Social change in colonial Africa – taking stock of colonial impact so far and looking at the
responses to it – what was the nature of the colonial situation? How can you turn the
colonial situation to your advantage?
Vanocelin – more socio/cultural take on the situation
Achebe – compares old precolonial ways of being and doing to a changing colonial situation
and the ways in which it begins to inform the lives of people and the shifts people
Colonial situation impact people’s lives on various levels –some situations dire, some are
the result of calculated moves as a result of the colonial situation. As a result of choices that
they make to inhabit certain spaces and inhabit certain ideologies. Congregates around the
movement of ideas and people, and what they encounter in that process.
Explore the many ways in which the colonial process introduces ingenious ways of
responding to the situation. How creative are the colonized in their efforts to overcome the
colonial situation? In our effort to try and understand what to deal w/ - deal w/ a whole
range of processes, which unfold in the lives of these people. Imagine yourselves as these
people – who witness a whole range of colonial processes.
Colonial Onset –
Regulation of movement (ie. pass book)
Labor migrancy including family separation, urbanization
Land alienation – land shortage/landlessness
Religion - Islam, Christianity
Colonial period – in terms of sociocultural hybridity
1) Ethnic heterogeneity
2) Occupational shift – security, civil servant, etc.
3) Religious exposure
Social mobility predicated on new ways – ie. teacher w/ education has gained some status
in terms of colonial sensibilities
Synchretism – people don’t make total shifts from their previous value systems and beliefs,
instead, they explore and mix up precolonial and colonial sensibilities.
Multiple identities – ethic – zulu, migrant – worker, religious- Christian, urban
Individual confronted w/ whole range of colonial processes Ppl who migrated from central to urban areas- were still regarded as a backwards
population. Referred to as washenzi. Wangwana
Mixed populations – easier to survive in the urban areas if embraced an Islamic identity –
mainly Arab/Swahili, even just going through the motions would open many doors.
Oftentimes ppl adopted religion more for social acceptance than religious appeal.
Situational ethnicity, situational identity – ie. if miner or dock workers – certain
expectations that went w/ that position, loyalties expected. Ppl not engaging in total shift of
total body, mind, and spirit. A lot of ppl are going to struggling physically, spiritually, and
morally – maintains contact w/ rural area through wives and extended families. Emergent
African working class – not talking about ppl who are 100% located at their places at work,
only at places at work when they are working, otherwise during vacations, retirement,
psychologically- keep in touch w/ rural areas of origin.
Women follow their husbands to mining compounds, remittances, etc.
Migration to a new place could be a very alienating situation- labor migrants try to create
for themselves organizations which would make their lives in their homes away from home
much more comfortable and acceptable.
1) Establishment of mutual aid societies – when ppl hit a rough patch and need $$ for
family upkeep, commercialization of life. During the colonial period, many goods
and services for sale - i.e. school fees, western clothes, etc. Many ways in which
colonial clothing and upkeep are changed to western standards, everything became
monetized. Members would contribute on a monthly basis and as per need, the
money would be used to bail out and helping people at their points of need.