Médias, propagande, nationalismes: La filiation symbolique dans les chants de propagande : Robert Mugabe et Mbuya Nehanda, Ahmed Sékou Touré et Samory Touré

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From the beginning of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s, despite the extreme difference of the political context, Ahmed Sékou Touré (in Guinea-Conakry, which just obtained its independence) and Robert Mugabe (who was involved in a guerrilla against Rhodesia’s government) imagined two strategies of symbolic filiation quite similar in propaganda songs. At the radio or in the fields, listened collectively or alone, those songs compared their political leader to an ancestral figure: Samory Touré and Mbuya Nehanda, who were, both of them, fighters against the colonization. The aim of this article is to delineate the process of legitimation illustrated in those texts, and the “imagined communities” induced by the name of those founding fathers.

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RÉSUMÉ Ce texte analyse, au ras du sol, la représentation de l’effondrement du régime socialiste en Guinée à l’aide de textes écrits sur place au début des années 1980, soit restés inédits soit édités à faible tirage. Ce choix de l’ancrage local et des publications locales permet de documenter sur le vif les stratégies d’écriture des Guinéens, face à un régime en pleine déréliction. Abdoulaye Fanyé Touré, Fatima Barry, Commandant Kaba 41, entre autres, ont choisi pour le décrire des stratégies d’écritures variées, manifestant ainsi la complexité des rapports entretenus entre les intellectuels et le pouvoir. Ces versants de la production littéraire et culturelle interrogent le rôle des fictions et de leur rapport au fait politique: d’une part, les fictions servent bien sûr la construction de l’utopie socialiste, en étant un vecteur de propagande particulièrement fort et toujours populaire aujourd’hui, d’autre part, elles ont été un moyen d’effectuer une satire de la dictature, parfois extrêmement féroce, en dénonçant régulièrement les crimes commis notamment dans le Camp Boiro. Cette double articulation constituera nos deux axes de réflexion sur la littérature en contexte d’oppression.
'Imagined Communities' examines the creation & function of the 'imagined communities' of nationality & the way these communities were in part created by the growth of the nation-state, the interaction between capitalism & printing & the birth of vernacular languages in early modern Europe.
The controversial legacy of Sékou Touré, “hero” of the independence Sékou Touré, the charismatic leader of Guinea between 1958 and 1984, fostered a political myth in which he occupied the position of hero of the independence and father of the nation. The common phrase “Guinea-Sékou Touré” thus illustrated the imagined similarity between his own personal fate and the country’s destiny. However, Sékou Touré has never been universally commemorated in complimentary terms : alongside the official ideology promoted under his rule and after his death, other actors propagated representations which challenged this image of the leader and questioned the national and political myth he embodied. As a result of these contradictory memories Sékou Touré has become a deeply ambiguous figure, who might be either hero and tyrant.
The rising of the Ndebele and southwestern and central Shona people against colonial rule in the 1890s has become one of the classic cases of such resistance. Yet, since the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, very little fresh research has been carried out on the subject. This paper re-examines the role of Shona religious authorities in the rising, especially that of the medium of the Nehanda spirit of the Mazowe valley in the central Shona area. In just over a century, the figure of “Mbuya Nehanda” has become the best-known popular symbol of resistance to colonial rule in modern Zimbabwe. She has been commemorated since 1980 in statues, street names, a hospital, posters, songs, novels, and poems, and is soon to be the subject of a full-length feature film. This paper examines the historical basis behind the legend. This legend runs as follows: the historical “Nehanda” was supposed to have been the daughter of the founding ancestor of the Mutapa dynasty, who lived in the fifteenth century. Her ritual incest with her brother Matope gave supernatural sanction to the power of the Mutapa state. After her death, she became a mhondoro spirit, and this spirit possessed a number of mediums ( masvikiro , singular svikiro ). During periods of possession by the spirit, the svikiro was regarded as speaking with the voice and personality of the original Nehanda and not with her own. In the last part of the nineteenth century one medium, Charwe, was responsible for the organization of resistance to the government of the British South Africa Company and the settlers in the Mazowe valley, and in particular for the killing of H.H. Pollard, Kunyaira , the extremely oppressive Native Commissioner of the area. This resistance began in June 1896, and from then until her capture in late 1897 the Nehanda medium was a major factor in the war. Tried and sentenced to death in March 1898, she refused to convert to Christianity and struggled right up to the moment when she was hanged.
During the independence era in West Africa (1958-1984) many nations embarked on ambitious programs aimed at rejuvenating their traditional arts. These programs were realised through new cultural policies such as authenticité, with music being a prime focus. In the 1960s West African governments created dozens of orchestras throughout the region. They paid the musicians a salary, bought them musical instruments, and instructed them to "look at the past" for inspiration. Herein lies the foundation for such famous orchestras as Bembeya Jazz and the Super Rail Band, groups who were at the centre of a cultural renaissance which inspired the whole continent. This book examines the major orchestras and musicians of the independence era, and explains the role of the government and griots in the creation of the new musical styles. The text is supported through biographies of musicians, descriptions of traditional musical instruments, and extensive discographies of African recordings.
H. Memel-Fote — From the Founding Ancestors to the Fathers of the Nation : Introduction to an Anthropology of Democracy. The heroes of independence have three types of ancestors in the time of regional modernity, that of the mythical demiurges who created the cosmos and were God's missionaries in creating the social order, that of the historical rulers either politicians who founded closed democracies, or kings who were gods as in ancient Greece. In the time of Worldwide modernity, the heroes of independence founded the Nation as a political community of free persons with equal rights. They are the Fathers of the Nation owing to their legendary birth through a twofold, African and European, initiation. By claiming to control history, they control a sociogene-sis of a mechanistic sort, in line with a philosophy of development based on the conquest of peasant society and its environment. To this end, they have resorted to single-party Systems, dogmatic discourses and violence. The results have been material achievements and failures, cultural anomie, the formai institutions of an open democracy, etc. But a crisis has occurred : the political (not the physical) slaying of the Father of the Nation. Whereas military parricide reproduces the organic society and its contradictions, civilian parricide (since 1990 through popu-lar uprisings, national conferences or pluralisme elections) has opened a space for a contractual society and an authentic democracy founded on a philosophy of nego-tiation, which must renew not only the society's internai relations but also its relations with the cosmic environment.
The Literary Field. This text, the theoretical summary of extensive empirical research, puts forward the foundations of a method of analysis of cultural works, and more especially, here, of literary works. There are three stages : analysis of the position of the field of cultural production within the field of power (which here leads one to clarify the ambiguous position of conservative intellectuals, who are temporally dominant but symbolically dominated, within a space that is itself dominated) ; analysis of the structure and functioning of the literary field itself ; and finally, analysis of the trajectories of writers within this spaces. The literary field, being relatively autonomous, is shaped by the competition between two independant and even antagonistic principles of hierarchization : an internal principle -the symbolic capital associated with peer recognition- and an external principle - the economic and political capital accruing from wordly success. It is the site of constant struggles, not least over the conditions of participation in the struggle, i.e. over the limits of the field itself. Contrary to the neo-Marxist view (of Lukacs or Goldman), which directly relates the space of literary works to the social space as a whole, or the neo-Hegelian view (of Tynianov or Foucault), which gives complete autonomy to the System of works, seen as evolving over time in accordance with its own logic, it is the field, unterstood as a space of positions, which countains the principle of the space of
The pervasive co-ordinating role of the Mwari cult in the Rhodesian risings of 1896–7 is illusory. The cult does not appear to have been linked with the Rozvi empire, the attempts to recreate which Ranger saw as one of the objectives of the priesthood in 1896. The priests were Venda from south of the Limpopo, who had arrived in the Matopos during the middle third of the nineteenth century, and who were for the most part out of action during the risings. The Ndebele did not succumb to cult influence, not even between March and July 1896, but maintained their previous coolness towards the priests. They were led all along by their own chiefs who, in June 1896, made Nyamanda king in succession to Lobengula. This and the wish to drive away the Europeans were the inspirations behind the Ndebele rising. The Shona and Sotho groups who rose with the Ndebele in March came in as allies of the kingdom rather than as minions of the cult. The Shona who rose in June did so not in answer to cult bidding, but in response to European pressures and the opportunity provided by European difficulties in Matabeleland. They also were led by their chiefs. A major theme of the risings is disunity and fragmentation, with the Ndebele fighting a civil war, and some important Shona chiefs collaborating with the British South Africa Company. The Ndebele fell short of a united strategy, as to an even greater extent did the Shona: there was certainly no strategic linkage of the two risings. Not only have the co-ordinating roles of Mkwati and Kaguvi been exaggerated, but their places respectively in Ndebele and Shona society have been misunderstood. They were local figures subordinate to local political structures rather than purveyors of a forward-looking millenarianism. Both the Ndebele and Shona fought to preserve existing institutions and alliance structures. It is above all fallacious to seek in the events of those years a surge of Zimbabwean nationalism or proto-nationalism, which was only to develop this century.
Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention - the creation of Welsh and Scottish ‘national culture’; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study of ritual and symbolism which poses new questions for the understanding of our history. © E. J. Hobsbawm, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Prys Morgan, David Cannadine, Bernard S. Cohn, Terence Ranger. 1983.
This collective volume reinterprets the genre of resistance studies, introduces recent conceptual perspectives and considers examples of African (civil) wars and insurgent movements. Contributions: Rethinking resistance in African history, an introduction, by Klaas van Walraven and Jon Abbink. Part I (Historical perspectives): Resistance to Fulbe hegemony in nineteenth-century West Africa, by Mirjam de Bruijn and Han van Dijk; Colonial conquest in central Madagascar: who resisted what?, by Stephen Ellis; Revisiting resistance in Italian-occupied Ethiopia: the Patriots' Movement (1936-1941) and the redefinition of post-war Ethiopia, by Aregawi Berhe. Part 2 (Social inequalities and colonial hierarchies): Ambiguities of resistance and collaboration on the Eastern Cape Frontier: the Kat River Settlement 1829-1856, by Robert Ross; African mutinies in the Netherlands East Indies: a nineteenth-century colonial paradox, by Ineke van Kessel; Absence of evidence is no proof: slave resistance under German colonial rule in East Africa, by Jan-Georg Deutsch. Part 3 (Violence, meaning and ideology in resistance): The Kawousan War reconsidered, by Kimba Idrissa; 'Sawaba''s rebellion in Niger (1964-1965): narrative and meaning, by Klaas van Walraven; The vagaries of violence and power in post-colonial Mozambique, by Gerhard Seibert. Part 4 (Resistance as heritage and memory): Herero genocide in the twentieth century: politics and memory, by Jan-Bart Gewald; 'Namibia, land of the brave': selective memories on war and violence within nation building, by Henning Melber; Dervishes, 'moryaan' and freedom fighters: cycles of rebellion and the fragmentation of Somali society, 1900-2000, by Jon Abbink
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