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Wits University Press

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New from Wits Press: Mediations of Violence in Africa: Fashioning New Futures from Contested Pasts

Meditations of Violence in AfricaMeditations of Violence in Africa analyses the violence of recent African wars from the perspectives of people who experienced and witnessed them. Central to it are the words of (male) Somali poets, Zulu singers, impoverished Kenyan youth, and white South African war veterans, as well as men and women trying to refashion their lives and relationships in post-war Mozambique and Rwanda.

Two of the six chapters engage with South African mediations of violence. Liz Gunner explores the ways in which song and performance in the a capella genre of the isicathamiya mediate a complex cocktail of social and psychological violence in post-1994 KwaZulu-Natal. The songs disturb memories of ideas of masculinity and militarism; instead they imagine an active, modern, moral, and glamorous male citizenship for the men of the ‘New South Africa’.

Diana Gibson introduces the army kitbag (balsak) as a metaphor for the painful and dark memories of veterans of the border war with Angola in the apartheid state, who experienced deep psychological, social, interpersonal, political and historical disconnectedness as a result of the fighting. For some the narration of their memories and experiences has become a step towards re-establishing their connectedness and finding healing.

The mediations that are presented are moving, informative, and also highly political. They conceptualize and contextualize violence and experiences of violence in very revealing ways. The authors use their (inter-)disciplinary strengths as scholars to draw out what they feel are the most significant aspects of these African interpretations and commentaries. Purposefully inter-disciplinary and geographically wide-ranging, this volume brings together scholarly approaches ranging from cultural and medical anthropology, social/cultural history, to cultural and performance studies.

About the authors

Lidwien Kapteijns is Professor of History at Wellesley College, USA. Her published work focuses on Sudanese and Somali History.

Annemiek Richters, physician and medical anthropologist, is Professor of Culture, Health and Illness at Leiden University Medical Centre and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, The Netherlands. Her publications focus on gender, violence and trauma, and on intercultural health care.

Book details

  • Meditations of Violence in Africa: Fashioning New Futures from Contested Pasts edited by Lidwien Kapteijns, Annemiek Richters
    EAN: 9781868145294
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