By Jean Marie Allman
Bearing the old image of the Asante kingdom, the porcupine, the nationwide Liberation stream (NLM) stormed onto the Gold Coast’s political degree in 1954, mounting one of many first and most important campaigns to decentralize political energy in decolonizing Africa. Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) was once the 1st colony in sub-Saharan Africa to safe political independence from Britain. The fight for complete self-government was once led through Kwame Nkrumah, the major recommend of African nationalism and Pan-African cohesion within the post-World battle II era. The NLM threatened the steadiness of Nkrumah’s preindependence executive and destroyed clients for a soft transition to complete self-rule. even though NLM calls for for Asante autonomy mobilized hundreds of thousands of contributors, marchers, and electorate, the NLM used to be not able to prevent plans for a unitary executive in a brand new nation. less than Nkrumah, Ghana grew to become self sustaining in 1957. Marginalized politically by way of 1958, the NLM has from time to time been marginalized through students as well. forged into the shadows of educational inquiry the place history’s losers frequently reside, the NLM got here to be characterised as a tribalist ghost of the previous whose foreordained defeat was once necessary of a few consciousness, yet whose marvelous upward push was once no longer. at the present time, while it really is a long way more durable to push aside decentralizing events and replacement nationalisms as issues of the prior, Jean Marie Allman’s tremendous The Quills of the Porcupine recovers the background of the NLM as a favored circulate whose achievements and defeats have been rooted in Asante’s background and within the social conflicts of the period. Allman attracts skillfully on her broad interviews with NLM activists, on a number of released and archival assets in Ghana, and on British colonial records—many of them lately declassified—to offer wealthy narrative aspect. refined in its research of the NLM’s ideology and of the appeals of the circulation to varied strata inside of Asante society, The Quills of the Porcupine is a pioneering case examine within the social heritage of African politics. an exhilarating tale firmly located in the context of the massive theoretical and ancient literature on classification, ethnicity, and nationalism, its value reaches some distance previous the borders of Asante, and of Ghana.
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