Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-22 20:25Z by Steven

Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Duke University Press
2014
368 pages
51 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5713-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5725-4

Christopher J. Lee, Research Associate
WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

In Unreasonable Histories, Christopher J. Lee unsettles the parameters and content of African studies as currently understood. At the book’s core are the experiences of multiracial Africans in British Central Africa—contemporary Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Drawing on a spectrum of evidence—including organizational documents, court records, personal letters, commission reports, popular periodicals, photographs, and oral testimony—Lee traces the emergence of Anglo-African, Euro-African, and Eurafrican subjectivities which constituted a grassroots Afro-Britishness that defied colonial categories of native and non-native. Discriminated against and often impoverished, these subaltern communities crafted a genealogical imagination that reconfigured kinship and racial descent to make political claims and generate affective meaning. But these critical histories equally confront a postcolonial reason that has occluded these experiences, highlighting uneven imperial legacies that still remain. Based on research in five countries, Unreasonable Histories ultimately revisits foundational questions in the field, to argue for the continent’s diverse heritage and to redefine the meanings of being African in the past and present—and for the future.

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Mugabe raps Chinese men over mixed race babies

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-06-11 17:56Z by Steven

Mugabe raps Chinese men over mixed race babies

Bulawayo24
2016-06-11

Thobekile Zhou

Chinese men who are working on various projects in Zimbabwe have come under attack for not bringing along their wives.

President Robert Mugabe claimed that this could lead them to prey on local girls…

…He said the Chinese men end up leaving a mixed race communities after bedding local women. He said such a practice should stop…

Read the entire article here.

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Walking a Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured Community of Zimbabwe [Review]

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive on 2013-03-10 00:19Z by Steven

Walking a Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured Community of Zimbabwe [Review]

H-net Reviews
H-SAfrica
April 2007

Elizabeth Schmidt, Professor of History
Loyola University Maryland

James Muzondidya. Walking a Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured Community of Zimbabwe. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2005. xviii + 323 pp. (cloth), ISBN 978-1-59221-246-0.

Based on a wide range of archival sources and more than two dozen interviews, James Muzondidya’s book provides a major historical reassessment of Zimbabwe’s colored community from the early twentieth century to 1980. This small community has largely been ignored in Southern African historiography. The few works focusing on the colored population generally have perpetuated a distorted view, arguing that the mixed-race community had no authentic identity. Rather, they posit that “colored” was a state-imposed category without roots in popular experience or consciousness. According to this view, coloreds were merely a product of the colonial state’s divide-and-rule tactics. While Africans viewed them as dupes, collaborators, and beneficiaries of the colonial system, Europeans dismissed them as a marginal population that was more African than European and, as such, unworthy of European rights and privileges.

In this important contribution to the historical literature, Muzondidya reassesses the construction of colored identity, rejecting the proposition that colored social and political identities were solely state-imposed. He argues instead that these complex and contested identities were the product of colored historical agency and the political, economic, and social structures in which the actors operated. He disaggregates the mixed-race category, too often viewed as homogeneous, in terms of gender, generation, class, culture, and historical background. In a particularly fascinating section, he explores the deep divisions between South African-born Cape Coloreds (or Cape Afrikanders) and the indigenous “EurAfrican” population. Cape Colored immigrants to colonial Zimbabwe were predominantly Muslim, Afrikaans-speaking descendants of African and Asian slaves, the Cape’s original Khoikhoi inhabitants, and Afrikaner settlers. Generations removed from their exclusively African or European past, they belonged to the Western-educated middle and professional classes…

Read the entire review here.

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The Black Peril and Miscegenation: The Regulation of Inter-racial Sexual Relations in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1933

Posted in Africa, Canada, Dissertations, History, Law on 2012-05-26 15:33Z by Steven

The Black Peril and Miscegenation: The Regulation of Inter-racial Sexual Relations in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1933

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 1991
140 Pages

Katherine Gombay

A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree  of M.A.

For over forty years, at the turn of this century, the white settlers of Southern Rhodesia devoted considerable energy to the discussion and the regulation of inter-racial sexual relations. The settlers’ worries about maintaining their position in power were expressed, in part, in the periodic outbreaks of ‘black peril’ hysteria, a term which well-captures white fears about the threat that African men were thought to represent to white women. Although voluntary sexual encounters between white women and black men were prohibited from 1903 onwards, no such prohibition existed for white men in their relations with black women. The white women made several attempts to have legislation passed prohibiting such liasons, and failed largely because in doing so they were perceived to be challenging the authority of the white men. The regulation of interracial sexual intercourse thus served to reinforce the white male domination of Rhodesian society.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1—Setting the Scene: The White Settlement of Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1903.
  • Chapter 2—1903-1916: The Black Peril and the Immorality Acts.
  • Chapter 3—The Miscegenation Debates, 1916 -1930.
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire thesis here.

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Islands and autochthons: Coloureds, space and belonging in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe (Part 1)

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-12-21 02:10Z by Steven

Islands and autochthons: Coloureds, space and belonging in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe (Part 1)

Journal of Social Archaeology
Volume 4, Number 3 (October 2004)
pages 405-426
DOI: 10.1177/1469605304046423

Julia Katherine Seirlis
Department of Anthropology
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

This article, the first in a two-part series, examines the ramifications of the complex relationships between race and space for definitions of the nation and national identity in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. Most generally, the workings of race and space helped polarize Rhodesia and Zimbabwe between what was set up as ‘white’ and ‘black’, and limit the struggle for power and claims on belonging to those two poles. Racial identity was inscribed into spatial sensibilities and organization so that white space (the city) functioned as a series of islands and black space (the countryside) activated organic assertions of autochthony. More specifically, race and space informed the creation of an intermediate racial category, ‘Coloured’, with no substantive claim to a ‘real’ or ‘full’ identity and with no authoritative claim to the physical soil of the country.

Read or purchase the article here.

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‘The rivers of Zimbabwe will run red with blood’: Enoch Powell and the Post-Imperial Nostalgia of the Monday Club

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2011-11-15 20:34Z by Steven

‘The rivers of Zimbabwe will run red with blood’: Enoch Powell and the Post-Imperial Nostalgia of the Monday Club

Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume 37, Issue 4 (December 2011)
pages 731-745
DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2011.613691

Daniel McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom

In his influential account of post-colonial melancholia, Paul Gilroy suggests that contemporary reports of violence in Southern Africa reveal Britain’s inability to work through its grim history of imperialism and colonialism. Gilroy’s study links recent discussions of tragic Southern African themes to Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech in 1968. However, it does not mention Powell’s critique of Britain’s ‘post-imperial nostalgia’ in a speech about Rhodesia later that year. This is not entirely surprising – the Conservative Central Office did not disseminate Powell’s call for Britons to move beyond sentimental attachment to ‘kith and kin’ in Rhodesia, and Rhodesian sympathisers in the Conservative Monday Club attempted to work around Powell’s refusal to support the ‘White Commonwealth’. Moreover, Powell opposed non-white ‘communalism’ whether he was emphasising the importance of the British Empire to English identity or challenging the ‘harmful myth’ of empire as an English nationalist. Consequently, this article uses archival material relating to the Monday Club and the Rhodesian Ministry of Information in order to document three of the main strands of post-colonial melancholia that apply to Powellite figures on the right who defended (white) minority rule in Rhodesia and/or demonised (non-white) minority cultures in the United Kingdom. The first main strand of post-colonial melancholia involves the belief that racial intermixture will lead to violence and economic instability. The second emphasises the importance of strong white rule to limit racial violence and industrial retardation. The third attempts to contest and then seize the position of victim, alleging one set of standards for the ‘civilised’ West and another set of standards for ‘failed, incompetent and pre-modern states.’

Read or purchase the article here.

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Walking A Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured People of Zimbabwe

Posted in Africa, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2009-11-13 23:02Z by Steven

Walking A Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured People of Zimbabwe

Africa World Press
May 2004
300 pages
SKU: 1592212648
ISBN: 1592212648

James Muzondidya, Senior Research Specialist of Democracy and Governance
Human Sciences Research Council

This book examines the history of the Coloured or “mixed race” community of Zimbabwe, a group that has not only been marginalized in most general political and academic discourses but whose history has also been subject to popular misconceptions. The book focuses mainly on the process of identity formation among members of the community and the development of political ideologies and strategies within the same community. Challenging conventional wisdom on race and ethnic identities, this book argues that understanding the process of identity formation among members of the Coloured community requires transcending two approaches: essentialism, based on the notion that Coloured identity is a biologically determined, inherent quality derived from miscegenation, and constructivism, which projects Coloured identity and any other identities of subject groups as simply inventions of the colonial state in which the subjects themselves played no active part in the formational processes.

While this book focuses on the Coloured community, its overall observations have a broader significance than the group it focuses on. Through its critical analysis of political developments within the Coloured community and detailed examination of the various influences in the mobilization of Coloureds in the national protest movement, the book not only manages to highlight problems encountered in building a national consciousness among the various interest groups in colonial societies, but also to unravel the contradictions in African nationalism. Focusing specifically on the relationship between African nationalism and Coloured identity, the book also explores in detail the ambiguities of both Coloured social identities and African nationalist ideologies and some of the ideological and strategic shortcomings of Africa’s past and present nationalist movements movements, the most apparent being the lack of tolerance or a proper discussion of the problems of race and cultural diversity.

When viewed in the broad perspective of studies which focus on identities in general, this work is one of the few that clearly tries to demonstrate how social identities are produced and reproduced in the dialectic of internal and external definition while paying adequate attention to the role played by the people themselves in the identity formation process. Yet, in emphasizing self-identification, the book does not seek to wholly diminish the importance of the state in the whole process.

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