2002, Year Zero: History as Anti-Politics in the 'New Angola'

2002, Year Zero: History as Anti-Politics in the 'New Angola'

Author: 
Schubert, Jon
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS)
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 41, No. 4, August 2015, pp. 835-852
Abstract: 

Since the end of the Angolan conflict in 2002, the ruling Movemento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) party has been promoting a 'master narrative' of 'peace and reconstruction', through which the Angolan conflict is re-signified as a merely technical issue, and the question of 'national reconciliation' is limited to the reconstruction of infrastructures. Conversely, post-war memory politics revisits the past only selectively. While the history of the independence struggle is revised and politicised, the post-independence Angolan conflict is notably absent from public discourse, as the MPLA's ambivalent role in contested events precludes the stabilisation of the civil war as 'patriotic history'. Departing from scholarship on memory politics in post-liberation regimes, this article analyses the discursive strategies and performative acts employed in these processes, and looks at the symbolic and material effects of this 'technical' hegemonic discourse in the country's capital, Luanda. As national reconciliation is limited to the reconstruction of infrastructures, the master narrative of the 'New Angola' is also physically imposed on the urban cityscape; similarly, any substantive political dialogue about the war is precluded as a threat to the 'gains of peace', which are measured again in purely material terms of the built environment.

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CITATION: Schubert, Jon. 2002, Year Zero: History as Anti-Politics in the 'New Angola' . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2015. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 41, No. 4, August 2015, pp. 835-852 - Available at: http://library.au.int/2002-year-zero-history-anti-politics-new-angola