Literary Journalism and Africa's Wars: Colonial, Decolonial and Postcolonial Perspectives

Griffiths, Andrew; Alves, Audrey and Trindade, Alice eds. (2018). Literary Journalism and Africa's Wars: Colonial, Decolonial and Postcolonial Perspectives. ReportAGES. Nancy, France: Presses Universitaires de Nancy.


The essays and excerpts published here represent samples from a chronological range beginning in the 1860s and ending in the 1990s. That historical span incorporates wars of colonisation, wars of decolonization, and both intra- and inter-state conflicts. The period also witnessed a transformation in discourse on Africa. The journalists discussed come from Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, and the United States. Each emerges from a separate journalistic tradition and in each case attention is paid to the techniques by which a vision of Africa is recreated for a non-African audience. The journalists whose work is addressed are aware of and sensitive to their status as outsiders encountering African experience to varying degrees and they are not all equally conscious of their power as narrators. Henry Stanley’s performativity, for example, privileged his own identity over the identities of the Abyssinians through whose land he travelled. In sharp contrast, Philip Gourevitch’s urgent desire to bear witness and to allow the voices of Rwandan people to be heard is embodied in the quotation he takes as the title of his book: “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families”. In order to engage with the greatest possible diversity of perspectives, the book includes chapters in Portuguese (Juan Domingues) and in French (José María Lozano Maneiro and Ivan Gros). It is essential that a volume dealing with troubling issues around power, discourse and identity should incorporate international perpectives.

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