This Week in Africa
March 18, 2022
Making our way through March. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Francis Kéré's entire body of work shows us the power of materiality rooted in place. His buildings, for and with communities, are directly of those communities – in their making, their materials, their programs and their unique characters.” – Pritzker committee jury statement
Kenyatta and Odinga are now allies in Kenyan politics. Elite cohesion is a crucial aspect of the electoral game. But William Ruto will not back down, and is blaming the government of taking on too much debt. The allure of political power is grand.
Politics in Tanzania
Constricting public space in Rwanda
The disappearance of poet Innocent Bahati casts a global spotlight on Rwandan government’s intolerance of dissent. Human Rights Watch reports that judicial authorities are prosecuting opposition members, journalists, and commentators on the basis of their speech and opinions.
Struggle for rights and freedom
What is the future of the ANC? Why is being pro-Russia still seen as taking an anti-imperialist stance? Derek Peterson explains how Charles Njonjo was a ruthless defender of entrenched inequality. Learn more about how Pentecostalism is taking over the world, including Africa. Read the investigation of the horrific killing of three MSF aid workers in Tigray. This is an interesting piece about the role of language in the Cameroon crisis.
Europe has rediscovered compassion for refugees – but only if they’re white. Europe has a double standard. Burkina Faso has become the epicenter of the conflict in the Sahel. Tim Longman discusses the history of Burundi on this podcast. This is an interesting piece about why Nigerians stayed or left South Africa during periods of xenophobic violence.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Check out Duncan Money’s encyclopedia entry on the history of the Copperbelt. This is a helpful overview of governance in African cities. I look forward to reading Biruk Terrefe’s “Infrastructures of Renaissance: tangible discourses in the EPRDF’s Ethiopia.” Cape Town remembers its worst drought in history.
Check out Decolonising State and Society in Uganda. The Security Arena in Africa is out in paperback. Make sure to read Patience Mususa’s book There Used to be Order: Life on the Copperbelt after the Privatisation of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (she discusses the book here). This looks useful: Intergovernmental Relations in Divided Societies. Translating Food Sovereignty: Cultivating Justice in an Age of Transnational Governance has a beautiful cover.
This looks like an interesting article: “The ‘marketplace of post-conflict assistance’ in northern Uganda and beyond.” Sarah Balakrishnan’s “Building the Ancestral Public: Cemeteries and the Necropolitics of Property in Colonial Ghana” is fascinating. “MOLINACO, the Comorian Diaspora, and Decolonisation in East Africa's Indian Ocean” is out. Check out Paul Friesen, Jaimie Bleck, and Kevin Fridy’s article on personality, community, and politics in northern Ghana. Read Anouar Boukhars and Catherine Lena Kelly’s article on comparative perspectives between linkages of violent extremism and organized crime in Africa.
Great APSA pre-conference workshops
The American Political Science Association meeting is in Montreal in September 2022. One of the exciting recent developments is the emergence of pre-conference workshops focused on a specific theme. For many years, I’ve participated in the Research Development Group for early career scholars from African institutions. I’ve also organized several around comparative urban politics (I am organizing it this year). Here are the calls of three that might be relevant for Africanists:
APSA-APCG Research Development Group for early career scholars from African institutions on “Political Trust in Africa’s Age of Coronavirus and Coups.” Due April 10.
Comparative Urban Politics workshop on “Political Mobilization in 21st Century Cities: Resistance, Reform, Renewal.” Apply here by April 15.
The week in development
Ghana bakers feel the heat of rising inflation. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. Africa must learn to compete with dominant Chinese firms. Uganda’s new parish model tries development at the grassroots. Guinea’s junta wants to preserve its interest in the Rio Tinta mining project. The shift to electric cars is contributing to the global demand for cobalt, and Chinese mining companies are facing new competition and resistance from African governments. Recovering from the pandemic opens an opportunity for tax reform. Cote d’Ivoire mobilizes $88 million to combat rising food prices.
Africa and the environment
West Africa’s climate nightmare is already here. A historic drought looms for millions in the Sahel. Low rainfall pushes part of southern Africa into food insecurity. Climate change leads to higher prices for chocolate. This piece discusses how to manage existential risk for climate resilience in Nigeria. Seychelles is Africa’s biodiversity hotspot. Kenya’s coffee is threatened by climate change.
Francis Kéré wins the Pritzker
Burkina Faso’s Francis Kéré won Architecture’s top prize this week. This is the first time a black architect won the award. His work “empowers and transforms communities through the process of architecture,” and uses local tools while emphasizing homegrown uniqueness.
Gaddo joins The Continent! A tribute to photographer Sumaya Sadurni. She was dedicated to dignity, care, and empathy. Rebuilding Mogadishu: lots of tall buildings. All aboard: Visit the Uganda Railway Museum. Yum: Roasted Leeks with Egusi and Parsley dressing. Cameroon bans shisha smoking. Racism, Finland style.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil