Through in-depth, qualitative analysis of data from archives and research sites in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States, The Making of Mbano: British Colonialism, Resistance, and Diplomatic Engagements in Southeastern Nigeria, 1906-1960 argues that African people in Mbano consistently and fearlessly invoked their pre-colonial socio-cultural, political, and economic values in resisting, scrutinizing, and ultimately negotiating with the British colonial government. In investigating Africa’s complex and diverse engagements with the British through the lens of the Mbano colonial experience, Ogechi E. Anyanwu highlights the fascinating intersection of foreign and indigenous notions of community, culture, political economy, religion, and gender in shaping the Mbano colonial identity. Anyanwu carefully introduces readers to a wider variety of people in colonial Mbano who contributed to the historical experience of Southeastern Nigeria and whose names do not appear in history books.
Ogechi E. Anyanwu is professor of history and director of African and African American studies at Eastern Kentucky University.
Chapter 1: British Conquest and Consolidation of Colonial Rule in Mbano, 1906-1915
Chapter 2: “I had put my hand between their legs:” Mbano Women and Anti-Colonial Rebellion, 1929-1930
Chapter 3: Contesting Boundaries: Traditions, Colonial Justice Systems, and Native Court Conundrum in Mbano
Chapter 4: “Sir, is this how to rule a town?”: The Struggle for Inclusion in Colonial Administration
Chapter 5: The Politics of Colonial Economy: Taxation, Palm Produce, and Craft Industry
Chapter 6: Deities, the ‘Holy Rollers,’ and Indigenous Religious Identities
Chapter 7: Education and Social Transformation
Chapter 8: The State and the Society: Community Development and Osu Progressive Union
The Making of Mbano is an authoritative historical analysis of the Mbano encounters with the British colonial structures in Southeastern Nigeria. Not only does it thoroughly examine the active and dynamic involvement of the Mbano people in shaping their colonial communities, but it also provides a refreshing window into the diverse experiences of colonial subjects in Africa. A highly original, fascinating book.
The author has compiled robust research predicated on a variety of sources – archival, oral interviews, early colonial anthropological sources, colonial records, and the various published materials on Igbo history. I am highly impressed with Professor Ogechi E. Anyanwu’s level of historical work and vigorous analysis.
Ogechi E. Anyanwu historicizes the lingering negative imagery of Africa held in the Western world. He repudiates the misrepresentation of the continent by providing authentic, ironclad proof that Africans—in this case, the Igbos of Mbano in Southeastern Nigeria—were resilient and unyielding to colonial mandates by assertively demonstrating their disagreements through various means. As Anyanwu reveals, the people possessed agency, embodied rich history, and cultural heritage worthy of scholarly narrative, discourse, and even pedagogy. This book is a must-read for all who study or seek authentic African history.
This work is a brilliant historical account of the course and consequences of colonial rule in Southeastern Nigeria and the dynamic role the Mbano people played in negotiating favorable colonial outcomes for their communities.