Bondage of Boundaries and Identity Politics in Postcolonial Africa
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Bondage of Boundaries and Identity Politics in Postcolonial Africa

The 'Northern Problem' and Ethno-Futures

Edited by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatshenoi, Brilliant Mhlanga

What has confounded African efforts to create cohesive, prosperous and just states in postcolonial Africa? What has been the long-term impact of the Berlin Conference of 1884-5 on African unity and African statehood? Why is postcolonial Africa haunted by various ethno national conflicts? Is secession and irredentism the solution? Can we talk of ethno-futures for Africa? These are the kinds of fundamental questions that this important book addresses. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Brilliant Mhlanga's book introduces the metaphor of the 'northern problem' to dramatise the fact that there is no major African postcolonial state that does not enclose within its borders a disgruntled minority that is complaining of marginalization, domination and suppression. The irony is that in 1963 at the formation of the OAU, postcolonial African leaders embraced the boundaries arbitrarily drawn by European colonialists and institutionalised the principle of inviolability of 'bondage of boundaries' thereby contributing to the problem of ethno-national conflicts. The successful struggle for independence of the Eritrean people and the secession of South Sudan in 2011 have encouraged other dominated and marginalised groups throughout Africa to view secession as an option. Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Mhlanga successfully assembled competent African scholars to deal exhaustively with various empirical cases of ethno-national conflicts throughout the African continent as well as engaging with such pertinent issues as Pan-Africanism as a panacea to these problems. This important book delves deeper into complex issues of space, languages, conflict, security, nation-building, war on terror, secession, migration, citizenship, militias, liberation, violence and Pan-Africanism.

ISBN 9780798303910 | 398 pages | 244 x 170 mm | B/W Illustrations | 2013 | Africa Institute of South Africa, South Africa | Paperback

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About the Editors

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatshenoi

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatshenoi is Head of the Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI) based at the University of South Africa and Professor in the Department of Development Studies at the same university. He has taught in universities in Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and South Africa and has published extensively on African history and politics. He is the author of Do ‘Zimbabweans’ Exist? Trajectories of Nationalism, National Identity Formation and Crisis in a Postcolonial State (Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), co-editor of Redemptive or Grotesque Nationalism? Rethinking Contemporary Politics in Zimbabwe (Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang, 2011) and author of Empire, Global Coloniality and African Subjectivity (New York: Berghahn Books, 2013).

Brilliant Mhlanga

Brilliant Mhlanga holds a PhD. in Media and Communication from the University of Westminster. He is a Lecturer in Media Cultures (Department of Mass Media and Communication), University of Hertfordshire, and is an Associate Researcher in the Africa Media Centre housed at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster, London.

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