral interviews, this work shows how UDEFEC transcended ethnic, class, education and social divides, and popularized nationalism in both urban and rural areas through the Trust Territories of the Cameroons under French and British administration. Foregrounding issues such as economic autonomy and biological and agricultural fertility, UDEFEC politics wove anti-imperial democracy and notions of universal human rights into locally rooted political cultures and histories. UDEFECís history sheds light on the essential components of womenís successful political mobilization in Africa, and contributes to the discussion of womenís involvement in nationalist movements in formerly colonized territories.

Prisoner without a Crime. Disciplining Dissent in Ahidjo's Cameroon Cover

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Prisoner without a Crime. Disciplining Dissent in Ahidjo's Cameroon

Disciplining Dissent in Ahidjo's Cameroon

Doughty human rights crusader, Albert Mukong was incarcerated for six years in some of Cameroon's worst detention centres under the despotic regime of late President Amadou Ahidjo. This book details his personal account of the discipline and punishment that the Cameroonian state has systematically dished out to dissidents who have dared to stand their ground. Until his death in 2004, Albert Mukong was without doubt, Anglophone Cameroon's most conspicuous political prisoner, spokesperson and champion human rights advocate. The particular detention he recounts in this book is evidence of how nationalists such as Ruben Um Nyobe, Ernest Ouandie, Bishop Ndongmo and others, have in their struggles sacrificed enormously so that freedom and democracy might see the light of day in their reluctant Cameroon.

RÈussite scolaire, Faillite Sociale Cover

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RÈussite scolaire, Faillite Sociale

GÈnÈalogie mentale de la crise de l'Afrique Noire Francophone

Two volumes of school textbooks have notably led to self repulsion and attraction by the other peculiar to the black African elite. These are the collection put together by the missionary brothers Macaire and Grill: Mamadou et Bineta authored by AndrÈ Davesne alone or in collaboration with J. Gouin. To have an understanding of the kind of scholar produced by the foreign school in the colonies a century after, it is worthwhile retracing the itinerary, followed through readings by generation of pupils, to know the sources that fed their imaginationÖ. Out of tune with the universe of their birth, unable to efficiently concretize school teaching, but having certainly perceived that education and education alone is the new pedigree of distinction, school pupils have had to simulate the appropriation of fetishist models of knowledge without necessarily assimilating the spirit of the new civilization and much less taking the challenge to preserve self integrity redeemed through a complaisant dependence that spares from taking any action by fear of doing wrong or being called to order by the overbearing world. If not, how can one explain, in spite of the material and symbolic crises, that the elite since independence have not initiated a discursive strategy for another effective school system? Now, with aspiration or repugnance to discontinuity, the intentions are to rid Africa of the unhealthy residual French complexes in order to engage on the path of double acknowledgement and difference. This seems the most likely to restore trust amongst the peoples and to assure the endorsement of men worthy of being called such.

Remaking Rwanda Cover

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Remaking Rwanda

State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence

Scott Straus

In the mid-1990s, civil war and genocide ravaged Rwanda. Since then, the country’s new leadership has undertaken a highly ambitious effort to refashion Rwanda’s politics, economy, and society, and the country’s accomplishments have garnered widespread praise. Remaking Rwanda is the first book to examine Rwanda’s remarkable post-genocide recovery in a comprehensive and critical fashion. By paying close attention to memory politics, human rights, justice, foreign relations, land use, education, and other key social institutions and practices, this volume raises serious concerns about the depth and durability of the country’s reconstruction.

            Edited by Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf, Remaking Rwanda brings together experienced scholars and human rights professionals to offer a nuanced, historically informed picture of post-genocide Rwanda—one that reveals powerful continuities with the nation’s past and raises profound questions about its future.
 

The Residue of the Western Missionary in the Southern Cameroons Cover

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The Residue of the Western Missionary in the Southern Cameroons

The Christian Village: A Sad Tale of Strife and Dissension

This book is the fascinating study of Christian enclaves in the Southern Cameroons of the colonial era. The Christian enclaves came into being with absolute spontaneity as a modus vivendi. Oblivious of the danger in store both colonial governments and traditional authorities provided the conditions in which these Christian villages took root and flourished. However what had taken root in the territory as a self-protection mechanism, soon unleashed its lethal, enticing tentacles luring both the wives of royals and commoners into their bosom. This disruptive influence of Christian villages threatened the survival of ethnic groups, arousing the rancour of traditional authorities and civil administrators. In many ways the Christian enclaves inhibited the potential of colonial governments to administer the territory. These states within a state propagated by the missionary in the most insidious and perfidious of all manners sowed within their own bosom the seed of self-destruction. The whole issue of runaway wives of royals and commoners alike who took refuge in the Christian villages troubled both the colonial and traditional authorities. By offering a safe haven to these runaway wives and welcoming women who were outside the traditional male authority in a tribal setup, the missionaries began sowing within the Christian communities the seeds of their own self destruction. Records of wives of Fons and commoners escaping into these enclaves, eloping with a man and returning pregnant remained the regular subject of several colonial intelligence reports. Highhanded methods by missionaries in these villages brought both the missionaries and their work into disrepute. In less than a quarter of a century these enclaves had lost the war of attrition waged by colonial and traditional authorities. Worn out by endless strife and dissension within and without and forced by contingency, what had been conceived to be ideal Christian communities with snowballing effects, saw its premature demise.

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The Reunification Debate in British Southern Cameroons

Reunification Debate in British Southern Cameroons, The

This book is a succinct account of the role immigrants from French Cameroon played in the Reunification politics in the Southern Cameroons. The study reveals that these ìstrangersî organised themselves in Pressure Groups in order to fight for equal opportunities with the indigenes and when such opportunities were not coming, they initiated the Reunification Idea, propagated it and converted many reluctant Southern Cameroonians. They militated in pro-reunification political parties such as the KNC, KNDP, UPC and OK and successfully shifted the reunification idea from the periphery to the centre of Southern Cameroons decolonisation politics. The immigrants convinced the UN through petitions and reunification which was the most unpopular option for independence became one of the two alternatives at the 1961 plebiscite. They and the reluctant KNDP campaigned and voted for it. The Reunification of Cameroon was therefore the handiwork of French Cameroon immigrants.

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The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State

Crawford Young and Thomas Edwin Turner

Zaire, apparently strong and stable under Presdident Mobutu in the early 1970s, was bankrupt and discredited by the end of that decade, beset by hyperinflation and mass corruption, the populace forced into abject poverty. Why and how, in a new african state strategically located in Central Africa and rich in mineral resources, did this happen? How did the Zairian state become a “parasitic predator” upon its own people?

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The Secrets of an Aborted Decolonisation

The Declassified British Secret Files on the Southern Cameroons

A remarkable feature of the collapse of the British Empire is that the British departed from almost every single one of their colonial territories invariably leaving behind a messy situation and an agenda of serious problems that in most cases still haunt those territories to this day. One such territory is the Southern British Cameroons. There, the British Government took the official view that the territory and its people were ìexpendableî. It opposed, for selfish economic reasons, sovereign statehood for the territory, in clear violation of the UN Charter and the norm of self-determination. It transferred the Southern Cameroons to a new colonial overlord and hurriedly left the territory. The British Governmentís bad faith, duplicity, deception, wheeling and dealing, and betrayal of the people of the Southern Cameroons is incredible and defies good sense. Ample evidence of this is provided by the declassified documents in this book. Among the material are treaties concluded by Britain with Southern Cameroons coastal Kings and Chiefs; and the boundary treaties of the Southern Cameroons, treaties defining the frontiers with Nigeria to the west and the frontier with Cameroun Republic to the east. The book contains documents that attest to the Southern Cameroons as a fully self-governing country, ready for sovereign statehood. These include debates in the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly; and the various Constitutions of the Southern Cameroons. The book also reproduces British declassified documents on the Southern Cameroons covering the three critical years from 1959 to 1961, documents which speak to the inglorious stewardship of Great Britain in the Southern Cameroons. This book removes lingering doubts in some quarters that the people of the Southern Cameroons were cheated of independence. Its contents are further evidence of their inalienable right and sacred duty to assert their independence. No one who reads this book can possibly be indifferent to the just struggle of the Southern Cameroons for sovereign statehood.

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