HISTORICAL AND ETHNOGRAPHICAL PUBLICATIONS IN THE VERNACULARS OF COLONIAL ZAMBIA: MISSIONARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE 'CREATION OF TRIBALISM'

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

This paper examines the chronology and attributes of literate ethno-history in Northern Rhodesia. While the earliest published authors were invariably members of missionary societies whose evangelical policies were predisposed towards the Christianisation of local chieftaincies, the expansion and Africanisation of vernacular historiography from the late 1930s owed much to the intervention of the colonial government in the publishing sphere. A survey of their contents shows that vernacular histories and ethnographies mirrored preconceptions and preoccupations typical of the times of their composition. By placing these texts in the political and economic context of the colony, and by providing new data on their wide circulation among literate Africans, the article contends that published ethnohistories were one of the principal cultural components of the process of crystallisation of ethnic identities in the middle and late colonial era.

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