History In Africa

History In Africa is a magazine focusing on History

Articles from Vol. 31, 2004

African Files in Portuguese Archives
IWhen I first mentioned to David Henige my plan to go to Portugal to do some archival research, he expressed the hope that it would be a somewhat more welcoming atmosphere than he had encountered in 1971, with armed soldiers patrolling the grounds. Indeed...
African History at Makerere in the 1960s: A Further Perspective
IAs two expatriate academics who taught at Makerere in the 1960s (RB 1960-64; MP 1964-67), we were naturally interested in the article, "Building an African Department of History at Makerere, 1950-1972" in HA 30(2003), 253-82. The story Carol Sicherman...
African Music in the World and Traditional Music Section at the British Library Sound Archive
IIt is widely accepted that the development of recording technology played an important role in the development of ethnomusicology as a discipline. For the first time, from the late nineteenh century, music could be recorded for use in scientific comparison...
A Male-Centric Modification of History: Efunsetan Aniwura Revisited
IHistorical drama can be described as a form of drama which purports to reflect or represent historical proceedings. Since time immemorial writers have combined fiction and history in creative works. Lawrence Langner has ascribed the popularity of historical...
A Note on Self-Translation
INot so long ago this journal published an excellent overview of the issues related to the reliability of translations.1 But neither this, nor apparently any other study, considered the case of a text translated by its own author, hence a note on this...
A Rocky Road to Publication
IThe path to the publication of our collaborative research concerning an aspect of earliest Church Missionary Society history has been an irregular, and often despairing, one. For a time it seemed unlikely that we would ever finish our research, and...
A Unique Case and Opportunity: In Favor of a Study on the UTC Label
II want to concentrate on three broad themes in responding to the papers by Arlt and Collins. The first one is about archives and collecting and what I call the dilemmas of discography. Connected to these dilemmas is the question of the place of popular...
Between the Ogiso and Oba Dynasties: An Interpretation of Interregnum in the Benin Kingdom
IThe evidence for the period separating the times of the two Benin dynasties, that of the ogi'so and that of the oba, is extremely scanty and does not look very trustworthy. There are not even any direct indications as to the time when the events under...
Establishing the Facts: P. A. Talbot and the 1921 Census of Nigeria*
IMost historians writing about twentieth-century Africa have, at one time or other, used colonial statistical data. When we do this, we normally add a disclaimer, pointing out that these statistics are likely to be unreliable, and then proceed to use...
Ghanaian Christianity and Popular Entertainment: Full Circle
IIn this paper I look at the relationship between Christianity and popular entertainment in Ghana over the last 100 years or so. Imported Christianity was one of the seminal influences on the emergence of local popular music, dance, and drama. But Christianity...
Ghana's Highlife Music: A Digital Repertoire of Recordings and Pop Art at the Gramophone Records Museum
IThroughout history, libraries and archives have been the guardians of the documentary heritage of mankind. Given the rapid evolution of the new technologies, safeguarding the cultural heritage becomes more and more the concern of specialists.1 One of...
Haunting Griaule: Experiences from the Restudy of the Dogon
IIt really was a chance occasion, just before Christmas 2003. On my way to the Dogon area I had greeted my friends in Sangha, and was speaking with a Dutch friend, when a French tourist lady suddenly barged into the hall of the hotel and asked me: "There...
"If We Are Still Here Next Year": Zambian Historical Research in the Context of Decline, 2002-2003
IThis paper addresses the challenges facing researchers seeking to explore the post-colonial history of Zambia, a country whose social infrastructure in general, and academic and research facilities in particular, are in a state of apparently perpetual...
Mining a Mother Lode: Early European Travel Literature and the History of Precious Metalworking in Highland Ethiopia
IOur primary concern in this essay is with reconstructing the history of material culture. As anyone who has ever looked into the material culture of Ethiopia quickly discovers, the travel accounts of early European visitors can be a rich and varied...
Minor Sources? Two Accounts of a 1670-1671 French Voyage to Guinea: Description, Authorship and Context*
To the memory of Paul Hair and Guy Thilmans"La troisiesme partie de ce Recueil est la Relation d'un Voyage fait en la Coste d'Afrique, depuis le treiziéme degré de latitude septentrionale, jusqu'au troisesme du costé du Sud. L'Auteur estoit Officier...
Orphans in Highlife: An Anthropological Interpretation*
IIn 1971 and 1973 I carried out anthropological fieldwork in KwahuTafo, a rural town of about 5,000 inhabitants on the Kwahu plateau in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The first research project was a case study of the family I was staying with; the second...
Peter Hartwig, 1804-1808: Sociological Perspectives in Marginality and Alienation1
All social groups make rules and attempt, at some times and under some circumstances, to enforce them. Social rules define situations and the kinds of behavior appropriate to them, specifying some actions as "right" and forbidding others as "wrong."...
Reconstructing the Past Using the British Parliamentary Papers: The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
IThe British Parliamentary Papers continue to be a valuable source of information for historians of the African past. A vast amount of material on African affairs involving British interests can be found in these Papers. This essay deals with the way...
Recordings of African Popular Music: A Valuable Source for Historians of Africa
IIn December 2002 the Swiss Society for Ethnomusicology (CH-EM), in cooperation with the Centre for African Studies of the University of Basel and with mission 21 (formerly Basel Mission), organized a symposium on the theme "Popular Music from Ghana:...
Rulers, Scholars, and Invaders: A Select Bibliography of the Songhay Empire
IThe Songhay Empire was a remarkable west African state, flourishing in several areas including territorial and trade expansion, development of a strong military and centralized government, unprecedented support for learning and scholarship, and skilful...
The Anderson-D'ollone Controversy of 1903-04: Race, Imperialism, and the Reconfiguration of the Liberia-Guinea Border1
IThe years 2003-04 mark the centennial observance of a debate that emerged in Paris, Freetown, and Monrovia over whether or not the Liberian Benjamin Anderson trekked to the fabled town of Musadu in 1868. Musadu, now situated about five miles northwest...
The Archives of the Municipality and the High Court of Asmara, Eritrea: Discovering the Eritrea "Hidden from History"
IEritrean independence in 1993 raised fundamental questions regarding the Eritrean past. Inevitably, scholars initially focused their analysis on the history of the Eritrean nationalist movement and liberation struggle. The long guerrilla war against...
The Many Uses of Forgeries: The Case of Douville's Voyage Au Congo
IA forged travel account reminds me of a raffia palm in central Africa, because there is a use for every part of such a palm: the wine (sap), the nuts (edible), the raffia (for textiles), the other leaves (for roofcovering), the branches (for furniture),...
The Semolika Expedition of 1904: A Participant Account
IBritish imperialism in west Africa during the late nineteenth century is known to be the product of the interrelations between expansionist forces at the center of empire and those at the periphery on the one hand, and the relationship between the peripheral...
The Union Trade Company and Its Recordings: An Unintentional Documentation of West African Popular Music, 1931-1957
IThis paper introduces a unique collection of roughly 700 historical recordings of African popular music generated by a Swiss trading company, which today is located at the archives of mission 21 (formerly Basel Missioin) in Basel. The music was recorded...
Two Early Seventeenth-Century Sephardic Communities on Senegal's Petite Cote
IPortuguese archives contain a wealth of documents that are insufficiently utilized by, and often unknown to, historians of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century west Africa. Lusophone sources are crucial for the period of earliest contact between Europeans...
Were There Large States in the Coastal Regions of Southeast Africa before the Rise of the Zulu Kingdom?*
IThe Zulu kingdom holds a special place in both popular culture and historical scholarship. Zulu-a famous name, easy to spell and pronounce-is as recognizably American as gangster rap.1 The website of the "Universal Zulu Nation" (www.hiphopcity.com/zulu_nation/)...
"We Shall Rejoice to See the Day When Slavery Shall Cease to Exist": The Gold Coast Times, the African Intelligentsia, and Abolition in the Gold Coast1
IThe articulation of antislavery among Africans remains to be studied. Overall, the staple of animated questions, debates, and conclusions of the vast literature on abolition of slavery in the last two decades or so has neglected African contributions...
Writing African Women's History with Male Sources: Possibilities and Limitations
IColonial sources can provide historians with a wealth of information about African lives during the colonial period, but they must be read against the grain, filtering out valuable information from the biases and prejudices of European officials. The...