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This Week in Africa
July 14, 2023
Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is on it: the term “precolonial Africa” implies Africa never existed. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“When I was growing up, I never read a book set in Ho. So in some ways it’s a statement. It’s me saying: there's this place, and it’s important, and it’s beautiful. It’s something to live into adulthood and not read a single book about where you grew up. So to me, its essential and, in some ways, its for all the people who have never seen themselves on the pages, who have never seen their hometown on the pages, especially children, because reading about where you’re from is like seeing yourself for the first time.” – Peace Adzo Medie on her book Nightbloom
Violence in Sudan
Omdurman has become the epicenter of the new fighting in Sudan’s war. Another town in Darfur is destroyed amid escalating tension in the region. A mass grave was discovered in Western Darfur, with the bodies of at least 87 people that were killed by the Rapid Support Services. This piece emphasizes the external actors present in the Sudan conflict, especially UAE and Saudi Arabia. UAE opens Chad field hospital to support Sudanese refugees. For important historical context, check out Ordinary Sudan, 1504–2019.
Bayan Abubakr reminds us that Sudan will not be left for dead.
Protests in Kenya
Kenya’s opposition organized demonstrations to protest the rising cost of living. Thirteen people were killed, and 53 children were hospitalized after police fired tear gas into their class. The country searches for cash to pay its debts.
Howard French takes on the pernicious delusion of colorblind policymaking. Adom Getachew and Jennifer Pitts show another side of W.E.B. DuBois. Gabrielle Lynch presents six moments that shaped Kenya’s post-colonial politics. Check out the Wilson Center’s series “Africa in Transition.” Where are Africa’s philosopher kings?
Struggle for rights and freedom
This is a harrowing account of the migrant attacks in Tunisia. Anima Adjepong explains the lies behind the anti-LGBTQ bill in Ghana. Anti-gay anger is neither Christian nor African. Justin Pierce explains how painted messages in Angola’s abandoned liberation army camps offer a rare historical record. Zimbabwe stops pretending to be a democracy as the government cracks down on opposition. A new gender law more than doubles number of female lawmakers in Sierra Leone. Eight people die after boat capsizes off the coast of Senegal. Learn more about historical migrations in Africa.
The Wagner Group’s next steps in Africa are uncertain. Wagner represents political excess and the African condition. Ethiopia still needs to be held accountable. Meanwhile, Rwanda plays a growing security role in the Central African Republic.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
This will be great: Frontiers in Comparative Urban Politics Research. This is a nice review of Chandan Deuskar’s excellent book Urban Planning in a World of Informal Politics. This article examines urban residence and elevated blood pressure among migrant women in South Africa. On the “soft privatization” of public space in Nairobi. I am excited about the forthcoming Controlling the Capital: Political Dominance in the Urbanizing World.
This looks cool: “City occupied: A neighbourhood-based comparison of informal land occupations in Bogota, Cape Town and Sao Paulo.” How can Johannesburg create inner-city jobs when COVID money ends?
The bicycling history of Uganda.
Maghreb Noir: The Militant-Artists of North Africa and the Struggle for a Pan-African, Post-Colonial Future looks great (thread here). Check out Ben Ali’s Tunisia: Power and Contention in an Authoritarian Regime.
APSA Virtual Research Meeting
The American Political Science Association will host the APSA Virtual Research Meeting, an inaugural online event, taking place February 8 and February 9, 2024. This two-day event provides a forum for scholars interested in sharing their research, providing constructive feedback for others, and creating partnerships and networks for future collaboration. Sections and committees can submit a request to host a Research Group by July 18. The submission should include a research group title, research group leader names and emails, and a description of the research group.
The week in development
J-Pal’s African Scholars Program is a great opportunity for African researchers. A new kind of disaster aid: Pay people cash before disaster strikes. Zambia and bondholders advance $3 billion debt restructuring talks. Botswana houses one thousand business leaders for US-Africa summit. Learn more about the economic history of the Central African Republic. This piece examines Tanzania’s gas boom that never was. Ghana passes law to allow industrial production of cannabis. Masive corruption undermines South Africa’s railway network. South Africa gets $1.5 billion finance toward water fund. Where do Kenyans live?
And sign this petition to express your support for young researchers working on sustainable development as the Swedish Government cuts research support.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil