This article deals with the reburial of Bishop Joseph Dupont in Zambia in December 2000, 88 years after he left the country. After a brief précis of the burial itself, I examine the different presentations of Bishop Dupont by scholars, White Fathers, oral literature and the Bemba Catholics in Zambia, exploring the question of who kept his memory alive and for what purposes. It is not sufficient to view Dupont's funeral as an historical oddity, but rather as a manifestation of what Ranger called 'popular Christianity'. To understand this attachment to Dupont by local Catholics, one has to go beyond the official documents and academic literature and consider the historical reconstruction on the ground. As will become clear, this is the only way to explain Bishop Dupont's current heroic status.
The Objects of Life in Central Africa the history of consumption and social change from 1840 until 1980 is explored. By taking consumption as a vantage point, the contributions deviate from and add to previous works which have mainly analysed issues of production from an economic and political perspective. The chapters are broad-ranging in temporal and geographical focus, including contributions on Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola. Topics range from the social history of firearms to the perception of the railway and include contributions on sewing machines, traders and advertising. By looking at the socio-economic, political and cultural meaning and impact of goods the history of Central Africa is reassessed.
Building on the foundational work of the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, the essays contained in
Living the End of Empire offer a nuanced and complex picture of the late-colonial period in Zambia. The present volume, based on untapped archival material and sources that have emerged in recent years, throws new light on some of the historical trajectories that the teleological gaze of nationalist scholars tended to ignore or belittle. By bringing to view the deep-rooted tensions underlying the Zambian nationalist movement, the painful dilemmas faced by chiefly and religious institutions, and the contradictory experiences of European and Asian minorities,
Living the End of Empire draws inspiration from – and contributes to – a growing literature that is concerned with the study of social, political and cultural forces that did not readily fit into the then dominant narratives of united anti-colonial struggles.
In contrast to the rich tradition of academic analysis and understanding of the pre-colonial and colonial history of Zambia, the country’s post-colonial trajectory has been all but ignored by historians. The assumptions of developmentalism, the cultural hegemony of the United National Independence Party’s orthodoxy and its conflation with national interests, and a narrow focus on Zambia’s diplomatic role in Southern African affairs, have all contributed to a dearth of studies centring on the diverse lived experiences of Zambians. Inspired by an international conference held in Lusaka in August 2005, and presenting a broad range of essays on different aspects of Zambia’s post-colonial experience, this collection seeks to lay the foundations for a future process of sustained scholarly enquiry into the country’s most recent past.