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Afrika – Kontinent der Extreme

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Andreas Exenberger

3. Identität(en)

Amistad Kata-Kata: A Re-Evaluation of the Materiality of the Body

Ulrich Pallua

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Talks of equality
Are sheer insanity!
The Nigger is no citizen,
He is a slum and a jungle denizen!
Who must be kicked and segregated,
His mind and soul asphyxiated

Intimidate and break their best!
Be kind and patronise the rest.
There is no right Save right of might;
And what is might
But to be white!
(“White Racialists” by H. I. E. Dhlomo)1

The re-staging of Charlie Haffner’s2 play Amistad Kata-Kata (Based on the True Story of the Amistad Revolt) by the Freetong Players in 2007/08 not only commemorated the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade3 but in so doing also offered a unique opportunity to re-direct attention to the identity of “Post-European” Africa. This paper will attempt to show how Haffner repositions the “Amistad trope” in the 20th century by “re-semanticizing” the materiality of the body of the enslaved Africans and their leader Shengbe Pieh, and how this re-evaluation of the colonised slave’s corporeality in the 19th - century post-abolition debate is of para...

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