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Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe
When the southern African country of Rhodesia was reborn as Zimbabwe in 1980, democracy advocates celebrated the defeat of a white supremacist regime and the end of colonial rule. Zimbabwean crowds cheered their new prime minister, freedom fighter Robert Mugabe, with little idea of the misery he would bring them. Under his leadership for the next 30 years, Zimbabwe slid from self-sufficiency into poverty and astronomical inflation. The government once praised for its magnanimity and ethnic tolerance was denounced by leaders like South African Nobel Prize-winner Desmond Tutu. Millions of refugees fled the country. How did the heroic Mugabe become a hated autocrat, and why were so many outside of Zimbabwe blind to his bloody misdeeds for so long?
In A Predictable Tragedy: Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe Daniel Compagnon reveals that while the conditions and perceptions of Zimbabwe had changed, its leader had not. From the beginning of his political career, Mugabe was a cold tactician with no regard for human rights. Through eyewitness accounts and unflinching analysis, Compagnon describes how Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) built a one-party state under an ideological cloak of anti-imperialism. To maintain absolute authority, Mugabe undermined one-time ally Joshua Nkomo, terrorized dissenters, stoked the fires of tribalism, covered up the massacre of thousands in Matabeleland, and siphoned off public money to his minions—all well before the late 1990s, when his attempts at radical land redistribution finally drew negative international attention.
A Predictable Tragedy vividly captures the neopatrimonial and authoritarian nature of Mugabe's rule that shattered Zimbabwe's early promises of democracy and offers lessons critical to understanding Africa's predicament and its prospects for the future.
African Americans against Apartheid, 1946-1994
"An important contribution to the political history of this period [and] a must for those interested in the influence of the great pan-Africanists." -- Elliott P. Skinner
This study traces the
evolution of the anti-apartheid movement from its origins in the 1940s through the
civil rights and black power eras to its maturation in the 1980s as a force that
transformed U.S. foreign policy. The
movement initially met resistance and was soon repressed, only to reemerge during the civil rights era, when it became radicalized with the coming of the black freedom movement. The book looks at three important political groups: TransAfrica -- the black lobby for Africa and the Caribbean; the Free South Africa Movement; and lastly the Congressional Black Caucus and its role in passing sanctions against South Africa over President Reagan's veto. It concludes with an assessment of the impact of sanctions on the release of Nelson Mandela and his eventual election as president of South Africa.
Re-Viewing Resistance in Namibian History brings together the work of experienced academics and a new wave of young Namibian historians - architects of the past - who are working on a range of public history and heritage projects, from late nineteenth century resistance to the use of songs, from the role of gender in SWAPO's camps to memorialisation, and from international solidarity to aspects of the history of Kavango and Caprivi. In a culturally and politically diverse democracy such as Namibia, there are bound to be different perspectives on the past, and history will be as plural as the history-tellers. The chapters in this book reflect this diversity, and combine to create a remarkable collection of divergent voices, providing alternative perspectives on the past. Re-Viewing Resistance in Namibian History writes 'forgotten' people into history; provides a reading of the past that reflects the tensions and competing identities that pervaded 'the struggle'; and deals with 'heritage that hurts'.
The Public Anthropology of Kalanga Elites
Are self-interested elites the curse of liberal democracy in Africa? Is there hope against the politics of the belly, kleptocracies, vampire states, failed states, and Afro-pessimism? In Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana, Richard Werbner examines a rare breed of powerful political elites who are not tyrants, torturers, or thieves. Werbner's focus is on the Kalanga, a minority ethnic group that has served Botswana in business and government since independence. Kalanga elites have expanded public services, advocated causes for the public good, founded organizations to build the public sphere and civil society, and forged partnerships and alliances with other ethnic groups in Botswana. Gathering evidence from presidential commissions, land tribunals, landmark court cases, and his lifetime relationship with key Kalanga elites, Werbner shows how a critical press, cosmopolitanism, entrepreneurship, accountability, and the values of patriarchy and elderhood make for an open society with strong, capable government. Werbner's work provides a refreshing alternative to those who envision no future for Africa beyond persistent agony and lack of development.
Information Colonialism and Angolan Art
Repainting the Walls of Lunda chronicles the publication and dissemination of an anthropology book, Paredes Pintadas da Lunda (Painted Walls of Lunda), which was published in Portuguese in 1953. The book featured illustrations of wall murals and sand drawings of the Chokwe peoples of northeastern Angola. These reproductions were adapted in postindependence Angolan nationalist art and post–civil war contemporary art. As Delinda Collier recounts, the pictorial narrative foregrounds the complex relationships between content, distribution, and politicization. The result is a nuanced look at the practices of art entangled in political economies as much as in issues of aesthetics.
After historicizing the drastic changes in media for the Chokwe images, from sand and dwelling to book and from analog to digital, Collier analyzes the formal and infrastructural logic of the two-dimensional images in their subsequent formats, from postindependence canvas paintings to Internet images. Collier does not view any of these iterations as a negation or obliteration of the previous one. Instead, she argues that the logic of reproductive media envelops the past: each mediation adds another layer of context and content. As Collier sees it, the images’ historicity is embedded within these media layers, which many Angolan postindependence artists speak of in terms of ghosts or ancestors when describing their encounter with reproductions of the Chokwe art.
If, as Collier contends, “Africa troubles media,” this book troubles facile theories and romantic constructions of “analog Africa,” boundaries between art and cybernetics, and the firewall between the colonial and the postcolonial.
Nationalism, Populism, Hegemony
Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has become an extreme yet unexceptional embodiment of forces at play in many other regions of the world: intensifying inequality alongside “wageless life,” proliferating forms of protest and populist politics that move in different directions, and official efforts at containment ranging from liberal interventions targeting specific populations to increasingly common police brutality.
Rethinking the South African Crisis revisits long-standing debates to shed new light on the transition from apartheid. Drawing on nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, Hart argues that local government has become the key site of contradictions. Local practices, conflicts, and struggles in the arenas of everyday life feed into and are shaped by simultaneous processes of de-nationalization and re-nationalization. Together they are key to understanding the erosion of African National Congress hegemony and the proliferation of populist politics.
This book provides an innovative analysis of the ongoing, unstable, and unresolved crisis in South Africa today. It also suggests how Antonio Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution, adapted and translated for present circumstances with the help of philosopher and liberation activist Frantz Fanon, can do useful analytical and political work in South Africa and beyond.
Proconsular Imperialism in Southern and Eastern Africa, 1897-1925
Robert Thorne Coryndon, born in South Africa in 1870, served twenty-eight years as the top-ranking administrator of African dependencies, a career unmatched by any other British colonial governor. “Governors were expected, through a combination of good sense and good character, to exercise rule over dependent peoples in an honest and impartial manner—an amalgam of liberal values and autocratic methods which lent a certain ambiguity to British imperial rule in Africa and elsewhere.”
During his rule in Barotseland (1897–1907) under Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company, Coryndon confronted the problems of establishing a colonial regime; in 1914–1915, during the last seven years of his Swaziland appointment, he served as Chairman of the land commission that delineated the boundaries of African reserves in Southern Rhodesia; as governor of Uganda during a time of rapid economic expansion (1917–1922), he set up legislative and executive councils; and as governor of Kenya (1922–1925) he formed local native councils as an experiment in indigenous administration.
This first full-length study of Coryndon is neither a traditional gubernatorial biography of a favoured son of the imperial school nor an ideological history of colonial oppression. Instead Youé sets out to analyze Coryndon’s relationships with African rulers, white settlers, Indian traders, and metropolitan officials in order to assess the impact of his administrations on the territories he governed and to delineate the constraints on proconsular rule.
This book demonstrates the place of womenís movements during a defining period of contemporary Zimbabwe. The government of Robert Mugabe may have been as firmly in power in 2000 as it was in 1995, but the intervening years saw severe economic crisis, mass strikes and protests, the start of land occupations, intervention in the war in the DRC, and the rise of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Shereen Essof shows how Zimbabwean women crafted responses to these and other events, and aimed for a feminist agenda that would prioritise the interests of the rural and urban poor. Rejecting both the strictures of patriarchy and the orthodoxies of established feminism, she demands that Zimbabweís women be heard in their own voices and in their own contexts. In doing so she writes a book that combines scholarly integrity with a wild, joyous cry for liberation.
African Life under Company Rule in Colonial Mozambique
Based on documents from a long-lost and unexplored colonial archive, Slavery by Any Other Name tells the story of how Portugal privatized part of its empire to the Mozambique Company. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the company governed central Mozambique under a royal charter and built a vast forced labor regime camouflaged by the rhetoric of the civilizing mission.
Oral testimonies from more than one hundred Mozambican elders provide a vital counterpoint to the perspectives of colonial officials detailed in the archival records of the Mozambique Company. Putting elders' voices into dialogue with officials' reports, Eric Allina reconstructs this modern form of slavery, explains the impact this coercive labor system had on Africans’ lives, and describes strategies they used to mitigate or deflect its burdens. In analyzing Africans’ responses to colonial oppression, Allina documents how some Africans succeeded in recovering degrees of sovereignty, not through resistance, but by placing increasing burdens on fellow Africans—a dynamic that paralleled developments throughout much of the continent.
This volume also traces the international debate on slavery, labor, and colonialism that ebbed and flowed during the first several decades of the twentieth century, exploring a conversation that extended from the backwoods of the Mozambique-Zimbabwe borderlands to ministerial offices in Lisbon and London. Slavery by Any Other Name situates this history of forced labor in colonial Africa within the broader and deeper history of empire, slavery, and abolition, showing how colonial rule in Africa simultaneously continued and transformed past forms of bondage.
The Sacred Music of a South African Coloured Community
Sonic Spaces of the Karoo is a pioneering study of the sacred music of three coloured (the apartheid designation for people "not white or native") people's church congregations in the rural town of Graaff-Reinet, South Africa. Jorritsma's fieldwork involves an investigation of the choruses, choir music, and hymns of the Karoo region to present a history of the people's traditional, religious, and cultural identity in song. This music is examined as part of a living archive preserved by the community in the face of a legacy of slavery and colonial as well as apartheid oppression.
Jorritsma's findings counteract a lingering stereotype that coloured music is inferior to European or African music and that coloured people should not or do not have a cultural identity. Sonic Spaces of the Karoo seeks to eradicate that bias and articulate a more legitimate place for these people in the contemporary landscape of South Africa.