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The Importance of Biography in African Historical Studies
This volume investigates the development of biographical study in African history and historiography. Consisting of 10 case studies, it is preceded by an introductory prologue, which deals with the relationship between historiography and different forms of biographical study in the context of Western history-writing but especially African (historical and anthropological) studies. The first three case studies deal with the methodological insights of biographical studies for African history. This is followed by three case studies dealing with personas living through fundamental societal transitions, and four case studies focusing on the discursive dimensions of biographical subjects (including religion, cosmology and ideology). Countries or regions discussed include South Africa, Zambia, Gold Coast, Cameroon, Tanganyika, Congo-Kinshasa and the Central African Republic in colonial times.

Contributors are Lindie Koorts, Elena Moore, Iva Peša, Paul Glen Grant, Jacqueline de Vries, Duncan Money, Morgan Robinson, Eve Wong, Klaas van Walraven, Erik Kennes.
Independence, Belonging, Contradiction
Nationalism, as an ideology coupling self-conscious peoples to fixed territories, is often seen as emerging from European historical developments, also in postcolonial countries outside Europe. André van Dokkum’s Nationalism and Territoriality in Barue and Mozambique shows that this view is not universally true. The precolonial Kingdom of Barue in what is now Mozambique showed characteristics generally associated with nationalism, giving the country great resilience against colonial encroachment. Postcolonial Mozambique, on the other hand, has so far not succeeded in creating national coherence. The former anti-colonial organization and now party in power Frelimo has always stressed national unity, but only under its own guidance, paradoxically producing disunity.
Intercultural contributions from French-speaking Africa
For years the fact that the debate on science and religion was not related to cultural diversity was considered only a minor issue. However, lately, there is a growing concern that the dominance of ‘Western’ perspectives in this field do not allow for new understandings. This book testifies to the growing interest in the different cultural embeddings of the science and religion interface and proposes a framework that makes an intercultural debate possible. This proposal is based on a thorough study of the ‘lived theology’ of Christian students and university professors in Abidjan, Kinshasa and Yaoundé. The outcomes of the field research are related to a worldwide perspective of doing theology and a broader scope of scholarly discussions.
An Ethnography of the Past
In Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire: an Ethnography of the Past, Konstanze N’Guessan deals with memory work in Côte d’Ivoire and bridges an ethnographic approach with the insights of newer theoretical approaches in historiography. Adopting a long-term perspective from the late 1950s to the present, she attempts to disentangle the condensation of meanings of the lieu de mémoire “Ivorian independence” and explores how different practices of recalling the past complement and/or contradict each other. Histories of independence in Côte d’Ivoire looks at national-day celebrations, academic historiography, oral tradition and memory politics in order to understand how (political) actors mobilize the past in order to produce pleasant presents and futures.
What Role for South Africa?
In Regional Integration in Africa: What Role for South Africa, Henri Bah, Zondi Siphamandla and Andre Mbata Mangu reflect on African integration and the contribution of post-apartheid South Africa. From their different scientific background, they demonstrate that despite some progress made under the African Union that superseded the Organisation of African Unity, Africa is still lagging behind in terms of regional integration and South Africa, which benefitted from the rest of the continent in her struggle against apartheid, has not as yet played a major role in this process. Apart from contributing to advancing knowledge, the book should be a recommended read for all those interested in African regional integration and the relationships between Africa and post-apartheid South Africa.
Contributors are Henri Bah, Andre Mbata Mangu, Eddy Maloka and Zondi Siphamandla.

Abstract

Farming is a major sector of informal employment for more than 67 per cent of the active labour force in Tanzania. This means farming is of primary importance to the overall economy. Rural transformations and the future of agriculture in Tanzania depend mainly upon improved access to market outlets, guarantees on improved seeds, and availability of farm-loans. These are essential interventions to transform the rural sector despite the challenges it is facing. An overview of government interventions in rural development policy and activity is offered here by focusing on Ismani, part of the present-day Iringa District in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Agrarian change in Ismani through the 1940s to the 1970s depended upon government interventions on the one hand, and changes in the physical environment on the other. Initially during this period, Ismani became a national food granary in the 1970s as a result of government interventions. Then this progress turned upside down in the 1980s, when the development of Ismani took on a new dimension due to a rapid decline in maize productivity. In recent years, especially over the last two decades, Ismani has experienced recurrent food insecurity. Evidence of the drastic change emerges from reliance on archival sources, fieldwork interviews and secondary sources collected in 2012, 2013 and 2017. This paper explores the dynamics of maize farming in Ismani, to provide a detailed historical understanding of how a prosperous maize farming area can become, in the space of only a few years, an area which is now rife with localised food insecurity in many of its villages.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

The Bagamoyo area is among the Tanzanian coastal locations where evidence of intercontinental trade dates back to the last few centuries of the first millennium AD. Previous investigations have indicated that the region’s earliest settlement is represented by Early Triangular Incised Ware [TIW] around 600 to 700 AD, at Bwembweni site located two kilometres south of Kaole. During the Later TIW, the population shifted to Kaole Hill during the period noted by the use of Plain Ware, and later moved to the adjacent Kaole Ruins by the thirteenth century.

Traditionally, the majority of earlier investigations for such conclusions have been restricted to Bwembweni and Kaole sites, and to a limited extent to Bagamoyo Town itself and its vicinity. However, recent reconnaissance and excavation of Nunge, a single type pottery tradition site located to the north, suggests that although Bagamoyo’s involvement in intercontinental exchange dates back to the seventh century AD, the narrative is more complicated than previously assumed. It appears that between the subsequent ninth to eleventh centuries, the area lost such links, before resurfacing again in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries. Within that time frame, Nunge developed into an extensive urban centre whose prosperity was based on salt production for exchange.

This discovery suggests that the development to urbanism at (Later Iron Age phase) Nunge-Bagamoyo predates that of the Kaole town, when the area is known to have had a few links with the outside world. These findings contribute crucially to the debate regarding early urbanisation along the Swahili coast, by challenging the conventional view that Arab or Asian settlements were the earliest urban centres along the coast of East Africa.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

The following pages engage a hermeneutic approach to African philosophy, focusing on the work of Tsenay Serequeberhan. At the heart of the discussion is the question of where to locate such an approach in the existing philosophical literature. Does this way of working render African philosophy a European enterprise? Giving an affirmative response, the writings of Paulin Hountondji, which draw upon Husserlian phenomenology, are taken up as an alternative response to questions raised here about the meaning and methods of hermeneutics. Ultimately, however, this perspective is also set aside. Instead, suggestions are put forward for the markers around which a contemporary African metaphysics, which is both restorative and creative, might be pursued.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Malaria patients in Ivory Coast pursue a wide variety of treatment routes, depending upon how they understand the aetiology of their illness, their association of illness with supernatural causes, their ability to afford standard consultation fees, their access to conventional health care facilities, and their confidence in traditional African therapies. This research took place in the context of the government’s policy of providing free management of ‘simple malaria’ for all. Working with four conventional doctors and four traditional African medical practitioners, treatment choices of 161 malaria patients were analysed at Kennedy-Clouétcha, a busy urban health care centre in Abidjan. Almost half (77) of the patients in the study cited mosquito bites, general poor health, and stagnant water sources as the causes of their malaria. A greater number of patients (84) indicated fatigue, sun exposure, mysticism, and diet as the cause. The scope of therapies sought by these patients covered conventional biomedical treatment, traditional African medicine, and prayer. When patients were not cured through methods of their first resort, they pursued second options for care. Despite the availability of free care in centrally located public health systems, the therapeutic trajectory of many patients diverted away from conventional treatment. The data suggests that a patient’s orientation away from the conventional biomedical model may be best explained by confusions surrounding the diagnostic label ‘simple malaria’.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

All languages are transformed to some extent by other languages with which they are regularly in contact. Some languages are regarded as ‘developed’ insofar as they function as the dominant mode of communication in economically developed countries (e.g. in North America and Europe). The dominant speech communities of rich economies transmit new innovations and discoveries globally, which are then translated into languages described as ‘developing’ because their use is chiefly restricted to so-called economically developing nations, such as Tanzania. In this respect, English counts among the world’s developed languages while Kiswahili is regarded as a developing language. Despite the general tendency to translate new expressions fully into a targeted developing language, there is evidence of foreign structures in Kiswahili when it is used in social media. This article analyses the English syntactic, morphological, phonological and lexical features of Kiswahili appearing in electronic platforms including WhatsApp, personal blogs (e.g. Michuziblogspot) and online social forums (e.g. Jamii Forum). This primary data is then analysed through back translation.

In: Utafiti