CFP: Journal of African Military History - Special Issue: New Perspectives on the Impact of the Second World War on Southern African Society

Charles Thomas's picture

Current historiography on the involvement of Southern Africa in the Second World War generally remains fragmented. Furthermore, the historical focus, more often than not, is placed on the contributions of the individual constituent parts of the region, like former Rhodesia, rather than focusing on the region itself in a holistic sense. Moreover, the various home fronts within the Southern African region remain primarily neglected by historians who tend to focus on the operational deployment of forces of the distinct political entities in the broader African continent and further afield.

Recently, a new crop of local historians in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia, has begun to challenge the habitual status quo in historical writing by consciously moving away from the antiquarian ‘drum and trumpet’ approach toward a more focused view of the impact of war on society. Accompanying this recent trend, historians within Southern Africa have also begun to study the war from a fresh regional perspective, slowly transcending the former remnants of the divided colonial past. Thus, they are gradually departing from the more traditional approach of studying the former dominions, colonies, and protectorates on the imperial periphery, each in isolation of one another.

Despite these developments, key areas of the Southern African domestic experience and contribution made by the home front to the broader imperial war effort in the war remain understudied. Particularly as an idiosyncratic collective aimed at providing a more comprehensive regional view of the impact of war on society with a distinct Southern African flavour. This state of affairs persists despite the wealth of primary source material preserved at archival depots across the region and abroad.

This special issue will offer a fresh academic perspective on the impact of the Second World War on Southern African society while at the same time uncovering varied aspects of the region which have received little or no previous scholarly attention.

We are particularly interested in contributions exploring:

- Politics, participation and alliances;

- Recruitment, mobilisation and manpower;

- Medicine, veterans and demobilisation;

- Labour, industry and wartime economies;

- Gender, masculinity, and the role of women;

- Resistance, political activism and interment;

- Propaganda, espionage and counterintelligence;

- Coastal defence, seaborne commerce and the naval war;

- Legacy, commemoration and historical memory;

The special issue will consider articles submitted in English.

If you are interested in proposing a paper on these or any other topics, please contact Dr Evert Kleynhans ( or Anri Delport (

Abstracts should be submitted by 31 October 2021, with completed essays due by 31 July 2022.

Scholars interested in editing future special issues should contact the journal’s managing editors, Roy Doron and Charles G Thomas at and