Negotiating the German Democratic Republic: Angolan student migration during the Cold War, 1976–90

Marcia C. Schenck
2019 Africa - Journal of the International African Institute  
AbstractThis article traces the experiences of Angolan students who attended East German institutions of higher education between Angolan independence and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Based on oral histories collected in Luanda from twenty-one returned Angolan students in 2015, triangulated with archival material from Angola and the GDR, it argues that students negotiated between accommodation and resistance in their everyday life at the university and beyond. Conscious of the importance of
more » ... emic success and adaptation to the East German learning culture, Angolan students drew a line when regulations infringed on their personal freedom and responded by engaging East German officials in discussion or simply by circumnavigating the rules. The life history of a female student illustrates how she negotiated between responsibility to formal learning and personal needs within a controlling society. When one considers the conditions of Angolan student life in East Germany as a whole, it becomes apparent that the East German notion of the model foreign student did not map onto the complexities of Angolan student lives. This article sheds light on the student migration of a generation of Angolan post-independence technocrats, many of whom studied in the former East during the Cold War. Through the eyes of Angolan educational migrants, we see the limits and possibilities of the lives of foreign students in the GDR.
doi:10.1017/s0001972018000955 fatcat:br5iqqzdnfdsfcfclfytlwrqqy