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Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa

Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa

Toyin Falola
Aribidesi Usman
Volume: 40
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 332
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  • Book Info
    Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa
    Book Description:

    Migration, whether forced or voluntary, continues to be an issue vital to Africa, arguably the continent most affected by internal displacement. Over centuries, in groups or as individuals, Africans have been forced to leave their homes to escape unfavor

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-728-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Toyin Falola and Aribidesi Usman
  4. Introduction: Migrations in African History: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-34)
    Aribidesi Usman and Toyin Falola

    Migration has become a continuous phenomenon in the history of human societies. Migration is synonymous with the history of Africa itself. The migration of individuals and groups over time is associated with the emergence of cultures and of civilizations throughout the world. This book establishes the centrality of migrations and movements of people in the historical evolution of African peoples and societies. By making use of different sources—oral, archaeological, and written—and focusing on various subjects and geographical areas, the book shows that migration was a multifaceted phenomenon, which varied in nature and character, over time and in different...

  5. Part A: State Formation and Migration Crossroads

    • 1 Frontier Migrations and Cultural Transformations in the Yoruba Hinterland, ca. 1575–1700: The Case of Upper Osun
      (pp. 37-52)
      Akinwumi Ogundiran

      This essay revisits the “internal African frontier” model proposed by Igor Kopytoff.¹ Archaeological data are applied to test some of the assumptions and propositions of the model, with a focus on an area in the Yoruba hinterland: Upper Osun. Osogbo was one of the frontier communities that evolved in this region between ca. 1575 and 1700 as a result of a combination of many factors: episodes of drought, the thrust of the new imperial age, and the economic opportunities and challenges from the Atlantic coast. Though sandwiched between two competing hegemonic interests—Oyo and Ilesa—the fledgling community of Osogbo...

    • 2 The Root Is Also Here: The Nondiaspora Foundations of Yoruba Ethnicity
      (pp. 53-80)
      Olatunji Ojo

      This chapter is a contribution to the debate on the origin of pan-Yoruba ethnicity. There are two points of view. One is that an age-old ethnic consciousness existed, deriving from the supranational state (Lucumi or Nago) headquartered at Ile-Ife, from which other communities derived their ancestry, related political systems, and linguistic affinities.¹ A more widespread view counters this, tracing the ethnic consciousness to the era of the Atlantic slave trade, when it developed among enslaved Yoruba speakers in the diaspora. This view contends that, until the nineteenth century, Yorubaland was divided into several ethnicities, which underpinned the massive scale of...

    • 3 Settlement Strategies, Ceramic Use, and Factors of Change among the People of Northeast Osun State, Nigeria
      (pp. 81-98)
      Adisa Ogunfolakan

      In an attempt to extend the frontiers of Yoruba archaeology, between 1992 and 1994 I undertook an archaeological survey of northeast Osun State, Nigeria (see figure 3.1) with an emphasis on Ila-Orangun, Oke-Ila, Oyan, Asi, and Iresi, with a view to making the area known archaeologically. Hitherto, the area had been left unexplored by archaeologists. Most work done in southwestern Nigeria has concentrated on Ile-Ife, Benin, Old Oyo, and Owo, with their art works in bronze, terracotta, and wood. In Yorubaland, there are areas other than Ife, Old Oyo, and Owo that are prominent and vital to its history and...

    • 4 Precolonial Regional Migration and Settlement Abandonment in Yorubaland, Nigeria
      (pp. 99-125)
      Aribidesi Usman

      Migrations have been part of human endeavor since humans’ emergence as a species. As Tessie Naranjo put it, “People have moved from place to place and have joined and separated again throughout our past, and we have incorporated it into our songs, stories, and myths because we must continually remember that, without movement, there is no life.”¹ The formation of a cultural group (e.g., family, clan, tribe, ethnic group, nation, state) in the past as well as in the present is the consequence of a dynamic and selective process of aggregation, identification, and differentiation.² Africa has been a “frontier continent”...

    • 5 Migrations, Identities, and Transculturation in the Coastal Cities of Yorubaland in the Second Half of the Second Millennium: An Approach to African History through Architecture
      (pp. 126-150)
      Brigitte Kowalski Oshineye

      Studies of African architecture are rare, and many lacunae remain in the few works in this area. The architecture of African historical centers is in peril, and historical buildings are being destroyed as a result of economic activities, development projects, and land speculation. For example, the majority of the finest historical buildings on Lagos Island have been demolished and replaced by modern towers that reflect the current dynamism of the city.

      Built during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these historical structures, called Afro-Brazilian buildings, are generally associated with colonial architecture. However, on closer examination, the word “colonial” appears justified only...

  6. Part B: Movements and Identities

    • 6 Squatting and Settlement Making in Mamelodi, South Africa
      (pp. 153-165)
      Gerald Steyn

      South Africa’s constitution grants all its citizens the right to decent housing. But the end of apartheid did not stop some of the most visible expressions of segregation—shantytowns. In fact, the explosive growth of illegal squatter settlements on the peripheries of South African cities seems irreversible. Authorities react to the inevitable socioeconomic stress and unhealthy living conditions by building hundreds of thousands of small, identical, freestanding, subsidized houses. This is a questionable policy, due to the costs and sheer numbers of buildings involved, and because such Western-style suburbanism generally perpetuates urban sprawl, as well as social and economic fragmentation....

    • 7 “Scattering Time”: Anticolonial Resistance and Migration among the Jo-Ugenya of Kenya toward the End of the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 166-184)
      Meshack Owino

      There are countless numbers of works on the subject of African resistance to the coming of colonialism,¹ yet only a select few deal with the extent to which resistance changed African demography. Only a few studies focus on the aftermath of African resistance, on the new migration and settlement patterns that emerged during and after colonial resistance. Most works on African resistance to the colonial invasion tend to focus on the preparations for resistance, the nature of resistance movements, and the immediate outcome; they rarely focus on the long-term fortunes of those who were scattered and displaced during resistance. Studies...

    • 8 Traders, Slaves, and Soldiers: The Hausa Diaspora in Ghana (Gold Coast and Asante) in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
      (pp. 185-199)
      Edmund Abaka

      The African diaspora has become a focus of research by Africanists over the past two or so decades. Scholars have tended to equate the trading diaspora in Africa with voluntary migration. However, like the external diaspora, the diaspora in Africa resulted from forced migration as well. Ethnic groups such as the Hausa were involved in both voluntary and forced migration to modern Ghana. In all cases, these diasporic communities—the Yarse, Dyula, Fulani, and Hausa—kept ties with their homelands through extensive networks.¹

      The spread of Islam and Hausa culture has been attributed largely to the religiously inspired political conquests...

    • 9 Ethnic Identities and the Culture of Modernity in a Frontier Region: The Gokwe District of Northwestern Zimbabwe, 1963–79
      (pp. 200-225)
      Pius S. Nyambara

      Prior to the 1950s, the Shangwe provided the sparse population of the Gokwe region of northwestern Zimbabwe. The presence of the tsetse fly and the semiarid conditions of the region had historically precluded settlement by large populations. However, in the post–World War II period, Gokwe experienced a large influx of immigrants, called Madheruka by the indigenous people.¹ There were a number of sources for the immigrants. The first and largest group was composed of between 10,000 and 12,000 “squatters” who were evicted by the state from Rhodesdale Crown Land.² Evictions from crown land were meant to clear the land...

    • 10 Displacement, Migration, and the Curse of Borders in Francophone West Africa
      (pp. 226-237)
      Ghislaine Géloin

      The issues of displacement, migration, and borders in Francophone West Africa will be addressed here by studying The Suns of Independence, the famous novel by Ahmadou Kourouma, from the Ivory Coast, first published in 1968.¹ I will focus almost exclusively on the main character, Fama, a proud and “crazy Malinke,” as people around him perceive him. The issues of displacement, migration, and borders, brought about by colonialism and the first years of independence, are still pertinent today. Borders are part of all kinds of “curses brought by the suns of Independence” (35) and “invented by the devil” (91 ),² along...

    • 11 Shifting Identities among Nigerian Yoruba in Dahomey and the Republic of Benin (1940s–2004)
      (pp. 238-260)
      Jean-Luc Martineau

      In many African cities, immigrants join associations that aim to recreate a social structure reminiscent of their native land or hometown. The size and recruiting areas of these associations depend mostly on the size of the immigrant communities and on the immigration policy, with regard to foreigners, of the country in which they are resident. Cross-border migrations are not necessary for the foundation of such groups, but their usefulness is more apparent when foreign immigrants are concerned. Shifting identities among Nigerian Yoruba in the Republic of Benin (ca. 1940–ca. 2005) raise two questions: To what extent can we identify...

    • 12 Identity, “Foreign-ness,” and the Dilemma of Immigrants at the Coast of Kenya: Interrogating the Myth of “Black Arabs” among Kenyan Africans
      (pp. 261-284)
      Maurice N. Amutabi

      The aim of this study is threefold. First, it is a reevaluation of ethnicity and identity at the coast of Kenya, focusing on the false identity of “Black Arabs” that has been invented among the Swahili people of the coast of Kenya.¹ The study reveals that while there is a copious collection of cultural and social histories with strong indications of ethnic tensions in Kenya, the coast of Kenya has often been seen as homogenous and cohesive. Studies have privileged the records of descendants of Arabs and Muslim archival and written sources, while ignoring the everyday experiences of descendants of...

    • 13 Labor Market Constraints and Competition in Colonial Africa: Migrant Workers, Population, and Agricultural Production in Upper Volta, 1920–32
      (pp. 285-304)
      Issiaka Mande

      People from the French colony of Upper Volta were the major contributors to efforts of the federal government of French West Africa (Afrique occidentale française, or AOF) to develop other colonies in the federation. In a word, the colonial government put them to work. The decision to carve the colony of Upper Volta out of AOF territory coincided with another decision, to extend existing railroads and also build another that crossed the federation.¹ On railway construction sites, Voltaic workers replaced forced labor mobilized from the other colonies that were, in fact, slated to benefit from the projects. Voltaic railroad workers...

  7. List of Contributors
    (pp. 305-308)
  8. Index
    (pp. 309-318)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 319-323)