Abstract and Keywords
Schooling and literacy have been central to Africa’s modern development. Education was put forward by colonial states and their mission allies as a way to engineer progressive change either by educating and assimilating key individuals in elite European-style schools, or by training communities in adapted ways that offered economic development while minimizing political change. In practice, colonial planners found education expensive and destabilizing in the face of local entrepreneurs who sought opportunities for individual wealth, power, and respect and who used the tools of literacy and print culture to make new identities for themselves and for larger groups. Recent scholarship has emphasized the continuities between colonial and postcolonial ideas of centrally planned education, and the role of creative writing, reading, and teaching in the development of a new African elite capable of challenging both colonial and postcolonial initiatives.