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n Historia - What went wrong? Zambian political biography and post-colonial discourses of decline : review article

Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract

<b>Wat het skeefgeloop? Zambiese politieke biografieë en post-koloniale redevoering oor verval</b> <br>Die onlangse herlewing van belangstelling in die politieke geskiedenis van laat en post-koloniale Zambië word gevorm deur die versweë nasionale debat wat verklarings probeer vind vir die ekonomiese en sosiale verval wat sedert die 1970's in Zambië plaasvind. Hierdie nuwe golf van historiese aktiwiteit word gekarakteriseer deur beide nuwe werksaamhede op die akademise navorsingsterrein, asook deur die verskyning van belangrike outobiografiese studies deur prominente politieke en ekonomiese rolspelers. Laasgenoemde werke bied insig in aspekte soos die dilemmas van post-koloniale staatsbestuur; die redes vir ekonomiese nasionalisasie in die laat 1960's; die totstandkoming van die eenpartystaat in 1972; die terugkeer tot multiparty demokrasie in 1991; asook die impak van ekonomiese liberalisering in die 1990's. Hierdie studies demonstreer in die besonder hoe 'n burokratiese kapitalisteklas, gekoppel aan staatskorporasies en multinasionale ondernemings gegroei het en hulle sedert die laat 1970's beywer het vir die liberalisering van die ekonomie, ten einde hulle nuutgevonde rykdom en mag tot volle wasdom te laat kom. Die voortgesette invloed van hierdie klas tydens beide die periodes van eenparty- en multipartyregering word duidelik geïllustreer. Daarteenoor staan die onwilligheid van die meeste van hierdie outeurs om hulle eie onderskeie rolle selfkrities te ondersoek - 'n verskynsel waardeur nasionalistiese mites oor 'n vroeëre generasie geskiedenis opnuut versterk word.

A recent resurgence of interest in the political history of late colonial and post-colonial Zambia is shaped by an unspoken national debate that seeks to explain Zambia's economic and social decline since the 1970s. This new wave of historical activity is characterised by both new activities in academic research and by the appearance of notable autobiographical studies by prominent political and economic actors. These texts provide significant insights into the dilemmas of post-colonial governance, the reasons for economic nationalisation in the late 1960s, the establishment of the one-party state in 1972 and the return to multi-party democracy in 1991, as well as the impact of economic liberalisation in the 1990s. In particular, these studies demonstrate the rise of a bureaucratic capitalist class, linked to state-owned corporations and multi-national business that, from the late 1970s, sought the liberalisation of the economy in order to fully realise their newly found wealth and power. The continuing influence of this class can be seen during the periods of both one-party and multi-party rule. However, the unwillingness of most of these authors to examine their respective own historical roles self-critically tends to reinforce nationalist myths of an earlier generation of history.

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/content/hist/51/1/EJC38211
2006-05-01
2016-12-10

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