Article 'Spanish influenza in Africa' by Jan-Bart Gewald cited by Nigerian news sites

The article 'Spanish influenza in Africa: some comments regarding source material and future research' (ASC Working Paper 77, open access), written by Jan-Bart Gewald in 2007, was quoted extensively by two Nigerian news websites, PM News Nigeria and Tori news.

In his article Gewald, now Professor of African history at Leiden University and director of the ASCL, wrote about how the Spanish flu of 1918-1920 travelled from England to Sierra Leone, then to Gold Coast (now Ghana) before landing in Nigeria, the same way travellers move around today. Gewald gave a pan-African perspective about the Spanish virus, how it decimated African population in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The virus affected both colonialists and Africans, but the latter living in cramped environment were bigger victims. South Africa lost 300,000 people, 6 per cent of its population to the virus.

As Gewald concludes his article: '[...] all the material and information that can be gleaned from Africa’s past experience of Spanish Influenza can only be of benefit to all of us and cannot simply be ignored.'

Read the original article (published as ASC Working Paper 77).

Photo derived from South African History Online.

Date, time and location

01 April 2020