Faculty Publication: In Black Hands

Stephen Volz, Associate Professor of History, has published an article, “In Black Hands: Tswana Chieftaincy and the Ethiopian Church Movements of 1880-1910” in the July 2020 issue of South African Historical Journal

South African Historical Journal Cover Page


The history of colonialism in Africa is often portrayed as a confrontation between black Africans and white Europeans, but African adoption of black solidarity as a feature of their liberation movements was a gradual process. Scholars have sometimes traced the beginning of that process in southern Africa to the ‘Ethiopian’ church movements of 1880–1910, particularly in the ways that they were encouraged by African-American resistance to racism in the United States. Cases of Christian independency in Tswana chiefdoms during that time, however, were shaped more by local forces than by the Pan Africanism that was arising in European-controlled towns, and they are better understood as products of nineteenth-century Tswana politics than as early examples of twentieth-century African nationalism.

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