African politics has long been characterized as driven by the engine of violence. But today, violence is being overtaken by a new force: popular protest. Cities throughout the continent, from Tunisia and Egypt, to Uganda and Sudan, to Nigeria and Senegal, have seen uprisings by youth and unemployed, as well as organized labour, civil society activists, writers and artists, and religious groups. What is driving this new wave of popular protest in Africa? Drawing on interviews with activists in a number of countries, Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly offer a penetrating assessment of contemporary African protests, situating the current popular activism within its broader historical and continental context. Melding analyses of Africa's incorporation into the global economy, the failure of African governments to truly democratize, the behaviour of opposition forces both formal and informal, and the role of African popular culture, the authors provide essential insight into understanding African politics at today's key juncture.
The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan (by Luke A. Patey)
In the past decade, the need for oil in Asia's new industrial powers, China and India, has grown dramatically. The New Kings of Crude takes the reader from the dusty streets of an African capital to Asia's glistening corporate towers to provide a first look at how the world's rising economies established new international oil empires in Sudan, amid one of Africa's longest-running and deadliest civil wars. For over a decade, Sudan fuelled the international rise of Chinese and Indian national oil companies. But the political turmoil surrounding the historic division of Africa's largest country, with the birth of South Sudan, challenged Asia's oil giants to chart a new course. Luke Patey weaves together the stories of hardened oilmen, powerful politicians, rebel fighters, and human rights activists to show how the lure of oil brought China and India into Sudan--only later to ensnare both in the messy politics of a divided country. His book also introduces the reader to the Chinese and Indian oilmen and politicians who were willing to become entangled in an African civil war in the pursuit of the world's most coveted resource. It offers a portrait of the challenges China and India are increasingly facing as emerging powers in the world.
The Bonds of War is the story of two boys, whose lives intersect in the middle of a war that ravages Africa's heartland. Using the first-person narrative to powerful effect, The Bonds of War relives their story of unimaginable violence, suffering, cruelty and survival. The narrator, Jean Baptiste (JB) and his friend forge an unlikely bond as they fight to survive the madness around them. In this ambitious work of historical fiction, Wambalye Weikama delivers a fresh perspective that goes beyond the surface of what we know about the Rwandan genocide and the civil war it sparked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the heart of the story are many deep questions that bring us to reflect on the long term effects of violence, the resilience of the human spirit, and the promise of young love.
EXCUSE ME! is a collection of humorous essays and keen observations about being Nigerian by Victor Ehikhamenor. Touching on politics, love, immigration, as well as other broad subjects, the book successfully weaves a satirical narrative around contemporary African experience.
a Guma's powerful, firsthand account depicts the dedicated South African people who risked their lives in the underground movement against apartheid. The main characters, Beukes and Elias, are among others determined to undermine apartheid's blatant oppression and demeaning tactics. The author's knack for rich descriptions and weaving the past with the present transports readers to the grind of working in an underground political organization and the challenges of confronting hardships, change, and injustice on a daily basis.
One of "Kirkus Reviews'" Best Books of 2009 -- The people of Uganda have long struggled to bury the worst of their history, but after the violent reign of Idi Amin, reminders were never far from view. In 2000, lawyer Duncan Laki came across a clue to his father's 1972 disappearance, and the ensuing search ultimately led him to a shallow grave -- and then to three old soldiers, including Amin's military chief of staff. Laki's discovery resulted in a trial that, in the end, offered all Ugandans the reckoning they had long been denied. A detective story, a tale of fathers and sons, and a political history, this is above all an illumination of the wounded societies of modern Africa and an exploration of how -- and whether -- the past can ever be lain to rest.
Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of Continental Catastrophe (by Gerard Prunier)
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D sir Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world.
The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth (by Tom Burgis)
The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other “emerging markets” have transformed their economies, Africa’s resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world’s reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world’s population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent. In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa’s new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline. This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa’s past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa’s resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different. In 2010, fuel and mineral exports from Africa were worth $333 billion, more than seven times the value of the aid that went in the opposite direction. But who received the money? For every Frenchwoman who dies in childbirth, 100 die in Niger alone, the former French colony whose uranium fuels France’s nuclear reactors. In petro-states like Angola three-quarters of government revenue comes from oil. The government is not funded by the people, and as result it is not beholden to them. A score of African countries whose economies depend on resources are rentier states; their people are largely serfs. The resource curse is not merely some unfortunate economic phenomenon, the product of an intangible force. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. Like its victims, its beneficiaries have names.
Emerging Africa - How the Global Economy's 'Last Frontier' Can Prosper and Matter (by Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Ph.D)
In this thoughtful and elegantly written book, Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu explodes the myths and conventional wisdoms about Africa's quest for economic growth in a globalised world with a paradigm-shift perspective on the continent's future. Masterfully deploying arguments grounded in philosophy, economics and strategy across a range of subjects; from capitalism to transformation agendas, finance to foreign investment, and from innovation and human capital to world trade, he demonstrates persuasively how Africa's progress in the 21st century will require nothing short of the reinvention of the African mind.
Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (by Greg Mills)
State failure takes many forms. Somalia offers one extreme. The country's prolonged civil war led to the collapse of central authority, with state control devolving to warlord-led factions that competed for the spoils of local commerce, political power, and international aid. Malawi, on the other hand, is at the other end of the scale. During President Bingu's second term in office, the country's economy collapsed as a result of poor policies and Bingu's brand of personal politics. On the surface, Malawi's economy seemed largely stable; underneath, however, the polity was fractured and the economy broken. In between these two extremes of state failure are all manner of examples, many of which Mills explores in the fascinating and profoundly personal Why States Recover. Throughout he returns to his key questions: how do countries recover? What roles should both insiders and outsiders play to aid that process? Drawing on research in more than thirty countries, and incorporating interviews with a dozen leaders, Mills examines state failure and identifies instances of recovery in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. For anyone interested in the reasons behind states' failure, and remedies to ensure future economic stability, it is important reading.
The first sub-Saharan African to hold the position of Secretary-General, Annan has led an extraordinary life in his own right. His idealism and personal politics were forged in the Ghanaian independence movement of his adolescence, when all of Africa seemed to be rising as one to demand self-determination. Schooled in Africa, Europe, and the United States, Annan ultimately joined the United Nations in Geneva at the lowest professional level in the still young organization. Annan rose rapidly through the ranks and was by the end of the Cold War prominently placed in the dramatically changing department of peacekeeping operations. His stories of Presidents Clinton and Bush, dictators like Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe, and public figures of all stripes contrast powerfully with Annan's descriptions of the courage and decency of ordinary people everywhere struggling for a new and better world. Showing the successes of the United Nations, Annan also reveals the organization's missed opportunities and ongoing challenges--inaction in the Rwanda genocide, continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and the endurance of endemic poverty. Yet Annan's great strength in this book is his ability to embed these tragedies within the context of global politics, demonstrating how, time and again, the nations of the world have retreated from the UN's founding purpose. From the pinnacle of global politics, Annan made it his purpose to put the individual at the center of every mission for peace and prosperity.
A personal biography of global statecraft, Annan's "Interventions" is as much a memoir as a guide to world order--past, present, and future.
The path to progress in Africa lies in the surprising and innovative solutions Africans are finding for themselves Africa is a continent on the move. It's often hard to notice, though--the western focus on governance and foreign aid obscures the individual dynamism and informal social adaptation driving the last decade of African development. Dayo Olopade set out across sub-Saharan Africa to find out how ordinary people are dealing with the challenges they face every day. She found an unexpected Africa: resilient, joyful, and innovative, a continent of DIY changemakers and impassioned community leaders."" Everywhere Olopade went, she witnessed the specific creativity born from African difficulty--a trait she began calling "kanju." It's embodied by bootstrapping innovators like Kenneth Nnebue, who turned his low-budget, straight-to-VHS movies into a multi-million dollar film industry known as Nollywood. Or Soyapi Mumba, who helped transform cast-off American computers into touchscreen databases that allow hospitals across Malawi to process patients in seconds. Or Ushahidi, the Kenyan technology collective that crowdsources citizen activism and disaster relief." The Bright Continent" calls for a necessary shift in our thinking about Africa. Olopade shows us that the increasingly globalized challenges Africa faces can and must be addressed with the tools Africans are already using to solve these problems themselves. Africa's ability to do more with less--to transform bad aid and bad government into an opportunity to innovate--is a clear ray of hope amidst the dire headlines and a powerful model for the rest of the world.
Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War (by Leymah Gbowee, Carol Mithers)
"WINNER OF THE 2011 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE" "I""n a time of death and terror, Leymah Gbowee brought Liberia's women together--and together they led a nation to peace." As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country--and shattered Gbowee's girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts--and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia's ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace--in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. "Mighty Be Our Powers" is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.
Economic growth does not demand a secret formula. Good development examples now abound in East Asia and farther afield in others parts of Asia, and in Central America. But why then has Africa failed to realise its potential in half a century of independence? This book shows that African poverty is not because the world has denied the continent the market and financial means to compete: far from it. It has not been because of aid per se. Nor is African poverty solely a consequence of poor infrastructure or trade access, or because the necessary development and technical expertise is unavailable internationally. Why then has the continent lagged behind other developing areas when its people work hard and the continent is blessed with abundant natural resources? Stomping across the continent and the developing world in search of the answer, Greg Mills controversially shows that the main reason why Africa's people are poor is because their leaders have made this choice.
A former Africa editor for The Economist, Robert Guest addresses the troubled continent's thorniest problems: war, AIDS, and above all, poverty. Newly updated with a preface that considers political and economic developments of the past six years, The Shackled Continent is engrossing, highly readable, and as entertaining as it is tragic. Guest pulls the veil off the corruption and intrigue that cripple so many African nations, posing a provocative theory that Africans have been impoverished largely by their own leaders' abuses of power. From the minefields of Angola to the barren wheat fields of Zimbabwe, Guest gathers startling evidence of the misery African leaders have inflicted on their people. But he finds elusive success stories and examples of the resilience and resourcefulness of individual Africans, too; from these, he draws hope that the continent will eventually prosper. Guest offers choices both commonsense and controversial for Africans and for those in the West who wish Africa well.
Renowned worldwide, as novelist and dramatist, Ngugi wa Thiongo's contributions to the body of critical writing on African literature, politics and society have been highly significant. His best known critical work is Decolonising the Mind, which since publication in 1986 has profoundly influenced other writers, critics, scholars and students. These latest essays reflect Ngugi's continuing interests and enthusiasms. His choice of writers is original. He makes us look again at their novels to address his lifelong concerns with the ways to independence, the meanings of colonialism and the takeover by neo-colonialism, and the functions of literature in political as well as literary terms. They will appeal not only to his international band of supporters. They will also introduce his views to young people discovering African and Caribbean literature.
Throughout the centuries, Africa has concealed multiple secrets, waylaying and confounding the unwary. Today, as economists, politicians, experts and the cognoscenti from within and outside the continent seek to "fix" Africa and its perceived problems, the need to understand its mysteries has never been greater. Africa's future tells the tale of Africa's economic evolution, providing unique prisms through which to view the continent's panoramic story - ultimately one of triumph over the influences of nature and over multiple political tragedies. It explains how Africa in effect went backwards for one and a half thousand years, from the Roman Empire to 1500 CE. Only in more recent times has Africa gradually begun to evolve and grow, to the point at which its modern and archaic economies uneasily coexist today. Modern Africa has developed diverse economic pathways to betterment - yet survivalist economies still litter the landscape. The continent's paradox of "subsistence with many faces" is manifested in its tiny middle class, its growing numbers of rich, and the ever-greater numbers of poor expected in the future.
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.