Opinion

Ace and the gang are precisely the people Fanon warned us about

Decolonisation's leading thinker called it: a new elite adopts nationalist and racist language to try to keep the masses onside. But Fanon gives hope, too

04 August 2019 - 00:06 By IMRAAN BUCCUS

Frantz Fanon, who was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, studied in France and then joined the struggle for the liberation of Algeria from French colonialism. Today he is widely considered to be the most significant thinker to have arisen from the decolonisation movement in Africa. The greatest living African intellectuals, usually considered to be the Ugandan Mahmood Mamdani, and the Johannesburg-based Cameroonian Achille Mbembe, still base much of their work on Fanon's original insights.

Fanon's work is so rich that every time one returns to it there are new insights. On a recent trip to Zambia I used the time in transit to re-read Fanon's greatest book, The Wretched of the Earth. When I first read it in the early 1990s, I was struck by his powerful critique of colonialism. Re-reading the book last week, I was struck by just how uncompromising and powerful his critique of post-independence elites is...

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