The battle for Cassinga: conflicting narratives and contested meanings

Baines, G. (2007) The battle for Cassinga: conflicting narratives and contested meanings. In: Basler Afrika Bibliographien Seminar, 11 December 2007, Basel, Switzerland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

[from introduction] Nearly thirty years ago the name Cassinga (or Kassinga) came to the attention of the world. At the time the name evoked a range of responses, from outrage to grief to the celebration of military bravado. It still does so. And Cassinga will continue to elicit such responses as long as participants and witnesses are alive and the events remain part of living memory. Obviously perpetrators and survivors remember the events of 4 May 1978 differently. Memory is, after all, selective. The recollections of participants and witnesses are framed by personal and political agendas. This much is abundantly clear from the conflicting accounts of Cassinga that appear in the media and literature, especially the exchanges that take place between parties with a stake in how the events are remembered. Thus a report headlined “Battle of Cassinga still rages” published on the 29th anniversary suggested that the events are still shrouded in controversy and that there is no agreement about what transpired in the southern Angolan town. The title of this paper reflects my concern with the battle for rather than of Cassinga. The choice of preposition is intended to signify the ongoing contestation over the meaning of Cassinga.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cassinga, Kassinga, battle, Angola, South African Defence Force, SADF, Operation Reindeer, massacre, narration, myth, apologist, military history, invasion, controversy, military action, military operation, SWAPO, South West Africa People's Organization, Namibia, propaganda
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > History
ID Code:946
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:21 Feb 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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