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The Power of Injury: Memory, Decolonization, and the Challenges of Modernity in Africa

This book examines the political and social effects of Africa’s prioritization of the experience of colonization in its response to the world, and analyzes the role of Nelson Mandela’s notion of forgiveness in Africa’s inevitable path to modernity. It has been customary to suggest colonialism, imperialism, racism, and other abstract isms, as responsible for Africa’s unenviable socio-political and economic condition. Whereas these have their roles to play, I fault the erroneous sense of moral rectitude, rooted in African postcolonial identity politics and notoriously perfected by Robert Mugabe. I engage in a philosophical close-reading of some of the seminal works or roles of some of the figures in African and the African diaspora political and intellectual history: Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Mobutu Sese Seko, Robert Mugabe, Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and Frantz Fanon. Building on the visions of Nelson Mandela, I propose a radical hermeneutics of forgiveness as a way to liberate the African imagination from the feeling of moral integrity and the consequent lack of will to modernize socio-political institutions.


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