HI260 To what extent is the writing of African history Africanist in contemporary environment?

History is the study of events which happened in the past. Africans history was ignored, instead it was asserted that, there was only the history of Europeans in Africa. “Africans constituted a blank darkness and darkness was no suitable subject of history.”[1] Africans history was written in a Euro centric way, this colonial historiography presented the Europeans as the main actor in any significant transformation of the African continent since its discovery.
It would have been impossible a generation or so ago to write the history of Africanist history. There was simply nothing to talk about. Institutions which were allegedly concerned with the teaching of Africanist history had very little to profess.[2]
Liberal historiography sought to help Africans recover and reclaim their own histories in consonance with the attainment of political independence into distinguish the history of Europeans in Africa from the history of Africans people. So the writing of African history Africanist in contemporary environment can be discussed below.
            In writing African history, the Africanist historians, methodologically they developed the field of oral history and appropriated and extended the range of questions to be asked concerning social change by social anthropologists. The favorite theme of the period was African resistance and its opposite, the dyad of resistance and oppression.[3]
            The contemporary African history researched and written by Africans themselves. Example, research on Samori Toure was done by Yves Person, the Majimaji war of Tanganyika was led by John Illife and Gilbert Gwassa, on Chimurenga war in Southern Rhodesia by T.O Ranger, and on the Herero Nama revolt in Namibia by Helmut Bley.[4] At least this was the Africans History.
            The writing of African history Africanist thought to explicate the explanatory value of African History as a discipline, as a reason, the Dar es salaam school of history was created under T.O Ranger. The reason for this school was to give Tanzanians its national History, also to engage in debates relating to building of Ujamaa socialism. Also debates were conducted, between the liberal and the radical. The radicals traced the history of African poverty in the global capitalism. (NewBury 1998;304)
            Currently Africans history is written to favor the Africans themselves. The new departments of history established the teaching of  African rather than Europeans history at the core of curriculum with a full commitment of  learning through an African faculty.
            The acceptance of oral traditions in writing history, input academic history in contact with the wider society.
            “This input  brought academic history in contact with the wider society and help to build links with the academy and the public over a period of twenty years before funds of universities dried up.”[5]
So the input of oral traditions contemporary have a great contribution in getting the African history.
            The contemporary African history is written about Africans history. The studies of the Atlantic slave trade on Africans economy, demographics and development, comparative slavery in East Africa coast and in the new world and the slow death of slavery in 20th century Africa. The historical study of  Africans religion, Christian missionary, independent Africans Christians and Africans traditional religions. All pre colonial Africa lived and controlled their environment.[6]
            The contemporary Africans history discuss the global agenda of women role in economic development, something which was less important in Euro centric way of writing history. Beginning with Africa as a predominantly agricultural continent where between 65 and 80 percent of Africans women were engaged in cultivating food for their families. The centrarity of agriculture influences the control of land and labor by kin groups and clans, usually represented by male political and religious leadership. Africa had a high incidence of matrilineal descent, a social system that placed woman and her female relations at the centre of kinship and family. Though male clan leaders influenced the arrangement of  families through marriage. Women used a variety of roots to  exercise authority. Some times they adviced male rulers and served as co-rulers regents.
            Africans historiography has moved from the institutional to the economic then the social and now cultural history. The insight of history, political economy, historical anthropology, literary studies and other forms of social sciences imagination, the construction of identity, the colonization of  consciousness colonial texts and transcripts as social practice.
            “Experience identity and self expression which link the  glories of past independence , the miseries of domination and poverty and hopes a fully autonomous future.”[7]
            In general beyond the historian’s guild the twentieth century has witnessed the production of  popular historical literature in Africa, produced locally, often in non- western languages  by individuals and collectivities believing in their past , giving themselves their own histories which tell of those pasts , and which have meaning , authority and significance for the local populations .The recognition of this popular work  compels a movement from narrow understandings  about the nature of history, historical evidence , and what should constitute other peoples’ histories.   [ Cohen 1994 ] One is led to multiple sites of historical telling:  the song,  praise poetry, the allegory in the folktale , the silences in the memory of the past, for example. There has been a continuous production of the oral histories of Africa  , captured in the rendition that ” we live our lives as a tale that is told ” [ Hofmeyr 1994] . At the same time, the advent of literacy has led to the proliferation of  the realm of the written world. Vernacular authors have sought to give their peoples a history. The first generation of Africa’s modern men in the twentieth century appropriated the knowledge of the organic intellectuals of the previous century by bridging the gap between orality and literacy through publication. The foundations for this genre were laid early in the century by Apolo Kagwa in eastern Africa and  Samuel Johnson in west Africa.[ Kiwanuka 1970, Ajayi 1998 ] They collected the oral traditions of their clans and kingdoms and in so doing created a master narrative for the Baganda and the Yoruba. In terms of method  they occupied a fairly modern terrain. They interviewed knowledgeable informants, custodians of shrines , court historians and keepers of clan lores. Fifty years later the academy—Jan Vansina in the 1950s and B. A. Ogot in the 1960s—travelled along the same path, interviewing individual encyclopaedic informants, holding formal sessions with court historians and clan elders, as well as reading the missionary and colonial archives to arrive at a history of theKuba or the Luo that accommodated every major lineage, or left enough room for the malleable accommodation of more recent incorporations into the putative genealogy of all Kuba or all Luo. [Cohen & Odhiambo 1987 ] Johnson’s work has spawned a century of Yoruba Historiography .[ Falola 1991 ] Kagwa’s work has influenced western  scholarship in the fields of history , anthropology  and religion in the region  for a century, and spawned a specific Ganda historiography that continues to thrive. [ Reid 1997 ] Critiques of these canons have emerged with revisionist interpretations. In the Great Lakes areas historiography has moved from the original diffusionist conquest model— the Hamitic myth— into a concern with  ecological change ,and the contextualisation of struggles over authority and wealth. [ Schoenbrun  1999,Willis 1999].[8]
           
written by;


MAKOBA DAUD
KISUKA SOPHIA
MKINDI AMINA G
KITALULA ABUBAKARI






REFERENCE
E. Odhiambo (1977) Re Introducing People Without Historiographies. Rice University.
                                                                           
P.Curtin (1969). The Atlantic Slave Trade. University of Winsconsin Press.

H. Roper (1966). The rise of Christian Europe. Themes and Hudson

B.Ogot, Three Decades of Historical Studies in East Africa 1949 – 1977, The Pan Africanist

P.cooper (1994). Reward Paper Back. Pocket books.





[1] H. Roper (1966). The rise of Christian Europe. Themes and Hudson
[2] B.Ogot, Three Decades of Historical Studies in East Africa 1949 – 1977, The Pan Africanist
[3] P.cooper (1994). Reward Paper Back. Pocket books.
[4] E. Odhiambo (1977) Re Introducing People Without Historiographies. Rice University.
[5] E. Odhiambo (1977) Re Introducing People Without Historiographies. Rice University.
[6] P.Curtin (1969). The Atlantic Slave Trade. University of Winsconsin Press.
[7] E. Odhiambo (1977) Re Introducing People Without Historiographies. Rice University.

[8] E. Odhiambo (1977) Re Introducing People Without Historiographies. Rice University.

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