Anais Angelo, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Universität Wien
Proposals by: 31.08.2018
In 2015, the South African comedian Trevor Noah compared the then presidential candidate Donald Trump to the stereotypical picture of African presidents: narcissistic characters uttering irrational statements and exhibiting autocratic tendencies. The video was watched by 4,9 million viewers on Youtube, a success that shows the persisting appetite for such cartoonish representations of African leaders who seem to exist as an almost a-historical allegory.
One of the reasons such characterizations continue to exist is the lack of sufficient historical assessment of the complex political, social, and economic context of presidential power. The formation of the post-colonial African state has been told from a highly theoretical perspective. The concepts of “personal rule” and “big man” overshadowed the complex roles of individual political actors while exclusively focusing on male power and leaving the political life stories under-developed.
Renewed academic interest has only recently refreshed the use of biography writing in African history. While political biography can … read more and source (Web).