Category Archives: Decolonization

The Cinema of African Decolonization: Lumumba (HUM303/415/455/470)

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:

Decolonization (ContCult)

Patrice Lumumba shortly before his murder.

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.

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Notes on Apartheid (HUM415)

In lieu of a mini-lecture on South African apartheid, here are my notes. Be advised these are very spare.

Roughly 75 percent of the population are Black. Bantu speakers are the largest language group. Others: Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho-Tswane. Less than 15 percent of pop. is white (Dutch and British descent). 3 percent Asian (primarily Indian). The remainder, 9 percent, are “colored”– ie. mixed.

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