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Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027243

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027243.001.0001

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Tsetse Invasions

Tsetse Invasions

Chapter:
(p.99) 4 Tsetse Invasions
Source:
Transient Workspaces
Author(s):

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027243.003.0006

This chapter examines how European colonizers under siege from the deadly tsetse fly deferred to African hunters in the absence of any remedies of their own. It considers the disruptive role of European colonial partition, mobilities, and settlements; in particular, it shows how this “ecological imperialism” led to the displacement of Africans from lands they had tamed, with the Europeans settling in areas where Africans had sequestered pestilent insects like tsetse fly. When the pests struck back and there was no ready biomedical or chemical solutions, the colonial state turned to the African hunter to help slaughter forest animals, starve the tsetse fly of its food source (blood), and kill the deadly trypanosome protozoan the insect transmitted from forest animal reservoirs to livestock. The outbreak of trypanosomiasis becomes coproduced “through a conjunction of bodies, technologies, and cultural practices,” demonstrating how an insect subverted and indeed mediated the much-vaunted powers of imperialism and colonialism and held hostage those who are supposed to be the lord of the African.

Keywords:   tsetse fly, European colonizers, African hunters, ecological imperialism, Africa, forest animals, trypanosome, livestock, trypanosomiasis, colonialism

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