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Contemporary Journal of African Studies

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What is in a Flag? The Swastika and Togoland Nationalism

WK Yayoh

Abstract


Flags were important symbols in the acquisition of colonies in Africa since 1884. Karl Peters and two colleagues went to Zanzibar in 1884 with ‘a number of German flags and treaty forms and hoisted the flags at Mbuzini’.1 In 1886, the British governor in the Gold Coast Colony distributed flags to Krepi chiefs who signed the Krepi bond of 1886. This article adds to our knowledge on the appropriation of symbols in colonial situations in Africa and elucidates the influence of Nazi ideology on the Togoland Congress in its fight against the integration of the Trust Territory into the Gold Coast. The flying of the Swastika by the Togoland Congress was a controversial incident which has not received attention from scholars but which offers an opportunity to re-examine the political views of Togolanders from a new perspective. Most scholars who worked on British Togoland focused their research mainly on post World War 1 histories of the region. Yet most of the historical processes of the post-World War 1 era actually started in the second half of the nineteenth century with the formal German colonization of the territory.



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