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The Diaries of Barthélémy Boganda, Priest and Politician in French Equatorial Africa (1910–1959)


This article presents an analysis of the diaries of Barthélémy Boganda, priest and later politician in French Equatorial Africa. So far unknown, these diaries, stored in the archives of the French Spiritans, shed light on earlier stages of Boganda’s life, on which fewer sources are available. The article first discusses the broad historical background of colonialism in French Equatorial Africa and the significance of Barthélémy Boganda as an historical figure, also comparing him with other leaders of Africa’s decolonization struggles. It then analyses the nature of his diaries and their different entries and argues that it is through this source material that one can better understand the complexity of his person and the historical depth of his attitudes, thoughts and action.


Cet article présente une analyse des journaux de Barthélémy Boganda, prêtre et puis homme politique de l’Afrique Équatoriale Française. Inutilisés jusqu’à présent, ces journaux intimes conservés dans les archives des spiritains français éclairent les premiers stades de la vie de Boganda sur lesquels nous disposons de moins de sources. L’article examine d’abord le vaste contexte historique du colonialisme en Afrique Équatoriale Française et l’importance de Barthélémy Boganda comme figure historique en le comparant également avec d’autres dirigeants des luttes pour la décolonisation de l’Afrique. Il analyse ensuite la nature des journaux intimes de Boganda ainsi que leurs différentes entrées et suggère qu’à travers ce genre de sources, il est possible de mieux comprendre la complexité de sa personne et la profondeur historique de ses attitudes, pensées et actions.

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Giacomo Macola , Liberal Nationalism in Central Africa: A Biography of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Elizabeth Schmidt , “Anticolonial Nationalism in French West Africa: What Made Guinea Unique?,” African Studies Review 52–2 (2009), 134.

Klaas Van Walraven , The Yearning for Relief: A History of the Sawaba Movement in Niger (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013).

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History in Africa
  • ISSN: 0361-5413
  • EISSN: 1558-2744
  • URL: /core/journals/history-in-africa
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