Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Global Counter-Insurgency

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on March 3, 2014

titel03_start-00d3a369Leading German politicians advocate a more ‘active role’ for their country in crisis-ridden zones of the world, also militarily. Think tanks and a number of scientists call for an explicit formulation of interests in Africa. But the current debate on an expanded role especially in Africa already reveals a good part of German interests on the continent: the containment of migration, the roll back of insurgencies and the protection of business opportunities on the ‘continent of chances and growth’ are high on the agenda. Read my text in the latest issue of Konkret (pdf, German).

Nigeria: Boko Haram Exacerbates Its Terror Against Civilians

Posted in African Politics, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on February 22, 2014

BokoHaramThe Islamist sect Boko Haram intensifies its attacks in the North of Nigeria. Not much is known about the structure of the organisation. Read an English version of my text for Jungle World here.

The assailants arrived late afternoon in the small town Konduga near Maiduguri in the Northeast of Nigeria. Mallam Baba Abubakar, an inhabitant of Konduga told the Nigerian daily Vanguard of two armoured personnel carriers, five pick-ups painted in the camouflage colors of the army and five motorcyles. (more…)

Youth in Africa: Caught in a “Social Moratorium”

Posted in African Politics by ruben eberlein on February 5, 2014

Africa’s youth is on the move, it is often said. But where is this journey leading to? In my fourth article for a series on theory and everyday life on the continent for Konkret, I tackle this question with the help of selected literature which focuses on the navigation of young people in the shifting and stormy weather that coins the life in many African countries. You can download the article (German) here.

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Nigeria: Homophobia Rules

Posted in African Politics, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on February 2, 2014

The Nigerian government tightens the laws against homosexuality. Most of Nigerians welcome this step. Read an English translation of my comment that appeared in the recent issue of Jungle World (pdf in German here).


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Tom Lodge: Neo-Patrimonial Politics in the ANC

Posted in African Politics, South Africa by ruben eberlein on January 17, 2014

Politics in Africa is best understood when taking into account both official and highly personalised relationships of those in power. South Africa has long been cited as an exception of this rule. In the latest issue of African Affairs, however, Tom Lodge describes the creeping and rising influence of neo-patrimonial politics within the ANC. A must-read for everyone interested in the Rainbow Nation.

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The Informal Sector in Africa: Obligated to the Patron

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on December 28, 2013

My text about the informal sector, or better the “real economy”, in Africa was published by the weekly Jungle World a week ago. I explain the sheer dominance of the informal with reference to Jean François Bayart’s paradigm of extraversion. You can read the text as html or download a pdf of the page here.

Uganda: Return of the Kings

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Reviews, Uganda by ruben eberlein on November 15, 2013

In 1967, Milton Obote abolished the kingdoms of Uganda. Under Yowery Museveni in 1994, the kings and their royal suite were re-introduced. Raphaela von Weichs wrote a book about the re-establishment of the kingdom Bunyoro-Kitara in the west of Uganda. Read my review of her publication here (pdf) which was published by Welt-Sichten.

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New Wars in Africa

Posted in African Politics by ruben eberlein on November 7, 2013

What is new about the ‘New Wars’ in Africa? In the third part of a small series for Konkret magazine (pdf here), I focus on violent upheavals and long-running wars at the continent, their features and courses. In the end, it is concluded that the confrontations between rebels, warlord troops and the (remnants of the) state can indeed be described as war of gangs, but that this fact should not make us underestimate the importance of ideology.

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Moçambique: Calling the Man with the Suitcase

Posted in African Politics, Mozambique by ruben eberlein on November 1, 2013

mozambique-flagThe anti-communist party Renamo in Moçambique recently terminated the peace accord with the governing party Frelimo. Observers doubt, however, that they are able to translate their war threats into action. Read an English version of my text for the latest Jungle World. (more…)

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Book Review: Foreign Intervention in Africa

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Reviews by ruben eberlein on October 29, 2013

The Cold War between the superpowers has been quite a hot affair in Africa. Millions of people lost their lifes. A new book sheds light on this immediate history. Read the English version of my review which appeared in Konkret 11/13.


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