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Book zooms in on the fundamental contribution elites make to society

Book zooms in on the fundamental contribution elites make to society

Dr. Mattia Fumanti launched his book The Politics of Distinction: African Elites from Colonialism, to Liberation in a Namibian Frontier Town, last week in Windhoek.

The book is an insightful study into the difficulties, and strategies, of a youth elite attempting to succeed the established post-colonial order in Namibia. It highlights the fundamental contribution elites make to society and their promotion of nation building at the local level.

Dr. Fumanti focuses on the border town of Rundu giving the people of Rundu a voice, including direct quotation, enriching the book with character and immediacy. Focusing on how generational relations between elites in Rundu have shaped and been shaped by the transitions from colonial rule and the war of liberation, to Independence and post-Independence, this study opens a window on relations between the hinterland and the capital.

“This book is a vibrant antidote to Afro-pessimism and views that emphasise the spectacle of disaster, kleptomania and corruption of the week state, by examining the rhetoric of public morality Fumanti challenges this but is, nevertheless, also critical of the ruling elite,” said Robert Gordon, University of Vermont and University of the Free State

“Using the most contemporary of social theories and ethnographic methods, Mattia Fumanti addresses the enduring but elusive nexus of inter-generational consciousness and of the ambivalences between generations, that the two generations in this Namibian border town see themselves as the architects and inheritors of liberation imbues their provincial relations with echoes of grand history,” added Richard Fardon, Professor of West African Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Mattia Fumanti is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews in the United Kingdom and he has conducted anthropological research in Namibia, Ghana and the UK.

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