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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Vehicle of sedition: the role of transport workers in Sawaba's rebellion in Niger, 1954-1966
Author:Walraven, Klaas vanISNI
Book title:The speed of change: motor vehicles and people in Africa, 1890-2000
Geographic term:Niger
Subjects:transport workers
opposition parties
Abstract:In 1954 a number of young men in Niger founded a new political party, the Union Démocratique Nigérienne (UDN), whose aim was to fight colonial rule and achieve social transformation. The UDN rapidly developed a mass following, assuming the characteristics of a social movement. This was reflected in the name by which it was greeted by the rural population: Sawaba, or 'relief', deliverance from a situation of misery. This chapter focuses on the role of one particular occupational group - transport workers - in the history of the Sawaba movement. It first describes the occupations grouped under the rubric of transport workers. Then it discusses the rivalry between Sawaba and the PPN-RDA (Parti Progressiste Nigérien/Rassemblement Démocratique Africaine) which led to riots and mob violence in April 1958, during which Sawaba's deployment of lorries was decisive. The next section analyses the role of transport workers, after Sawaba's fall from power, in spreading the party message, building up a clandestine network of intelligence. A concluding section assesses the significance of transport workers as archetypal examples of Niger's 'petit peuple' (semi-urban proletariat) and their contribution to the pursuit of modern politics in both conventional and seditious forms. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]