Postcolonial studies and ‘new imperial histories’ have, thus far, often given more attention to South Asia, the Middle East and indeed to former imperial metropoles than they have to Africa. The idea of Africa has been tantalizing to the West since Homer imagined the flight of the Greek gods from mount Olympus to Africa, there to feast with the blemishless Ethiopians. Memory refers to those traces of past experience present in the consciousness of every human being, which provided the essential but problematic basis for the sense of personal identity, as well as the constraining or enabling basis for future action. The setting up of western-type universities in Africa on the eve of independence marked a significant milestone in what African scholars came to regard as the recovery of African initiative.