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Africa in Europe and Europe in Africa

Reassessing the Cultural Legacy

Edited By Yolanda Aixelà-Cabré

This book studies the Afro-European and Euro-African past and present from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. It addresses Africa as a whole, eschewing historical divisions between North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its content exemplifies the extent to which the histories of Europe and Africa are intertwined, and the way European sources are usually privileged in the writing of historical accounts of cross-cultural encounters. Using post/decolonial studies, the authors' point of view is based on anthropology, history, ethnomusicology, and film and literary studies. The authors argue that mutual experiences and imaginations have affected how cultural heritage and legacy are conceived and thought of, as well as memories and sociopolitical experiences. The aim is to establish and encourage a broader knowledge of Africa–Europe and Europe–Africa encounters, incorporating case studies of Euro-African and Afro-European legacies. The final goal is to favour a more relational point of view by comparing Euro-African and Afro-European realities.

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4. European Footsteps in the Land of the Chief: JAN KÜVER

Extract



JAN KÜVER

University of Iringa (Tanzania), Iringa

I am Mpangile Wangimbo the son of Sengimba the beautiful, the one with the sweetest breasts giving the strongest medicine from God. I drank that medicine from her breast so you cannot mess with me! (Mpangile Wangimbo, February, 1897)

Introduction

Allegedly with these words, Mpangile Wangimbo, the vicegerent of the Hehe people, addressed his tormentors during his public execution in Iringa on 23 February, 1897. He was executed by the same German occupiers who had instated him as native chief of Eastern and Central Iringa region just about two months earlier in an effort to establish efficient colonial administration. The execution procedure, together with the circumstances leading to it, is a contested field of historical interpretation until today.

Iringa is an administrative region in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. In 2012 it had a population of roughly one million, of which about 150,000 lived in the regional capital Iringa Town (United Republic of Tanzania 2013). Iringa offers a range of natural and cultural heritage attractions, including the prominent history of the rise and fall of the local Hehe kingdom during the second half of the 19th century, which is deeply rooted in today’s regional and national memory. As a stronghold of fierce anti-colonial resistance during the Hehe wars from 1891 to 1898, Iringa also played a prominent role in the history of colonial German East Africa.

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