Francophone Africa at fifty

Relations between Africans and French by 1960 were far from unambiguous, and far from being sufficiently understood. More than fifty years later, these complex themes require further analysis. This book addresses many open questions regarding the Franco-African experience through five major themes. The first part of the book analyses the late colonial state, and discusses some politico-administrative decisions taken in the last years of the French colonial empire. It considers the loi-cadre, the Gaston Defferre Law, and discusses Guinea-Conakry, apparently a model country of nationalist activities in the 1950s, and the behaviour of French officials in August 1960 in one of the first important political crises. The 'military bond' narrative and military continuities are addressed in the second part of the book. The forms of propaganda employed by the French army to motivate African soldiers in French West Africa, the military transition in French Soudan/Mali, and the colonial war against Mauritanian insurgents after independence are discussed. The third part of the book sheds light on key elements of continuity in relations between Africans and French, with a focus on the question of educational cooperation. The fourth part sets the French and the British trajectories in relation to each other, and examines the attempt by the French to make an entry into Southern Rhodesia. The book presents case studies of the effects of the memory of processes that took place during the transfer of power and during the establishment of post-colonial relations between African leaders and the former metropole.

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‘Francophone Africa at Fifty is aimed at generalists and specialists alike. For those wishing to learn about this often-neglected part of the world, and especially for those with an interest in its history, this book is an excellent place to start.'
Craig Phelan, Kingston University London
Political Studies Review
May 2016

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