I know you’re busy, but you might make the time to read this comment piece by Seamus Milne on the self-serving revisionist adoration of Mandela. Those who’ve read Ferey’s Zulu might be particularly interested:
Airbrushed out of the Mandela media story has been the man who launched a three-decade-long armed struggle after non-violent avenues had been closed; who declared in his 1964 speech from the dock that the only social system he was tied to was socialism; who was reported by the ANC-allied South African Communist party this week to have been a member of its central committee at the time of his arrest; and whose main international supporters for 30 years were the Soviet Union and Cuba.
It has barely been mentioned in the past few days, but Mandela supported the ANC’s armed campaign of sabotage, bombings and attacks on police and military targets throughout his time in prison. Veterans of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC’s armed wing, emphasise that the military campaign was always subordinate to the political struggle and that civilians were never targeted (though there were civilian casualties).
For students of HUM455 Lumumba can be seen as the dramatization of the long term consequences of the Haitian Revolution as narrated by CLR James. Both Patrice Lumumba and Toussaint L’Ouverture were key figures in the struggle to attain independence, liberty, and dignity for their countries against colonialism.
For students of HUM303 Raoul Peck’s film represents the beginning of the end of the partitioning of Africa that we’ve been discussing in reference to King Solomon’s Mines.
For students of HUM 470, here is an example of a “biopic” that melds individual and national development. Collective and personal fortunes are closely linked.
For students of HUM415, this film represents the pre-history of the period we’re studying. Decolonization was a chain of events of world-historical significance.
Here’s the trailer:
Today we started with a photograph (Eugene Hoshiko/ AP) from the UK Guardian which I thought could tell us something about the condition of the contemporary era:
Rather than lecture at you on Wednesday about the history of Zimbabwe, I’ve decided we’ll screen a documentary on the decolonization of Africa. On Friday we’ll learn something about Zimbabwe specifically, and discuss the opening chapters of Nervous Conditions.
The film I have in mind for Wednesday is episode 7 (“The Rise of Nationalism”) of Basil Davidson‘s Africa: A Voyage of Discovery (1984). In it you’ll see some of the major players of the independence struggle, including Amilcar Cabral, the tragic figure of Patrice Lumumba, and a younger, even-toned Robert Mugabe.
Al Jazeera is running a series of short films on African Decolonization, noting that 2010 is the 50th anniversary of the independence of 17 African nations: