Dignifying Death: The African Politics of Burial in Bulawayo Presentation by Terry Ranger

Distinguised Africa historian and former UCLA professor Terence Ranger will present on Southern Africa.

Monday, January 12, 2004
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
6275 Bunche Hall (6th floor)
History Dept. Conference Room
Los Angeles, CA 90095

There has been a divide between urban history in southern and in western Africa. Southern African cities have been seen as industrial colonial creations, in which Africans were coerced and managed. West African cities have been seen as continuations of a pre-colonial urban past, in which changing African elites were able to take influential social, cultural and political roles. One example of the contrast has been the 'politics of death'. West African studies have emphasised the importance over struggles over the site and ceremony of burials and memorials. Southern African studies have seen the bleak Municipal cemetery as a symbol of colonial depersonalisation. In this presentation it is argued that in a Rhodesian colonial town - Bulawayo - there could be and was a dramatic politics of death in which Africans were the main actors. It draws upon a wide range of archival, printed, oral and fictional sources to produce a very different picture of 'the struggle for the city'.

Professor Ranger has been associated with Zimbabwe for 45 years and has taught twice at its university - between 1957 and 1963, and between 1998 and 2001. (In between he has been Professor at Dar es Salaam, UCLA, Manchester and Oxford). He has published seven monographs on the modern history of Zimbabwe and several edited collections.

Among his many published works are included Revolt in Southern Rhodesia, 1896-7: a study in African resistance (1967); The African voice in Southern Rhodesia, 1898-1930 (1970); Dance and society in Eastern Africa, 1890-1970: the Beni ngoma (1975); The Invention of tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (1983); Peasant consciousness and guerilla war in Zimbabwe: a comparative study (1985); Are we not also men?: the Samkange family & African politics in Zimbabwe, 1920-64 (1995); Voices from the rocks: nature, culture & history in the Matopos Hills of Zimbabwe (1999).

Special Instructions

Parking is available in lot 3 for $7.

Cost : Free and open to the public

For more information please contact:

James S. ColemanAfrican Studies Center

Tel: 310-825-3686



Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Department of History