Despite the fact that Africa has had its share of conflicts in the last decade, there has been a general trend towards greater democracy and better governance. As recent events in the Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt, and currently in Libya show, however, the potential for further conflict remains very much a part of Africa’s reality. For Alfred Nhema and Paul Zeleza, both respected African scholars, understanding why conflicts in Africa occur is essential to their resolution and prevention.
Ayitteh offers a way out for Africa to get rid of its ‘leaky begging bowl’ by advocating a return to the indigenous economic systems castigated before by the elites as backward and primitive. He argues that Africa’s indigenous systems have a long history of free trade and free markets that can be harnessed along with increased investment, both foreign and domestic.
Edkin’s book, Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of the Empire in Kenya, is the product of nearly a decade’s research. It paints a picture of British colonial rule in Kenya that is deeply at odds with the supposed colonial mission to pacify and civilize the African indigenous people.
Moyo shot to international prominence with her first book, Dead Aid, which was published in 2009 by Penguin. Two points can be made from the book – one, Aid is not working for Africa and two, there is another way apart from aid. This way is what Moyo calls the Dead Aid proposal.
In The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, published by Free Press in 2005, Meredith offers an overview of the continent’s history that is both readable and illuminating, starting from the independence era of the fifties and sixties.
Wangari Maathai is a woman of the ‘firsts’. She was the first African woman to earn a PHD and to head a University Department in her native Kenya, and she later became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Published in 2007 by William Heinmann, Unbowed: One Woman’s Story is Maathai’s account of her life journey.
Aili Mari Tripp draws parallels between Museveni’s Uganda and similar regimes elsewhere in Africa and reflects on the implications for institution building. In particular, she raises concern about the impact that hybrid regimes have on the judiciary, opposition and civil society. How can donors keep from entrenching such systems?
The book, one of many on Nelson Mandela, distinguishes itself by providing a comprehensive, albeit concise look at Mandela’s personal and political life. At 136 pages, it is very readable, and a recommended introduction to readers wanting to learn about Mandela and his struggle to free his country and people from the Apartheid regime.
In this autobiography, Kariuki reflects on his fifty years in Kenyan politics, the ups and downs, and what he perceives to be his contribution. Ultimately, the book is an interesting and important commentary on Kenya’s political history – though somewhat biased given that it’s told from one man’s perspective.
John Garang and the SPLA is Shimanyula’s account of the life of John Garang and an insightful look into the movement that he founded. The writer compares John Garang to the Biblical Moses who received God’s call to lead tribes of Israel.