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Fears And Fantasies In Northern Rhodesia, 1950–1960

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Chapter Summary

Based on research in the National Archives of Zambia and the United Kingdom, this chapter explores the manner in which public rumour played out in late-colonial Northern Rhodesia. Luise White's Speaking with Vampires included a series of articles that dealt with African articulations of the metaphysical in east and central African history. The chapter talks about the origins of these 'stories' and with the reasons for this belief in the make believe. It seeks not to separate out African beliefs in the metaphysical from European beliefs in the make believe, choosing instead to see both as two sides of the same coin, where one group's fears were another's aspirations. For colonial administrators operating with but a partial overview of contemporary life in Northern Rhodesia, the ever-increasing mention of Mau Mau in police and intelligence reports triggered fears and fantasies that owed more to developments abroad than in the colony.

Keywords: African beliefs; colonial authorities; European beliefs; Mau Mau; metaphysical level; Northern Rhodesia; Speaking with Vampires



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