Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
September 29, 2023
Aperture takes on Accra. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“I used to carry your great legacy in my conscience and on my shoulders, and I walked with arrogant pride and I had a certain pride that I did not deny.
“Whoever sees me and sees the radiance of light that I bear as a mark on my features must know — without asking me where I am from — that I am your daughter.”
– Libyan poet Mahbuba Khalifa on Derna
Combatting terrorism in Somalia
Next steps in Niger
The UN is sending mixed signals in its dealing with Niger. Riva Levinson argues that Africa is at the front of saving democracy. Nicholas Westcott explains why coups have returned to Africa and what can be done about it. France will end its military presence in Niger. Mbaye Bashir Lo argues that nothing good comes of France. Could France’s withdrawal from Niger jeopardize counterterrorism operations in the Sahel? What is France’s Africa policy under Macron?
War in Sudan
US foreign policy in Africa
This US Africa strategy panel with leading experts on US foreign policy toward Africa emphasizes that Africa will be at the center of the future of the international community. The African Diaspora Engagement council is a cool new US Government initiative. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit Angola, Djibouti, and Kenya.
Xenophobia in South Africa
South African anti-migrant vigilante group registers as political party for next year’s election. Watch this documentary for more. The victimization of foreigners has a long history in the country. It is rearing its ugly head again.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Kenya has pledged 1,000 police officers to help combat gang activity in Haiti. South Africa’s support for Russia is rooted in misplaced nostalgia. This report surveys the supply of surveillance technology in a number of African countries. No commissions are apolitical in South Africa. Mangosuthu Buthelezi casts a long shadow over the country. Learn more about the missing people of Nigeria’s war on terror. This event covers what is going on in Zimbabwe. Are big democratic reforms possible?
Derna, the “city of poets” in Libya, pays a heavy price after the floods. Populists are instrumentalizing violence in the Eritrean diaspora. Dauti Kahura argues that politics in Kenya is a chance for personal enrichment. Nigerian and South Sudanese filmmakers are documenting the story of migration and the struggle for belonging.
And this is how Africans wrote their own history.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
This is a must-read article about how the expansion of Kampala is contributing to land conflicts and divisive politics. These factors are central to my ongoing book project the contentious politics of African urbanization.
Cities need solutions to integrate migrants. Lucy Earle explains why the international community is failing urban refugees. This article discusses plug-in urbanism and the politics of infrastructure in African cities. Machine learning can help uncover where and when buildings collapse. This piece analyzes customary land conversion in African cities. Eugenie Birch and James Mensah outline alternative energy sources in Accra’s informal settlements. Egypt is evicting the dead and exhuming the living as it tries to build “modern” cities. Ride Lagos’ new Blue Line with Ope Adetayo. Are Ghana’s indigenes becoming homeless in their own homeland?
RIP John Turner
RIP John Turner, a tireless and very important advocate for bottom-up, incremental approaches to building housing and neighborhoods, especially for self-help initiatives and autonomy in informal settlements. I am heavily influenced by his work, and my article “Building permanence: fire outbreaks and emergent tenure security in urban Ghana” borrows from this tradition.
This article focuses on the women who are raising children fathered by UN peacekeepers in the DR Congo. This looks cool: Jesse Weaver Shipley’s Routes of Rebellion. Antonia Witt examines African Union identity. Check this out: Navigating Womanhood in Contemporary Botswana.
The week in development
Nigeria needs to overcome youth unemployment. Abosede Babatunde argues that local food culture can help address declining food production in the Niger Delta. This is how West Africa can gain more profit from the global chocolate market. Informal trade needs support, not more red tape, in South Africa. Nearly 2.4 million Ghanaians might suffer from mental illnesses. This map shows Chinese loans to Africa. Aid theft in Somalia is not what you think.
Africa and the environment
Climate refugees need full recognition. The Africa Climate Summit was a positive step forward for dealing with climate change. Ghana’s Akufo-Addo calls for more climate support and debt relief at the UN.
Kehinde Wiley creates these portraits of 11 former and current African heads of state. Makola’s Market Queens. A few great new cookbooks: The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson and Simply West African by Pierre Thiam with Lisa Katayama. A tribute to Somali musical legend Axmed Naaji. On the new Ghanaian architecture. Exploring the biography of South African writer Lauretta Ngcobo. RIP John Saul, a revolutionary socialist.
Taking care of each other in Nairobi.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil