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.
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.
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.
In January 2003, Kenya was hailed as a model of democracy after the peaceful election of its new president, Mwai Kibaki. By appointing respected longtime reformer John Githongo as anticorruption czar, the new Kikuyu government signaled its determination to end the corrupt practices that had tainted the previous regime. Yet only two years later, Githongo himself was on the run, having secretly compiled evidence of official malfeasance throughout the new administration. Unable to remain silent, Githongo, at great personal risk, made the painful choice to go public. The result was a Kenyan Watergate. Michela Wrong's account of how a pillar of the establishment turned whistle-blower--becoming simultaneously one of the most hated and admired men in Kenya--grips like a political thriller while probing the very roots of the continent's predicament.
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.
Soraya was just fifteen, a schoolgirl in the coastal town of Sirte, when she was given the honor of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Colonel Gaddafi, "the Guide," on a visit he was making to her school the following week. This one meeting--a presentation of flowers, a pat on the head from Gaddafi--changed Soraya's life forever. Soon afterwards, she was summoned to Bab al-Azizia, Gaddafi's palatial compound near Tripoli, where she joined a number of young women who were violently abused, raped and degraded by Gaddafi. Heartwrenchingly tragic but ultimately redemptive, Soraya's story is the first one of many that are just now beginning to be heard. But sex and rape remain the highest taboo in Libya, and women like Soraya (whose identity is protected by a pseudonym here) risk being disowned or even killed by their dishonored family members. In "Gaddafi's Harem," an instant bestseller on publication in France, where it has already sold more than 100,000 copies in hardcover, "Le Monde" special correspondent Annick Cojean gives a voice to Soraya's story, and supplements her investigation into Gaddafi's abuses of power through interviews with people who knew Soraya, as well as with other women who were abused by Gaddafi.
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.
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.
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.
An award-winning investigation that has been called the most important piece of journalism in post-apartheid South Africa, Murder at Small Koppie delves into the truth behind the massacre that killed thirty-four platinum miners and wounded seventy-eight more in August of 2012 at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa's North West province. News footage of the event caused global outrage; however, it captured only a dozen or so of the dead. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winner Greg Marinovich focuses on the violence that took place at Small Koppie, a collection of boulders where a second massacre took place off-camera and in cold blood. Combining his own meticulous research, eyewitness accounts, and the findings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, Marinovich has crafted a vivid account of the tragedy and the events leading up to it. By taking readers into the mines, the shacks where the miners live, and the boardroom, Marinovich puts names, faces, and stories to Marikana's victims and perpetrators. He addresses the big questions that any nation must ask when justice and equality are subverted by conflicts around class, race, money, and power, as well as the subsequent denial and finger-pointing that characterized the response of the mine owner, police, and government. This is a story that is both stirring and accurate.
As poverty and unemployment deepen in contemporary South Africa, the burning question becomes, how do the poor survive? This book provides a compelling answer. Based on intensive fieldwork, it shows how many African households are on the brink of collapse. That they keep going at all can largely be attributed to the struggles of older women against poverty. They are the fulcrum on which household survival turns. This book describes how households in two different areas in KwaZulu-Natal are sites of both stability and conflict. As one of the interviewees put it: "We eat from one pot and should always help each other." Yet the stability of family networks is becoming fragile because of the enormous burden placed on them by unemployment and unequal power relations. Many of the households are extremely poor, relying on a total monthly income of less than R800. People live on little more than maize meal, tea and sugar. However, the book also demonstrates that they are not passive victims of poverty. Women, in particular, show impressive qualities of energy and resourcefulness. They engage in a number of informal sector activities, and many are active in a range of faith, and community and home-based care associations
Hailed as "a monumental history . . . more exciting than any novel" (NRC Handelsblad),David van Reybrouck’s rich and gripping epic, in the tradition of Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Epic in scope yet eminently readable, penetrating and deeply moving, David van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the fate of one of the world's most critical, failed nation-states, second only to war-torn Somalia: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Van Reybrouck takes us through several hundred years of history, bringing some of the most dramatic episodes in Congolese history. Here are the people and events that have impinged the Congo's development—from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic regime of King Leopold II; from global indignation to Belgian colonialism; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu's brutal rule; and from the world famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today. Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals—charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China—to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.
The humanitarian tragedy in Darfur has stirred politicians, Hollywood celebrities and students to appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Beyond the horrific pictures of sprawling refugee camps and lurid accounts of rape and murder lies a complex history steeped in religion, politics, and decades of internal unrest. Darfur traces the origins, organization and ideology of the infamous Janjawiid and other rebel groups, including the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. It also analyzes the confused responses of the Sudanese government and African Union. This thoroughly updated edition also features a powerful analysis of how the conflict has been received in the international community and the varied attempts at peacekeeping.
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 masterful, haunting debut set during the tumultuous beginnings of Zimbabwe that explores the creative--and often destructive--act of history-making.
Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist. As a result, millions have died, economies are in shambles, and whole states are on the brink of collapse. Political observers and policymakers are starting to believe that economic aid is not the key to saving Africa. So what does the continent need to do to throw off the shackles of militant rule? African policy expert George Ayittey argues that before Africa can prosper, she must be free. Taking a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Ukraine's orange revolution in 2004 to Iran's Green Revolution last year, he examines what strategies worked in the struggle to establish democracy through revolution. Ayittey also offers strategies for the West to help Africa in her quest for freedom, including smarter sanctions and establishing fellowships for African students.
Why, twenty years into the crisis, are democratic governments performing so poorly in tackling AIDS in Africa? De Waal argues that existing approaches are driven by interests and frameworks that fail to engage with African societies' resilience and creativity. Already, African communities have confounded some of the worst predictions of disaster. If adequately supported, they will find ways of sustaining development and democracy in the midst of HIV/AIDS.
Africa has been coveted for its riches ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew fortune-seekers, merchant-adventurers, and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other valuable minerals. Land was another prize. The Romans relied on their colonies in northern Africa for vital grain shipments to feed the population of Rome. Arab invaders followed in their wake, eventually colonizing the entire region. More recently, foreign corporations have acquired huge tracts of land to secure food supplies needed abroad, just as the Romans did. In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future. His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures--among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known. "I speak of Africa," Shakespeare wrote, "and of golden joys." This is history on an epic scale.