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Selling the Congo

A History of European Pro-Empire Propaganda and the Making of Belgian Imperialism

Matthew G. Stanard

Belgium was a small, neutral country without a colonial tradition when King Leopold II ceded the Congo, his personal property, to the state in 1908. For the next half century Belgium not only ruled an African empire but also, through widespread, enduring, and eagerly embraced propaganda, produced an imperialist-minded citizenry.

Selling the Congo is a study of European pro-empire propaganda in Belgium, with particular emphasis on the period 1908–60. Matthew G. Stanard questions the nature of Belgian imperialism in the Congo and considers the Belgian case in light of literature on the French, British, and other European overseas empires. Comparing Belgium to other imperial powers, the book finds that pro-empire propaganda was a basic part of European overseas expansion and administration during the modern period. Arguing against the long-held belief that Belgians were merely “reluctant imperialists,” Stanard demonstrates that in fact many Belgians readily embraced imperialistic propaganda.

Selling the Congo contributes to our understanding of the effectiveness of twentieth-century propaganda by revealing its successes and failures in the Belgian case. Many readers familiar with more-popular histories of Belgian imperialism will find in this book a deeper examination of European involvement in central Africa during the colonial era.

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Sons and Daughters of the Soil

Land and Boundary Conflicts in North West Cameroon, 1955-2005

This book makes a rare and original contribution on the history of little documented internal land conflicts and boundary misunderstandings in Cameroon, where attention has tended to focus too narrowly on international boundary conflicts such as that between Cameroon and Nigeria. The study is of the Bamenda Grassfields, the region most plagued by land and boundary conflicts in the country. Despite claims of common descent and cultural similarities by most communities in the region, relations have been tested and dominated by recurrent land and boundary conflicts since the middle of the 20th Century. Nkwi takes us through these contradictions, as he draws empirically and in general on his rich historical and ethnographic knowledge of the tensions and conflicts over land and boundaries in the region to situate and understand the conflicts between Bambili and Babanki-Tungoh ñ the epicenter of land and boundary ñ from c.1950s ñ 2009. Little if any scholarly attention has focused on this all important issue, its pernicious effects on the region notwithstanding. This book takes a bold step in the direction of the social history of land and boundary conflicts in Cameroon, and demonstrates that there is much of scholarly interest in understanding the centrality of land and boundaries in the configuration and contestation of human relations. In his innovative and stimulating blend of history and ethnography, Nkwi points to exciting new directions of paying closer attention to relationships informed by consciousness on and around land and boundaries.

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Southern West Cameroon Revisited (1950-1972) Volume One

Southern West Cameroon Revisited (1950-1972) Volume One

This book contributes to discussions on the topical issue of ìFifty Years after the independence of the Southern Cameroonsî, by taking a critical look at the process that lead up to Southern Cameroonsí ëreunificationí with la RÈpublique du Cameroun. This was the period spanning from 1951 to 1961, and possibly up to 1972. This immediately conjures two overriding factors; first, the British colonial policy in Southern Cameroons, which dominated political life in the period leading up to: the Plebiscite, the Buea Tripartite Conference, the Bamenda All Party Conference, the Foumban Constitutional Conference and the Yaounde Tripartite Conference during the phase, 1959-1961. This constituted one huge hoax, whilst that from 1961-1972 and, beyond was dominated by the enigmatic figure of President Ahrnadou Ahidjo. At the heart of the first, are the declassified British secret papers which have uncovered the ugly undercurrents that characterised British colonial policy, while on the other hand, is President Ahmadou Ahidjo, who practically personalized the administration of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. His domination of the entire existence of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, (1961-1972) was overshadowed by the fact that he could not brood sharing power with any individual or institution. Simply put, he was allergic to democratic principles-or any form of opposition to his authority. As well, he was a matchless dictator especially in his ambivalent dealings with Southern West Cameroon. Apparently, it was the ìdestinyî of Southern Cameroons ëthat up to 1961, it was harnessed to the tenterhooks of Great Britain and from 1961-1972, transferred to those of the Ahidjo Regime; neither of which wished its people well.

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Southern West Cameroon Revisited Volume Two

Southern West Cameroon Revisited Volume Two

This book argues that Southern Cameroons up to the late 1960s had extensively developed an evolved mature, political culture. It was amazingly led by a range of: simple, visionary, austere, honest, peace-loving and realistic leaders, almost without exception; vintage products of their epoch. Distinguished by good governance; throughout it organized frequent free, fair and transparent elections, peaceful handover of power and enjoyed free primary and adult education. It was further crowned with an ideal, efficient civil service, literally, corruption free. In fact, the period, 1955-1968 in the history of Southern Cameroons qualifies as a ìGolden Ageî for that nostalgic state, whose citizens were repeatedly referred to as ìnice, peace loving, loyal, good and hospitable peopleî by administrators, missionaries, visitors and those who got to know them closely. The most remarkable observation however, was that finally made by Malcolm Milne, the greatest critic, who noted that during his last couple of years in the Southern Cameroons administration, he dealt with: ìPeople of high intelligence who knew exactly what they wanted.î Of the civil servants, he maintains that they had greatly enriched his time in the colonial service; ìThere was something very special about that corps; their service was their watch word.î This superlative description by Malcolm Milne was being made of a combination of the people of the present North and South West Regions, whom he saw as a socio-cultural, economic and political unit. It is therefore obvious that from 1955 - 1968, Southern West Cameroon came close towards becoming an ideal state.

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State of a Union

The Half Century of Cameroonís Bicultural Experience

The bicultural polity of Cameroon has become problematic over the years. In addition to the increasing marginalization experienced by its English speaking component in many domains (politics, administration, economy, culture), it is facing mounting inequality and disarray despite the nation-building aspirations at reunification in 1961. This book examines the very basis of the union crisis by tracing the causes to the asymmetrical nature of negotiations between the contracting partners ñ the founding fathers of the union ñ and the politics of guile and force that has characterized the regimes in YaoundÈ. From a federal model that takes the equality of the contracting parties as a given, the polity has developed into an ethno-regional patchwork designed by its architects to be essentially unequal in nature. Consequently, the segmented Anglophone community can exist only in contradiction within itself. They have been worked into the regimeís statecraft of consciously maintaining or re-activating ethnic boundaries inherited from colonialism. An analysis of the cultural and linguistic dimension of the union shows contrasting drives between the assimilation/attempts to dominate by the French-speaking component and resistance by Anglophones. The analyses further show the projected harmonization and rollback by the State, the creative blends and the crystallization around continuing or reproduced colonial experiences, a fierce competition between elites with a drive to impose the culture of the demographically dominant and a refusal to accept the idea of a linguistic minority. The contentious experience, Yenshu Vubo argues, can still be remedied by reforms in a politics of possibilities.These reforms must be ready to re-examine the constitutional basis of the union by revisiting the often dismissed question of the form of the state defined as ìone and indivisibleî (a new federal architecture as requested by several political voices). Institutions should be restructured to attend to diversity issues and essential linguistic differences while consolidating any strategic gains of the union such as the creative blends and the acceptance of specifi cities of each community, statutory equality of citizenship and the essential clauses of the fi rst federation.

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Thus ruled Emir Abbas

selected cases from the records of the Emir of Kano's Judicial Council

Judicial Council Kano (Nigeria : Emirate)

Thus Ruled Emir Abbas is an important new research tool that reveals much about daily life in Kano, the wealthiest and most populous emirate of the African Sokoto Caliphate. It contains a selection of Kano Judicial Council documents, as well as their English translations, that deal with matters such as land disputes, tax collection disputes, and theft. These documents are invaluable resources that reveal much about Kano social, economic, and political life before the region came under the influence of colonial institutions, law, and language. This selection of records for more than 415 cases, along with their translations, will become essential reading for those interested in Nigeria’s past and will certainly become a standard work in the field of Nigerian history and anthropology.

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University Crisis and Student Protests in Africa

Faced with a deepening crisis in their universities, African students have demonstrated a growing activism and militancy. They have been engaged in numerous, often violent, strikes for improvements in their deteriorating living and study conditions and the introduction of a democratic culture in the universities and society as a whole, including the right to express their views, organise in student unions and participate in university management. This book focuses on a recent violent strike action in Cameroon’s state universities, with special attention to the University of Buea – the only English-speaking university in the country between 1993 and 2011. Such a detailed study on student strikes is still rare in African studies, and maybe even more important, this book pays special attention to certain elements that have been of great significance to the strike but are often overlooked in narratives of other student actions in Africa, namely the use of cell phones, differences in gender roles of student activists, the religious dimensions of the strike, the central role of some public spaces like bars and cafés for the planning and execution of student strikes, and the power of the photocopier. The book goes far beyond simply documenting the various protest actions of students against the state and university authorities. It also provides ample room for comments from journalists and other civil-society members and groups on various aspects of the strike.

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Urgency of a New Dawn

Prison Thoughts and Reflections

N. Nfor

Urgency of a New Dawn is the cry of most Southern Cameroonians against those who they experience to be an oppressive, Machiavellian, hostile, parasitising, captor-like, secessionist, assimilationist, discriminatory, and dehumanising la R�publique du Cameroun, to which they were annexed through misleading UN and UK politics and Politics as a condition toward their independence from the UK in 1961. Extrapolating only on these two territories, Urgency of a New Dawn is no less the sweeping story of one too many other peoples across Africa, tormented by the heedless partitioning of the continent by colonisers and the consequential neo-patrimonial and ethnic African Politics and politics of belonging. Forced either into spaces that were never theirs, or pushed out of spaces that they struggle to claim and/or prove theirs, many African peoples today find themselves engaging in endless battles, not against colonisers but against fellow black Africans, for the survival of their essence, their culture, languages, traditions, dignity, modes of being and identification, right to equality, and freedom.

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Zintgraffís Explorations in Bamenda, Adamawa and the Benue Lands 1889ó1892

The following pages, initially prepared for limited circulation in 1961, contain brief extracts and summaries of those parts of Eugen Zintgraffís book NORD-KAMERUN (1895), of most interest concerning the colonial Bamenda and Wum Division. Zintgraffís book, the first by a European about the Grassfields, has not been translated and is hard to get second-hand. In using these notes the following points should be borne in mind: Zintgraffís knowledge of Bali (Mungaka) and Hausa was very slight, and his discussions of character, motives and political institutions are consequently superficial and open to criticisms. He had no means of checking what he was told, or thought he was told. He had no previous knowledge of any similar culture and no training in ethnographical method. He was, however, a good observer, and his descriptions of tools, dress, weapons and the like, can be regarded as fairly reliable. Finally, it must be remembered that Zintgraff wrote the book to justify his own actions and to support that small but influential section of public opinion in Germany which favoured rapid imperial expansion. A full account of the actions and motives of Zintgraffís opponents in the Kamerun Government and in the Colonial Bureau of the German Foreign Office has not been written: we only have one side of the story. But there are some suggestive points made in Rudinís GERMANS IN THE CAMEROONS and others referred to in these notes. What is perhaps most striking about Zintgraffís account is the fact that the people of the Western Grassfields were not so isolated from one another or their neighbours as might be thought. A network of trade-friendships covered the country and big men exchanged gifts over long distances. These links must be set beside the inse¨curity due to raids and slave-catching, and are well worth investigation.

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