Mediations of Violence in Africa

Fashioning New Futures from Contested Pasts
Editor(s): ,
Contributor(s): , , , , ,
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Dimensions and Pages: 230 x 150 mm, 272 pp
  • EAN: 9781868145294
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 100.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): n/a

This book analyses the violence of recent African wars from the perspectives of people who experienced and witnessed them. Central to it are the words of (male) Somali poets, Zulu singers, impoverished Kenyan youth, and white South African war veterans, as well as men and women trying to refashion their lives and relationships in post-war Mozambique and Rwanda.

Two of the six chapters engage with South African mediations of violence. Liz Gunner explores the ways in which song and performance in the a capella genre of the isicathamiya mediate a complex cocktail of social and psychological violence in post-1994 KwaZulu-Natal. The songs disturb memories of ideas of masculinity and militarism; they imagine an active, modern, moral, and glamorous male citizenship for the men of the ‘New South Africa’. Diana Gibson introduces the army kitbag (balsak) as a metaphor for the painful and dark memories of veterans of the border war with Angola in the apartheid state, who experienced deep psychological, social, interpersonal, political and historical disconnectedness as a result of the fighting. For some the narration of their memories and experiences has become a step towards re-establishing their connectedness and finding healing.

The mediations that are presented are moving, informative, and also highly political. They conceptualize and contextualize violence and experiences of violence in very revealing ways. The authors use their (inter-) disciplinary strengths as scholars to draw out what they feel are the most significant aspects of these African interpretations and commentaries. Purposefully inter-disciplinary and geographically wide-ranging, this volume brings together scholarly approaches ranging from cultural and medical anthropology, social/cultural history, to cultural and performance studies

Lidwien Kapteijns is Professor of History at Wellesley College, USA. Annemiek Richters, physician and medical anthropologist, is Professor of Culture, Health and Illness at Leiden University Medical Centre and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Lidwien Kapteijns and Annemiek Richters

Chapter 1. Lidwien Kapteijns: Mogadishu in Somali
poetic mediations of civil war violence

Chapter 2. Liz Gunner: Fathers, sons and citizens: Violence,
masculinities and the Isicathamiya performances of the
New South African Era (Uhlel’ Olusha)

Chapter 3. Naomi van Stapele: Maisha Bora, Kwa Nani? A Cool Life,
For Whom? Grasping mediations of masculinity, ethnic
identity and violence in a Nairobi slum

Chapter 4. Victor Igreja: Testimonies of suffering and recasting
the meanings of memories of violence in post-war

Chapter 5. Annemiek Richters: Suffering and healing in the
aftermath of war and genocide in Rwanda: Mediations
through community-based sociotherapy

Chapter 6. Diana Gibson: ‘The balsak in the roof’: ‘Bush war’
experiences and mediations as related by white South
African conscripts

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