‘The chiefs, elders, and people have for many years suffered untold hardships’: Protests by coalitions of the excluded in British Northern Togoland, UN Trusteeship Territory, 1950-57.

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This article examines the use of tradition by minority groups whose territorial incorporation into British Northern Togoland under UN trusteeship was marked by political exclusion. This contrasts with the more typical pattern of productive and inclusive relations developing between chiefs and the administering authority within the boundaries of what was to become Ghana. In East Gonja, marginalized groups produced their own chiefs while simultaneously appealing to the UN Trusteeship Council to protect their native rights. The article contributes to studies on the limits of the ‘invention of tradition’ by showing the influence of external structures on African agency and organization. As the minority groups sought UN support on the basis of their native status, the colonial power affirmed alternative versions of tradition that were perceived locally as illegitimate and thereby rendered ineffective.
TidsskriftThe Journal of African History
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)423-444
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Ghana
  • Togo
  • chieftaincy
  • decolonisation
  • International Relations
  • United Nations

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