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Living with the Border in War and Peace: Some Experiences from the Zambia-Angola Borderland

Drawing on field research conducted between 1996 and 2010, this paper looks at how people’s interactions with the border have changed, focusing on their cross-border livelihoods, identities and mobility. With the end of the war and the rehabilitation of the formal border crossing, legal restrictions and practical obstacles to movement are relaxed; at the same time, the conventions – based on informal, ‘illicit’ understandings between both local officials and local inhabitants on both side of the border – that operated for many years have been undermined. Hence there has simultaneously been both an ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of the border.

Oliver Bakewell (University of Oxford)

Local Identities and Transnational Conflict: The Katangese Gendarmes and Central-Southern Africa’s Forty-Years War, 1960-1999

The Katangese gendarmes have, at different stages of their existence, been identified as mercenaries, neo-colonial puppets, or Marxist revolutionaries. Whilst external perceptions of the gendarmes have been shaped by discourses of national liberation, regional conflict and Cold War rivalry, their own sense of identity has not been explored. Utilising archival sources and initial interviews with former gendarmes, this paper attempts to situate their identity within these discourses, but also within a sense of Lunda local and trans-national (Congo, Angola, Zambia) identity and an enduring belief in the cause of Katangese self-determination. The paper also reflects on the long-term legacy of a model of national independence which neglected uneven regional development and the relevance of local ethnicities which transcended the borders of newly independent states.

Miles Larmer (University of Sheffield)