Enocent Msindo (History, Rhodes U.) on his recent book Ethnicity in Zimbabwe: Transformations in Kalanga and Ndebele Societies, 1860-1990. He explores chiefly politics, class, language, and local sources to show the creation of ethnic identity in southwestern Zimbabwe was not solely the result of colonial rule or African elites. Ordinary Africans created and shaped an ethnic consciousness based on precolonial histories and 20th-century innovations, while much-neglected Kalanga identities resisted both colonial and Ndebele hegemony.
Wendi Manuel-Scott and Benedict Carton on the ‘African Identities in the Age of Obama’ conference they organized recently at George Mason University. Bridging the gap between studies of Africa, African America, and the Caribbean, participants debated who and what does Obama represent? How do cultural aspects of the Obama phenomenon intersect with political and economic aspects? What does Obama mean to people in Africa?
Prof. Abebe Zegeye (Chair of Genocide and Holocaust studies at UNISA) on Africans’ multiple identities and genocide studies in Africa. Is there a need for a different model than that of Holocaust studies to analyze political violence in colonial and post-colonial Africa? Zegeye closes with thoughts on his recent appointment as Director of WISER at Wits in Johannesburg.
Solomon Addis Getahun (Central Michigan University) discusses the history of Ethiopian immigrants and refugees in the USA. He describes the diversity of Ethiopians in the diaspora and their community organizations. For example, to overcome isolation and carve out an autonomous space within US society, in 1984 Ethiopians established the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America. Its annual football (soccer) tournament provides a festive place where Ethiopian identity is negotiated, recreated and modified.