Mediations of Violence in Africa

Fashioning new futures from contested pasts


This book analyses the violence of recent African wars from the perspectives of African people who experienced and witnessed it. Central to it are the words of (male) Somali poets, Zulu singers, impoverished Kenyan youth, and white South African war veterans, as well as men and women trying to refashion their lives and relationships in post-war Mozambique and Rwanda. Purposefully interdisciplinary, this volume brings together scholarly approaches ranging from cultural and medical anthropology, social/cultural history, and cultural and performance studies.

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Lidwien Kapteijns (Ph.D., University of Amsterdam) is Professor of History at Wellesley College. Her published work focuses on Sudanese and Somali history and includes Women's Voices in a Man's World: Women and the Pastoral Tradition in Northern Somali Orature (1999).

Annemiek Richters, physician and medical anthropologist, is Professor of Culture, Health and Illness at Leiden University Medical Center and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, The Netherlands. Her publications focus on gender, violence and trauma, and on intercultural health care.

List of Illustrations
Colour Plates

Introduction Lidwien Kapteijns and Annemiek Richters

Making Memories of Mogadishu in Somali Poetry about the Civil War Lidwien Kapteijns

The Road, the Song and the Citizen: Singing after Violence in KwaZulu-Natal Liz Gunner

Maisha bora, kwa nani? A Cool Life, for Whom? Mediations of Masculinity, Ethnicity, and Violence in a Nairobi Slum Naomi van Stapele

Testimonies of Suffering and Recasting the Meanings of Memories of Violence in Post-war Mozambique Victor Igreja

Suffering and Healing in the Aftermath of War and Genocide in Rwanda: Mediations through Community-Based
Sociotherapy Annemiek Richters

“The balsak in the Roof ”: Bush War Experiences and Mediations as Related by White South African Conscripts
Diana Gibson

List of Contributors
General readers, students, scholars, and practicioners interested in understanding the violence of war in Africa ( Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, and South Africa), as well as cultural and medical anthropologists, historians, and those specializing in literary and cultural studies.
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