When Did the Masks of Coloniality Begin to Fall? Decolonial Reflections on the Bandung Spirit of Decolonization

In: Bandung

The ‘Bandung spirit of decolonization’ pre-dates and post-dates the physicality of the Bandung Conference of 1955. The concept of the ‘spirit’ encapsulates a melange of resistance and struggles against colonial encounters, colonialism, and coloniality—going as far back as the time of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). This article posits that to gain a deeper appreciation of the significance of the ‘Bandung spirit of decolonization’ it is vital to begin with an analysis of technologies of the invention of the Global South within global coloniality. The ‘Bandung spirit of decolonization’ gains a broader canvas as a name for the long standing anti-colonial resistances and decolonial struggles not only against global imperial designs and breaking from Cold War coloniality but also as a terrain of self-invention in opposition to the Northern domination. Thus, this article performs the following tasks: conceptually, it frames the ‘Bandung spirit of decolonization’ with decolonial theory; historically, it traces the politics and technologies of the invention of the global South together with its entrapment in global coloniality and empirically, it lays out the long-standing struggles for liberation beginning with the Haitian Revolution right up to the post-1945 decolonization and pan-African initiatives in Africa. Africa is the author’s locus of enunciation of the ‘Bandung spirit of decolonization’ without delinking it from the rest of the Global South.

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