As the world prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War, The World War I in Africa Project shines a bright light on its most overlooked theatre: Africa.
Two million African soldiers, workers and porters took part in “the war to end all wars”, yet their story is unheard of. Europe’s 20th century started in 1914, and the yoke of colonialism steered Africa along for the ride. Battles between the French, British, Belgian, German and Portuguese colonial empires pitted Africans against each other on their own soil. Beyond the tens of thousands of African lives lost, migration trends were set, economies transformed, borders redefined.
The World War I in Africa Project is a citizens’ initiative. The task we’ve given ourselves is not to commemorate the passing of the war, but to restore its meaning. The next four years represent a window of opportunity to connect the dots and discuss the knots, to challenge the boilerplate narrative and change the usual narrators.
Harnessing the power of the web and of social media platforms, we want to engage Europeans and Africans alike. By exhuming the photos, propaganda posters, maps and other visuals from former colonial powers, we will unpack what the world think it knows about World War I, and put what it should not ignore right under its nose.
Media contact: Kathleen Bomani
Tel: +1 (347) 674-1914