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Bifurcated World of African Nationalist Historiography

NF Awasom
OM Bojang


The colonial enterprise sustained its raison d'être through the concoction of a historiography that denied the historicity, humanity and governance capacity of Africans. Against a background of this denial levitated nationalist historiographical schools which challenged such myths. But their ideologies circulated within the confines of their colonial linguistic legacies although they shared the same decolonisation agenda. This paper focuses on the separate and uncoordinated efforts of intellectuals in the Anglophone and Francophone worlds to demystify and combat colonialism and consolidate the nascent nation-states through ideological revisionism and re-statement in the shape of nationalist historiographies. The ideological ammunition to combat colonialism in the Anglophone world was packaged and championed by the Ibadan School of History while in the Francophone world a similar task fell on the Dakar School of History. But the colonial iron curtain kept these two schools apart and even in the postcolony they are still largely strangers to each other as little or no space is devoted in their respective history curriculum to each other‟s nationalist historiography. The resurgence of the historiography of colonial domination in the third millennium among the third millennium imperialist class did not receive a joint African intellectual response. Only Francophone scholars reposted when the French political class resuscitated the idea of Africa‟s exceptionality of not belonging to universal history and of its exclusive responsibility for its own woes. The authors advocate a more concerted pan-African intellectual response to imperialist attacks on the dignity of Africans.

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eISSN: 1596-5031