One of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th CenturyWinner of the 1997 Herskovits Award, African Studies Association
"This theoretically adventurous work by a prominent Ugandan academic attempts to shift away from current paradigms constructed around themes of ethnic identity and the role of civil society. . . . This is an original book that offers a new angle of vision and is likely to stir up lively debate."--Foreign Affairs
From the Back Cover
In this provocative analysis of the obstacles to democratization in post-independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy: a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, British indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; other colonial powers followed suit, South Africa being the last. Apartheid, Mamdani maintains, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa.