Genocide and Mass Violence in the ‘Heart of Darkness’

Dominik J. Schaller

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Genocide and Mass Violence in the ‘Heart of Darkness’

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This article discusses genocide and mass violence in Africa during the colonial period. While European colonial rule lasted only several decades, it had a profound impact on Africa. The history of European colonialism in Africa is of unprecedented socio-economic, political, and cultural change, mass violence, and exploitation. Until recently, the historiography of colonialism and genocide has portrayed the Africans as passive and apathetic victims of European power and violence. But Africa did not degenerate into a graveyard because of the Europeans' attempt to transform the continent and its inhabitants according to their ideas. European colonialism did not succeed in completely destroying African cultures and identities. Africans always found ways to preserve their cultures and to reconstitute their social organizations, however totalitarian and coercive the colonizers' policies and fantasies about absolute power were confirmed.

Keywords: South Africa; cultural genocide; colonial warfare; forced labour; European rule; mass violence

Article.  8903 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing ; African History

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