Africa reading suggestions

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vicent
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Jan 9 2016 23:03
Africa reading suggestions

does anyone have any recommendations of some good texts (preferably detailed, or memoirs of activists) concerning working class history in Africa? (not from libcom, i have already trolled through their stuff)
e.g uprisings, strikes, revolutions, rank and file unions (supposedly there is/was a militant marxist working class in Burkina Faso?)
thankyou

Mark.
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Jan 10 2016 00:01

For Angola I'd definitely recommend In the Name of the People by Lara Pawson.

Quote:
On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola - led to the slaughter of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people. These dreadful reprisals are little talked of in Angola today - and virtually unknown outside the country. In this book, journalist Lara Pawson tracks down the story of what really happened in the aftermath of that fateful day. In a series of vivid encounters, she talks to eyewitnesses, victims and even perpetrators of the violent and confusing events of the 27th May and the following weeks and months. From London to Lisbon to Luanda, she meets those who continue to live in the shadow of the appalling events of 40 years ago and who - in most cases - have been too afraid to speak about them before...

Review here

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James MacBryde
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Jan 10 2016 03:39
Quote:
On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola - led to the slaughter of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people.

Not sure this can be classified as a working class uprising, strike or revolution but possibly a rank and file union demonstration suppressed with a massacre. A scenario littered throughout modern African history. I presume the union leadership were not present as it may now figure in Angolan history.

The instances of African working class insurrection that immediately spring to my mind are in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt in recent times. If that interests you I can direct you to texts.

vicent
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Jan 11 2016 05:56

thanks Mark ill try and get my hands on a PDF it looks very interesting
thankyou james but i think i have read about those already, i guess im specifically looking for incidents in east, central and west africa

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James MacBryde
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Jan 11 2016 07:56
Quote:
im specifically looking for incidents in east, central and west africa

OK vicent, East, West and Central Africa but not South and North. I've got it; I will trawl through the vaults and see what I can come up with.

baboon
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Jan 11 2016 13:39

http://en.internationalism.org/series/1895

Part one of a five-part series on the class struggle in Africa uses classified French documentation to show the strength of class struggle here and the bourgeoisie's response to it. The series goes through the two world wars and ends with Senegal in 1968. Valuable stuff.

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gram negative
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Jan 11 2016 16:46

here's a couple that I have in my collection but haven't read yet:

Jonathan Crush - The Struggle for Swazi Labor 1890-1920
Bettie Du Toit - Ukubamba Amadolo: Workers' Struggles in the South African Textile Industry
Bill Freund - The African Worker
Richard Jeffries - Class, Power, and Ideology in Ghana: The Railwaymen of Sekondi
Tabitha Kanogo - Squatters & the Roots of Mau Mau

Mark.
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Jan 12 2016 19:21
James MacBryde wrote:
Quote:
On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola - led to the slaughter of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people.

Not sure this can be classified as a working class uprising, strike or revolution but possibly a rank and file union demonstration suppressed with a massacre.

It was more about a factional dispute within the MPLA related to racial and class divisions. Here's an article by Lara Pawson on her reasons for writing the book.

Edit: An earlier article by Lara Pawson on the 27 de Maio

Video with Lara Pawson and Gika Tetembwa talking about the 27 de Maio

Also a TV interview with Lara Pawson for any Portuguese speakers. The book has been translated and published in Portugal as Em Nome do Povo - O massacre que Angola silenciou.

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gram negative
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Jan 11 2016 20:52

Also thought of these two:

Ercument Celik - Street Traders: A Bridge Between Trade Unions and Social Movements in Contemporary South Africa
Jeff Crisp - The Story of an African Working Class: Ghanaian Miners' Struggles, 1870-1980

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Sike
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Jan 12 2016 00:32

I've not read this,and not sure if it counts specifically as a working-class history in the same vein of some of the suggestions here, but it looks like it might be an interesting read dealing as it does not only with the guerrilla war against the white Rhodesian rule but also in regards to the factional struggle within the broader movement against white rule.

Re-living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe - Fey Chung

Quote:
This retrospective offers a first hand account on internal conflicts in ZANU during the 1970s, which resulted in the defeat of its left wing. Chung's narratives include her experiences in two guerrilla camps. She recalls her encounters with the charismatic Josiah Tongogara, a legendary military commander during Zimbabwe's liberation war (known as the ©second chimurenga), who died at the threshold to Independence. The personal recollection of a transition to national sovereignty concludes with an incisive analysis of developments after Independence. It ends with Chung's vision for the Zimbabwe of the future. Fay Chung served within the Ministry of Education in post-colonial Zimbabwe for a total of fourteen years, at the end as the Minister of Education and Culture. Her autobiographical account has the childhood experiences in colonial Rhodesia as a point of departure. Like many other Zimbabwean intellectuals she joined the liberation struggle. From the mid-1970s she worked within the ZANU-organised educational sphere.

There is a short review of the book here

vicent
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Jan 12 2016 08:37

no worries james we all make mistakes, just make sure you have something good by friday...

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James MacBryde
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Jan 12 2016 10:08

vicent:

Quote:
no worries james we all make mistakes, just make sure you have something good by friday...

No pressure then

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James MacBryde
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Jan 16 2016 11:26

http://libcom.org/history/workers-movement-africa

Mlsm
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Jan 16 2016 14:49

Hi there,
there is the book by Sam Mbah (militant of Awareness League in Nigeria) "African Anarchism: history of a movement". If I'm right, you can find it on libcom.
bye!