To say that the lives of prominent political leaders are symbolic of the political culture of their time is, of course, a truism. Nelson Mandela is one of the handful of 20th-century leaders for whom this statement holds true in global terms, illustrated by the recent unveiling of his statue in London's Parliament Square.
When I was an undergraduate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the early 1980s, the School had a motto: knowledge is power. Students of a radical inclination would denounce this explicit evocation of the School's imperial origins, and evidently the criticism took its toll.
The museums and historic sites of South Africa are a highly significant and revealing source of evidence for investigating how the country’s various communities have come to terms with their complex history and have chosen to project it publicly.
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the seizure of power by the current Ethiopian government – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – a government which has shown itself ever more determined to monopolise power indefinitely, it is increasingly apposite to examine the roots of political modernity in Ethiopia.
A History of Nigeria is an impressive book, the more so because its ambitions initially appear straightforward. Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton describe their project as ‘a general background survey of the broad themes of Nigeria’s history from the beginnings of human habitation … to the early twenty-first century’ (p.
In the last thirty years, in reaction to a predominantly white, Western and metropole-biased discourse of the Second World War based solely on the 'official' record, there have emerged a growing number of historians who have sought to redress this imbalance by documenting the experiences of colonial men and women in that conflict, utilising oral history in an attempt to give voices to these 'vo
Eslanda Goode Robeson has lived under the shadow of her superstar singer, actor, and political pioneer husband, Paul Robeson for decades. However, Eslanda, known as Essie, was a dedicated activist intellectual, prolific writer, powerful orator, and world traveller.
Algeria was colonised and departmentalised by the French in the 19th century, and by 1954 around a million Algerians of European origin lived in the settler colony. Following a seven-and-a-half-year war against France, Algeria officially became independent in 1962.
Grootplaas, a produce farm that specialises in citrus and numbers around 900 hectares in size, is the subject of Maxim Bolt’s latest monograph, Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence.