African History

African History Book List

Cover of 'A Most Promising Weed'

A Most Promising Weed
A History of Tobacco Farming and Labor in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1890–1945
By Steven C. Rubert

A Most Promising Weed examines the work experience, living conditions, and social relations of thousands of African men, women, and children on European-owned tobacco farms in colonial Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1945. Steven C. Rubert provides evidence that Africans were not passive in their responses to the penetration of European capitalism into Zimbabwe but, on the contrary, helped to shape both the work and living conditions they encountered as they entered wage employment.

Cover of 'Namibia under South African Rule'

Namibia under South African Rule
Mobility and Containment, 1915–46
Edited by Patricia Hayes, Jeremy Silvester, Marion Wallace, and Wolfram Hartmann

The peoples of Namibia have been on the move throughout history. The South Africans in 1915 took over from the Germans in trying to fit Namibia into a colonial landscape. This book is about the clashes and stresses which resulted from the first three decades of South African colonial rule. Namibia under South African Rule is a major contribution to Namibian historiography, exploring, in particular, many new themes in twentieth-century Namibian history.

Cover of 'Developing Uganda'

Developing Uganda
Edited by Hölger Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle

Uganda's recovery since Museveni came to power in 1986 has been one of the heartening achievements in a continent where the media have given intense coverage to disasters. This book assesses the question of whether the reality lives up to the image that has so impressed the supporters of its recovery. What has actually happened? How successful have the reforms been thus far? What are the prospects for Uganda's future?

Cover of 'Multi-Party Politics in Kenya'

Multi-Party Politics in Kenya
The Kenyatta & Moi States & the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election
By David Throup and Charles Hornsby

This book uses the Kenyan political system to address issues relevant to recent political developments throughout Africa. The authors analyze the construction of the Moi state since 1978. They show the marginalization of Kikuyu interests as the political economy of Kenya has been reconstructed to benefit President Moi's Kalenjin people and their allies. Mounting Kikuyu dissatisfaction led to the growth of demands for multi-party democracy.

Cover of 'Willing Migrants'

Willing Migrants
Soninke Labor Diasporas, 1848–1960
By François Manchuelle

The first major study of the Soninke labor migration within Africa and to France, Willing Migrants is based upon critical analysis of French precolonial and colonial records and oral interviews with Soninke migrants.

Cover of 'Confronting Leviathan'

Confronting Leviathan
Mozambique Since Independence
By Margaret Hall and Tom Young

Confronting Leviathan describes Mozambique’s attempt to construct a socialist society in one African country on the back of an anti-colonial struggle for national independence. In explaining the failure of this effort the authors suggest reasons why the socialist vision of the ruling party, Frelimo, lacked resonance with Mozambican society. They also document in detail South Africa’s attempts to destabilize the country, even to the extent of sponsoring the Renamo insurgents.

Cover of 'Picturing Bushmen'

Picturing Bushmen
The Denver African Expedition of 1925
By Robert J. Gordon

The Denver African Expedition of 1925 sought “the cradle of Humanity.” The explorers returned claiming to have found the “Missing Link” in the Heikum bushmen of the Kalahari—and they proceeded to market this image. As Robert J. Gordon shows in Picturing Bushmen, the impact of the expedition lay not simply in its slick merchandising of bushmen images but also in the fact that the pictures were exotic and aesthetically pleasing.

Cover of 'Transgressing Boundaries'

Transgressing Boundaries
New Directions in the Study of Culture in Africa
Edited by Brenda Cooper and Andrew Steyn

Transgressing Boundaries includes some of the most interesting debates informing cultural politics in South Africa today. To do so, it brings together renowned contributors from Africa, North America and the United Kingdom. The book questions the boundaries between the academic disciplines by incorporating literary studies with anthropology, history, archaeology, art and gender studies.

Cover of 'Forty Lost Years'

Forty Lost Years
The Apartheid State and the Politics of the National Party, 1948 to 1994
By Dan O'Meara

Forty Lost Years is a penetrating analysis of the rise and demise of the National Party’s long and violent rule in South Africa. Building on the author’s earlier study of Afrikaner nationalism (Volkskapitalisme), this pioneering new work is the first attempt to explain the ongoing conflicts inside the National Party in the context of the broader political struggles in and around the apartheid state.

Cover of 'The Ghost of Equality'

The Ghost of Equality
The Public Lives of D. D. T. Jabavu of South Africa, 1885–1959
By Catherine Higgs

Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu was born in the Cape Colony in British southern Africa on October 20, 1885, when a few African men could vote and the prospects for black equality with the ruling whites seemed promising. He died on August 3, 1959, in the Cape Province of the Union of South Africa, eleven years after the apartheid state had begun stripping blacks of their rights and exorcising the 'ghost of equality' with a completeness unparalleled in the country's history.

Cover of 'Mau Mau from Below'

Mau Mau from Below
By Greet Kershaw

John Lonsdale says in his introduction: “This is the oral evidence of the Kikuyu villagers with whom Greet Kershaw lived as an aid worker during the Mau Mau ‘Emergency’ in the 1950s, and which is now totally irrecoverable in any form save in her own field notes.

Cover of 'Katutura: A Place Where We Stay'

Katutura: A Place Where We Stay
Life in a Post-Apartheid Township in Namibia
By Wade C. Pendleton

Katutura, located in Namibia’s major urban center and capital, Windhoek, was a township created by apartheid, and administered in the past by the most rigid machinery of the apartheid era. Namibia became a sovereign state in 1990, and Katutura reflects many of the changes that have taken place. No longer part of a rigidly bounded social system, people in Katutura today have the opportunity to enter and leave as their personal circumstances dictate.

Cover of 'The  African Experience with Higher Education'

The African Experience with Higher Education
By J. F. Ade Ajayi, Lameck K. H. Goma, and G. Ampah Johnson

There have been institutions of higher learning for centuries in Africa, but the phenomenal growth has taken place in the last fifty years, first in the later days of colonialism and then in the heady days of independence and commodity boom. Without them, there would have been no development. The three highly distinguished authors have written the first comprehensive assessment of universities and higher education in Africa south of the Sahara.

Cover of 'Jua Kali Kenya'

Jua Kali Kenya
Change and Development in an Informal Economy, 1970–1995
By Kenneth King

Kenya was where the term “informal sector” was first used in 1971. During the 1980s the term “jua kali”—in Swahili “hot sun”—came to be used of the informal sector artisans, such as carworkers and metalworkers, who were working under the hot sun because of a lack of premises. Gradually it came to refer to anybody in self-employment. And in 1988 the government set up the Jua Kali Development Programme.

Cover of 'The Decolonization of Africa'

The Decolonization of Africa
By David Birmingham

This bold, popularizing synthesis presents a readily accessible introduction to one of the major themes of twentieth-century world history. Between 1922, when self-government was restored to Egypt, and 1994, when nonracial democracy was achieved in South Africa, 54 new nations were established in Africa.