Coloniality of Power in Postcolonial Africa: Myths of Decolonization. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2013, 308 p., ISBN: 978-2-86978-578-6Number of visits: 5603
This lively book interrogates the African postcolonial condition with a focus on the thematics of liberation predicament and the long standing crisis of dependence (epistemological, cultural, economic, and political) created by colonialism and coloniality. A sophisticated deployment of historical, philosophical, and political knowledge in combination with the equi-primordial concepts of coloniality of power, coloniality of being, and coloniality of knowledgeyields a comprehensive and truly refreshing understanding of African realities of subalternity. How global imperial designs and coloniality of power shaped the architecture of African social formations and disciplined the social forces towards a convoluted ‘postcolonial neocolonized’ paralysis dominated by myths of decolonization and illusions of freedom emerges poignantly in this important book. What distinguishes this book is its decolonial entry that enables a critical examination of the grammar of decolonization that is often wrongly conflated with that of emancipation;bold engagement with the intractable question of what and who is an African; systematic explication of the role of coloniality in sustaining Euro-American hegemony; and unmasking of how the ‘postcolonial’ is interlocked with the ‘neocolonial’ paradoxically. It is within this context that the postcolonial African state emerges as a leviathan, and the ‘postcolonial’ reality becomes a terrain of contradictions mediated by the logic of violence. No doubt,Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s handling of complex concepts and difficult questions of the day is remarkable, particularly the decoding and mixing of complex theoretical interventions from Africa and Latin America to enlighten the present, without losing historical perspicacity. To buttress the theoretical arguments, detailed empirical case studies of South Africa, Zimbabwe, DRC and Namibia completes this timely contribution to African Studies.
Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is Head of the Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI) based at the University of South Africa and Professor in the Department of Development Studies at the same university. He has taught in universities in Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and South Africa and has published extensively on African history and politics. He is the author of Do ‘Zimbabweans’ Exist? Trajectories of Nationalism, National Identity Formation and Crisis in a Postcolonial State (Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), coeditor of Redemptive or Grotesque Nationalism? Rethinking Contemporary Politics in Zimbabwe (Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang, 2011) and author of Empire, Global Coloniality and African Subjectivity (New York: Berghahn Books, 2013).