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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2021
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Book description

Katanga, Rhodesia, Transkei and Bophuthatswana: four African countries that, though existing in a literal sense, were, in each case, considered by the international community to be a component part of a larger sovereign state through which all official communications and interactions were still conducted. This book is concerned with the intertwined histories of these four right-wing secessionist states in Southern Africa as they fought for but ultimately failed to win sovereign recognition. Along the way, Katanga, Rhodesia, Transkei, and Bophuthatswana each invented new national symbols and traditions, created all the trappings of independent statehood, and each proclaimed that their movements were legitimate expressions of national self-determination. Josiah Brownell provides a unique comparison between these states, viewed together as a common reaction to decolonization and the triumph of anticolonial African nationalism. Describing the ideological stakes of their struggles for sovereignty, Brownell explores the international political controversies that their drives for independence initiated inside and outside Africa. By combining their stories, this book draws out the relationships between the emergence of these four pseudo-states and the fragility of the entire postcolonial African state structure.


‘Josiah Brownell traces the making of four unrecognised state regimes - Katanga, Rhodesia, Transkei and Bophuthatswana - from their African locales to the United Nations and Wall Street, showing how high finance, diplomatic recognition, tourism and postage stamps were just some of the elements used to assert and make their statehood visible at a time of profound political change. This important study, in taking seriously both the performative and substantive expressions of reactionary statehood, brilliantly writes their separate and linked histories into the wider story of African decolonization.’

Miles Larmer - University of Oxford

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