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Reactions To Colonialism In Southern Africa: Some Historiographical Reflections

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Chapter Summary

Indigenous responses to colonialism were shaped by a variety of factors, from the environment in which they occurred to the way in which colonial rule was imposed and the nature and strength of the settler regime. The so-called Africanist approach was an outcome both of the decolonisation process then taking place elsewhere in Africa. 1960 was the most important year for the coming of independence to tropical Africa and of the related rise of African history as a discipline, both in tropical Africa and outside Africa. One of the first fruits of the new approach was a detailed study of the rising of 1915 in what is now Malawi. Then an historian, Leonard Thompson, and an anthropologist, Monica Wilson, who had been colleagues at the University of Cape Town, jointly took the lead in assembling a new history of South Africa from an Africanist perspective.

Keywords: Africanist approach; colonialism; historiographical reflection; indigenous people; Leonard Thompson; southern Africa



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