EEGA Panel at VIVA AFRICA Conference in September 2021

Under the theme „Africa and (the Other) Europe: Imageries – Discourses – Exchanges“ the twelth VIVA AFRICA conference will take place in September 2021 at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. The EEGA will be represented with the panel „Eastern Europe and the Decolonisation of Southern Africa: Some Reconsiderations“.

The interdisciplinary conference seeks to shed light on the nature of the exchange of ideas, knowledge, goods, cultural artifacts and people under various political and economic circumstances and regimes of imagination and knowledge production between Africa and Europe.

The EEGA panel features papers by Chris Saunders (U Cape Town, South Africa), Helder Adegar Fonseca (U Evora, Portugal), Bence Kocsev (GWZO Leipzig, Germany) and Ana Moledo (U Leipzig, Germany).

Date: 16 September, 2021
Time: 4.30-6.30 pm
Venue: online and on site

Panel abstract:

Many different actors outside Africa supported the struggles for liberation and processes of decolonisation in the countries of Southern Africa, ranging from non-governmental organisations, the United Nations, country governments, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of African Unity, and liberation movements in other parts of the globe. The aim of the Southern African liberation movements to keep open connections to all supporters, be it in the West, East, North or South, entangled their various agendas. Recent scholarship has emphasized the complexity of the concept of the Cold War, which cannot be seen in bipolar terms, as “West” against “East”. The question of which side of the ideological divide between the superpowers in the Cold War was more successful (or lucky) in impacting actors and societies in the Global South is still relevant, yet a Cold War perspective falls short in unfolding the complex geographies of connections and the multipolarity of actions and transactions, some of which continue to influence relationships today.
Inspired by the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences and the growing field of global and transregional area studies, a promising body of work has been developing in the last ten years to encounter this lacunae, with more and more archives become available. Still, too little is known about the networks that were shaped through the movement of individuals and ideas from Southern Africa to the “East” and from the “East” to Southern Africa. Following up on the presenters‘ research on actors and archives in both Anglophone and Lusophone contexts, and connecting these new sources and materials to previous dialogue and scholarly exchange on the manifold ties of Eastern Europe and Southern African decolonisation which, among others, led to the publication of Southern African Liberation Movements and the Global Cold War ‚East‘ (2019), this panel seeks to tease out more of these networks, movements and connections. From an interdisciplinary, transregional perspective, the panel aims to reconsider aspects of Eastern Europe’s role in the decolonisation of Southern Africa. A thematic focus is placed on the diversity of relations between the „Other Europe“ and African/South African independent countries and liberation movements from 1960 to 1990, while also acknowledging the role of scientific exchanges and transfers in this dynamic process.


For more information on the conference, visit the conference website.

The event is a follow-up to the EEGA financed panel on »Southern African Liberation Movements: Transnational Connections in Southern Africa and with Countries in the ‘East’ (1960 – 1994)« at the Conference of the African Studies Association in Germany, in June 2018, in Leipzig and the book „Southern African Liberation Movements and the Global Cold War ‘East’. Transnational Activism 1960–1990″ (2019).


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