The Skull beneath the Skin: Africa after the Cold War

By Mark Huband | Go to book overview

10
THE SPIT OF THE TOAD

Zaire, Kenya, and
the Abuse of Tradition

This mosaic of tribes and cultures, linked by a general wish
to live together, to form a nation united by the cement of the
republic, holds close to its heart the aim of national cohesion
and an advanced notion of citizenship. 1

MARRYING THE IDEAL OF STATEHOOD with the reality of an often fractured mosaic of tribes and cultures is a challenge few of Africa's leaders have met. The historical truth is hopelessly enmeshed in genuinely old traditions shaped by the vicissitudes of oral transmission, invented traditions, and mythico-history. 2 "This tribalism that was a genuine product of African diversity but also an invented weapon of self-defense, became a potent factor in opening the route to nationalism," writes Basil Davidson of the tribal unions and associations that evolved in the early years of the twentieth century. 3 "Their nature, of course, meant that they were destined to become divisive of national unities. They would then play the role, after independence, of opposing 'tribe' to 'nation'. But that was still to the future." The nationalist political creed that ultimately succeeded in ridding Africa of European domination clearly revealed the imperative of achieving freedom. But it did not

-217-

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The Skull beneath the Skin: Africa after the Cold War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Prologue viii
  • Part One - Empty Promises i
  • 1 - Sell the Silver, Steal the Gold 3
  • 2 - The Skull beneath the Skin 31
  • 3 - Great Game, Dirty Game 57
  • Part Two - The Time of the Soldier 79
  • 4 - Whispers and Screams 81
  • 5 - A City on the Lake 97
  • 6 - Juggling the Juntas 115
  • 7 - The Deadly Harvest 137
  • Part Three - Blood of the Ancestors 159
  • 8 - Myths, Chiefs, and Churches 161
  • 9 - Genocide 184
  • 10 - The Spit of the Toad 217
  • Part Four - New World, Old Order 249
  • 11 - Rogue States and Radicals 253
  • 12 - The Mogadishu Line 277
  • 13 - France, Africa, and a Place Called Fashoda 307
  • Epilogue - The Center Cannot Hold 327
  • Notes 335
  • Bibliography 355
  • Index 361
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