This paper follows on from recent contributions I have made to the problem of the nature of history as conceived of by the Asante. Here I am concerned with the issues surrounding consciousness of the past as history, memory and/or un- knowing. The core of the paper, from which broader arguments are teased out, is a detailed treatment of the richly documented but somewhat neglected ritual per- formance of ‘the dance of death’ (tͻprɛ). If the paper has an underpinning it is the thought that African history as lived, experienced and thought about by Africans needs to be grounded anew in an approach that eschews the paradigms imposed by western historiography and ethnography. Simply, I call for deep and sustained long-term research into speci c African cultures like Asante, so as to unravel the complexities bound together in and by certainty and uncertainty.
keywords: asante, dance, death, african history, oral traditions; tͻprɛ
Focusing on an unpublished ajami manuscript written in Hausa by Mallam Abu in 1914, this article analyses the story of Samori Touré with an African view. The translation from Hausa to French of this manuscript provides an insight of the arrival of the colonization in West Africa. Based on archival investigations, this article presents the historical and intellectual context of the manuscript. It also gives literary analyses on the formulaic style and repetitions of this original source, which describes Samori Touré both as guilty and heroic.
keywords : hausa, mallam abu, samori touré, colonial history
This paper reconstructs the genealogy of William Wadé Harris’ movement in Ghana, discussing the interaction of ideas, religious traditions, political con- straints and personal agency. My aim is twofold: to underline continuities between African Independent churches, Missionary churches, Pentecostal churches and traditional religion, on the one hand, and to illustrate the recurrent dialectic between rupture and continuity.
keywords: religious movement, ghana, african independent churches, fetish, william wadé harris
Stool and land disputes are important issues in the life of Ghanaian chieftaincies, and the written records of the arbitrations carried out by the customary institutions offer rich material about Traditional Areas and the local ruling families and their internal structure of ‘royal’ and ‘plebeian’ matrilines. Litigation between families competing for a stool have been going on for generations, and the records show that the correct knowledge of the stool’s history is a crucial mark of legitimacy. Through the analysis of a case concerning the stool of Bonyere, Western Nzema Traditional Area (Jomoro District, Western Region), the author aims to show how the internal structure of families may be revealed during litigation through the narration of historical tradition, and what this source can reveal about broader social and political dynamics.
keywords: akan, nzema, chieftaincy, pawnship, slavery
Cycles of Mobilisation, Waves of Unrest: Ethiopian Labour Movement History
Samuel Andreas Admasie
The history of the Ethiopian labour movement appears in the shape of repeated cyclical movements in levels of mobilisation. In contrast with the static depiction dominating the literature on the movement, this article examines how Ethiopian wage-workers have, over the past six decades, acquired, relinquished and redeveloped the collective coherence and organisational capacities to engage in sustained collective action, the strategic orientation and willingness to do so, and the resilience to fend off sustained counter-mobilization. The article discusses how the history of the Ethiopian labour movement is deeply entangled with, and mutually constitutive of, historical shifts in wage labour relations, and the struggle over these relations. In doing so it suggests a reciprocal relationship between Ethiopian workers’ achievements and strategic orientation. At the heart of the article is the notion of historical agency, which Ethiopian workers acting collectively have exhibited to a degree that is underappreciated in the literature. keywords: workers; labour movements; trade unions; strikes; labour relations
Onomastica del contatto italo-eritreo
The linguistic-cultural contact between the Italian language and the different endogenous codes of Eritrea can be described as prolonged and bilateral, despite being at the same time characterized by heterogeneity, asymmetry and top-down dynamics. The re ections of this contact on the repertoire of proper names, which can be present or absent depending on the historical or cultural setting, prove the complexity of the socio-cultural representations naturally developed by the speakers as well as the motivations connected to the language planning choices made by the political élite. Founded on eld research, and also on written and oral sources, this contribution aims to propose some onomastic paradigms useful to interpret, both in a diachronic and synchronic perspective, the articulate and multifaceted effects of the contact between Eritrean and Italian languages mainly in the area of Asmara, but also in the whole Eritrean territory, as well as the retroactive impacts on Italian onomastics.
keywords: italian; contact; linguistic landscape; onomastics.
Rassegna / Review article
John Burton Kegel
Recensioni / Reviews
Yves Person, Stuart Doran