The Untold Stories of World War I in Africa

by ptinti

The World War I in Africa Project is an ambitious initiative by Kathleen Bomani and Jacques Enaudeau, who seek not to commemorate the passing of World War I, but to restore its meaning by challenging “boilerplate narratives” and finding new narrators.

As the project’s website explains, two million African soldiers, workers and porters participated in the war, yet their story remains largely ignored to this day. “Europe’s 20th century started in 1914, and the yoke of colonialism steered Africa along for the ride,” Bomani and Enaudeau write. “Battles between the French, British, Belgian, German and Portuguese colonial empires pitted Africans against each other on their own soil,” they continue.

Tens of thousands of African lives were lost, while migration trends were set, economies transformed, and borders redefined all as a result of “the war to end all wars.”

Both Ms. Bomani and Mr. Enaudeau were kind enough to speak with me via skype. You can listen to the interview by clicking on this link.