Theorising from the Epicentres of Our Agency, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
In this co-authored review-reflection, we discuss the African Feminisms 2019 conference, offering a snapshot of the vital and emboldening African feminist work being conducted by researchers, cultural producers and creative practitioners at all levels of their careers, as well as a sense of the emotional labour that this work entails. We note the particular, shocking event that took place in South Africa just prior to the conference informed the papers, performances and ensuing discussions. We also note that the conference and many of its attendees advocated for a variety of approaches (and more than one feminism) when seeking to challenge power.
It remains fashionable to refer to the contemporary impetus
for democracy in Africa as the ‘second wave of independence’ or as a major aspect of ‘African renaissance’. Such
terms embody two major meanings: the disastrous failure
of democratization efforts following political independence
in the 1960s; and the umbilical relationship between social
and economic development and democratization, if the latter is ever to take root in an Africa that is mired in poverty.
The view that Africa is ‘trying again’ points not only to
how a paradigm of
Many questions present themselves when considering the historical relationship between anthropology and empire following the Scramble for Africa. These include the extent of imperial fortunes in Africa, rising and falling with officials' knowledge of the people under their jurisdiction. This book looks at the institutional frameworks of anthropology, and shows that the colonial project to order Africa, intellectually and politically, was a messy and not-so comprehensive endeavor. It first considers the roles of metropolitan researchers and institutes such as the colonial ethnographers active in French West Africa, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Berlin, and the British-based International Institute of African Languages and Cultures. The book deals with the role of African ethnograpghers for their study on African teaching assistants and schoolmasters-cum-ethnographers, and the study of Jomo Kenyatta's journey to produce Facing Mount Kenya. Swiss missionaries undertook discovery and domestication first on European soil before it was transferred to African soils and societies. Primordial imagination at work in equatorial Africa is discussed through an analysis of Fang ethnographies, and the infertility scares among Mongo in the Belgian Congo is contrasted with the Nzakara in the French Congo. Once colonial rule had been imposed, administrators and imperial managers were often forced to consider those judicial and social rules that had governed Africans' lives and had predated colonialism. Studies of Italian Northeast Africa, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and French West Africa reveal the uneven ways in which ethnographic knowledge was pursued and applied in this respect.
The book investigates the concepts and related practices of development in British, French and Portuguese colonial Africa during the last decades of colonial rule. During this period, development became the central concept underpinning the relationship between metropolitan Europe and colonial Africa. Combining historiographical accounts with analyses from other academic perspectives, the book investigates a range of contexts, from agriculture to mass media. With its focus on the conceptual side of development and its broad geographical scope, the book offers new and uncommon perspectives. An extensive introduction contextualizes the individual chapters and makes the book an up-to-date point of entry into the subject of (colonial) development, not only for a specialist readership, but also for students of history, development and post-colonial studies. Written by scholars from Africa, Europe and North America, the book is a uniquely international dialogue on this vital chapter of twentieth-century transnational history and on a central concept of the contemporary world.
Southern Africa played a varied but vital role in Britain's maritime and imperial stories. The region was one of the most intricate pieces in the British imperial strategic jigsaw, and representations of southern African landscape and maritime spaces reflect its multifaceted position. This book examines the ways in which British travellers, explorers and artists viewed southern Africa in a period of evolving and expanding British interest in the region. Cape Town occupied in the visual and cultural understanding of British people in the 1760s. It is a representation of southern Africa. The book presents a study that examines and contextualises such representations of southern African landscapes, seascapes and settlements by British officials, travellers and artists. It interrogates how and why these descriptions and depictions came about, as well as the role they played in the British imagining and understanding of southern African spaces. The focus is on a period of evolving and expanding British interest and intervention in southern Africa, its impact on peoples and their environs, and the expression in contemporary landscape and seascape representation. British formal control at the Cape of Good Hope brought European aesthetic frameworks to bear on the viewing of landscapes. Exploration and imperialism were defining features of the British experience in southern Africa. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources, contemporary travelogues and visual images, the book posits landscape as a useful prism through which to view changing British attitudes towards Africa.
From the Twin Plagues of European Locusts to Africa’s Triple Quest for Emancipation
“The Trans-Atlantic slave trade paved the way for colonialism in several ways. It integrated the economy of several African peoples into that of the Americas and Europe, and thus into a capitalist world economy dominated by western Europe … The overall result was underdevelopment … the legacy of wars ensured that Africans could not unite to protect their interests in the way that Europeans were able to coordinate their plans for the partition of Africa at the Congress of Berlin.” 1
This book is about the ways in which Africa1 has been represented within
British modernity. More specifically, it looks at the ways that Africa has been
evoked within what one might broadly call development campaigning. More
than any other part of the world, Africa has served as the spatial focus on
development discussion in Britain, and campaign organisations have been
the central agency in propounding images and arguments about Africa. They
have done this purposefully in order to engage with the British public.
Africa–Britain: a short history
This chapter makes a review of British-African interactions through history.
It does not make a claim to anything but the most general review, and this
is because the purpose here is simply to provide the general coordinates for
the more detailed considerations of the historical changes in Africa’s representation in Britain in subsequent chapters. The focus is on the nature of the
political relations between Africa and Britain and the main ways in which
Africa has been ‘domesticated’ into the British polity.
In the study of the transfer of
imperial cultural forms, South Africa provides one of the most
fascinating case studies. In many respects, South Africa encompassed the
full range of social, cultural, political, gender and racial problems
which existed throughout the British empire. Distinct cultural groups
had emerged by the late nineteenth century to include two groups of
The stirring tale of determined,
organised struggle against nature so as to pioneer an African airway was
brought to public attention again in January 1931. The epic tale of
building and maintaining the first African airway in the 1920s was
resurrected in The Times. Woods Humphery lectured two hundred
people on the subject at a meeting of the dominions and colonies section