RIP Terence Ranger

Airport Farewell at Deportation of Professor Terence Ranger in 1962: Left to right: T. O. Ranger, Shelagh, Joshua Nkomo, James Chikerema, Robert Mugabe, and John Reed (Photo courtesy of David Wiley, African Studies Center, Michigan State University)


2015 began with the sad news of the passing of Terence Ranger (85) – one of the most reputed scholars of Zimbabwean and African history.

Ranger’s is perhaps best-known for the volume on «The Invention of Tradition» (1983) which he co-edited with Eric Hobsbawn (another towering figure in academia). Ranger’s essay in the book: «The Invention of tradition in colonial Africa» generated and intense academic debate – and Ranger himself revisited these arguments a decade later.

Ranger began his career as lecturer of Medieval and Modern History in the University College of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) in 1957. In 1962, following the country’s unilateral declaration of independence, Ranger was deported from Rhodesia and he established himself in newly independent Tanzania, where he directed the  University of Dar es Salaam’s History Department. There he assembled a stellar academic line-up that included John Iliffe and Walter Rodney.

In many ways, the origins of the modern African history scolarship can be traced back to those ‘Dar es Salaam school’ days and to Terence Ranger.

One of the many things for which he will be remembered.


PS You can read a very extensive and extremely interesting inverview with Ranger done by Diana Jeater in 2009 here.

Black History Month – “L’ébène est dans le noir” video

October, which is nearly over, is celebrated as Black History Month, in the United Kingdom, where I lived for a few years and learnt of this event.

To celebrate this, I am posting below a video-clip of Burkinabe MC Art Melody, which Tom Devriendt shared yesterday at AIAC. The song, titled “L’ébène est dans le noir” (The ebony is in the dark), starts with Sarkozy’s infamous quote about Africans “not having fully entered into history” and goes on to reflect on the situation of Africa, a result of their leaders corrupt actions. I found the video captivating, as it is made up of different representations of black and African people across time – through movies, documentaries and cartoons).

Enjoy the video and I hope you’ve had a good Black History Month (and if not there are a few days left to do so)!

Torture victims can sue British government over Mau Mau / Las víctimas pueden denunciar al gobierno británico por las torturas durante el Mau Mau

Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

A small victory for justice.

Torture victims can sue British government for the atrocities committed during Mau Mau upraising (Reuters)


Una pequeña victoria de la justicia.

Víctimas de tortura por parte de la administración británica ganan el derecho a reclamar compensación al Gobierno británico (Reuters – inglés)

Animated Atlas of African History 1879-2002

The Animated Atlas of African History (AAAH)

«gives a year-by-year presentation of selected themes in the history of Africa between 1879 and 2002…is designed to be an instructional tool at the secondary and college levels as well as for the general learner. It is subject to revisions based on new research and user feedback.»
«You can advance or reverse the chronology and change the speed with «play,» «fast forward,» and «rewind» buttons.»

It has been developed by Brown students, under the guidance of Professor Nancy Jacobs and Rolando Peñate.
Below are some still images from 1895, 1960, and 2002.
To explore the map, click here