SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Okenve Martinez, Enrique S. (2007) Equatorial Guinea 1927-1979: A new African tradition. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (24MB)


This work focuses on the history of the Fang people of Equatorial Guinea between 1927 and 1979 in an effort to shed some light on the so-called process of retraditionalization that African societies have been undergoing for the last three decades. Contrary to those views that expected that independence would consolidate the process of modernization initiated by colonialism, many African countries, including Equatorial Guinea, have seen how traditional structures have gained ground ever since. This process is often explained as a result of the so-called crisis of modernity. It is argued that, due to the instability provoked by rapid modernization and the failure of modem structures, Africans are recovering their old ways in search for solutions. This explanation, however, stands against those views that considered that colonial conquest put an end to African traditional systems. This thesis argues that, although traditions are certainly back, this is, in fact, a new phenomenon, which started with the advent of colonial conquest. This work shows how colonial structures and the changes that followed resulted in the collapse of the traditional social model. In response to such situation, a new socio-cultural tradition, rooted in the old one, took form - being the development of modem Fang identity its most salient element. Research specifically focuses on transformations in authority, religious beliefs and identity, as well as their relationship. Much emphasis is put on the historicity of the process, covering three main historical stages such as the second half of the nineteenth century, the period of colonial conquest and domination between the 1910s and 1968, and the aftermath of independence between 1968 and 1979. This work does not only examine a peculiar colonial model, the Spanish, on which very little has been written, but also an African society that the English language literature has largely ignored. In so doing, research has relied on both oral sources and documents. Interviews were conducted in Equatorial Guinea. Archival sources were examined both in Alacala de Henares (Madrid), where Spain's public records are based, and Rome, where part of the documents of the Claretian missionary order can be found.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:09

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item