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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Literacy as a style of life: garveyism and gentlemen in Colonial Ibadan
Author:Watson, RuthISNI
Periodical:African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)
Geographic term:Nigeria
About person:Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00020184.2014.887750
Abstract:During the early 1920s, a group of educated and predominantly Christian young men in the Nigerian city of Ibadan became interested in the ideas and politics of Marcus Garvey. This article examines the limited appeal of Garveyism to these men, within the broader context of the British colonial policy of indirect rule. Seeking the rights of imperial citizenship, Nigerian Garveyites proclaimed loyalty to British imperialism, while simultaneously using Garvey's ideas to critique their politically marginalised position in the colonial state. Their interest in Garveyism was ephemeral however, and it did not develop into the sustained political activity seen elsewhere in Africa. Crucially, rather than being spread by dedicated activists, Garveyism came to Ibadan via the newspaper 'Negro World'. This article analyses the relationship between Garveyism and literacy, emphasising how Garvey's ideas were received in Ibadan as discourse, rather than experienced as political action. In the final analysis, Garveyism in colonial Ibadan was not so much evidence of 'failed' nationalism, as a useful form of cultural capital for an aspirant status group. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]