Abstract

"The postcolonial state in Burundi emerged through talk of truth and acts of violence. Beginning with the first democratic contest in late 1959, this book examines decolonisation as a search for certainty over the nature of postcolonial community and authority, seen from the vantage point of two communes on the border with Rwanda. While ethnicity was largely absent from early political struggles, by 1972 the postcolony was realised in a genocidal repression. Yet from democracy to genocide people and state spoke about politics in the language of truth: declarations of official truths, discussions of rumour, and riddles of political persuasion. Through these idioms of truth-speaking, the book examines differing conceptions over the nature of authority and its relationship to its subjects, the possibilities and closures of postcolonial citizenship, the deep hostility and suspicion of successive regimes towards a borderland population, and their performances of loyalty, petition and vigilance in response. It shows how politics was made between peasants and state elites, the nature of violence in the processes of decolonisation, and how the language of truth continues to matter today"--Provided by publisher

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