My review of Jesse Weaver Shipley’s Living the Hiplife. Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music was published by Blätter des iz3w in its June edition. It is a wonderful book which gives an in-depth account of current trends in cultural production and cosmopolitanism in Africa. Read an English translation of the text here. (more…)
Last Saturday, the celebrations on the occasion of 50 years of African Union took place in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia. For most Africans, however, the organisation is of little relevance. A birthday serenade which appeared in the German weekly Jungle World today. (more…)
An interesting and detailed piece by taz author Simone Schlindwein about the takeover and its aftermath in the Central African Republic you should read if you are familiar with German.
Today the book Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land arrived all the way from Kumarian Press in Virginia. Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart claim to do away with some of the myths about the “fast track” land reform after 2000 in the Southern African country, such as that productivity has fallen and that only the elite profited.
If this is really the case and how they describe the fate of farmworkers – in my opinion the most severly affected group – I will explicate in a review due to be published by Konkret in July and later in English at this blog.
What happened to the 50.000 or so ‘militants’ resp. ‘revolutionaries’ after the amnesty programme in 2009 in the Niger Delta? The fate of the leaders of the revolt is well known. Not a small part of them became successful businessmen often in the security industry which raises the question of what is the difference between racketeering and a security contract in the oil-rich south-eastern region of Nigeria. But there have been popular responses, too. Paul U. Ugor describes in the latest issue of “Africa” the proliferation of artisanal oil refineries in Delta state where many young people operate. They see their work as a softer variant of resistance against the corrupt state and multinational oil firms. Worth reading!
The Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) is pleased to announce the establishment of a small research grants competition for African scholars/activists based in Africa and pursuing a political economy agenda. This is a call for applications.
Political activists in Germany are six steps behind again when it comes to discussions about racism and imaginations of Africa and Otherness at large that moved the US and UK, for instance, decades ago. And make the same mistakes again. The debate about “Critical Whiteness” is getting more and more a carneval of identity politics negatively connoted, self-flagellation and victimization. The latest example is the aggressive intervention of political activists at a taz-sponsored event on racism. There is antivenom against this kind of thinking, and it is out for eleven years now: Achille Mbembe’s “African Modes of Self-Writing”, still relevant and already a modern classic. Read it if you don’t know it!
A book that really inspired me recently is Danny Hoffman’s account of the Kamajor militia in Sierra Leone and other groups in Liberia during the wars of the 1990′s/early 2000′s. “The War Machines. Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia” takes the theoretical thinking of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to an African conflict. “Recent trends in the reorganization of global security are laying the groundwork for continued mobilizations of exactly the kind represented by the Mano River War”, writes Hoffman, while calling the conflict a “laboratory of the future”.
I abstained from writing a review because everything is nicely summed up by Mats Utas already. Buy this book and be fascinated by a rare combination of investigative guerilla journalism and innovative theoretical thinking.
A short text of mine on Mali will appear in the next issue of the fine Blätter des Informationszentrums 3. Welt (iz3w), due to be on sale next week. I criticize the view that Mali has been a perfect example of democratization in Africa and rather rate the country as another neo-patrimonial system where a small oligarchy holds power and wealth. The voter turnouts in the last elections (about 35 per cent) speak for themselves when one talks about public enthusiasm for parliamentary democracy. It also shows the completely uninspired approach by the so-called international community which presses for elections soon. For an interesting analysis of the recent conflict with reference to the civil society-industry in Mali visit the webpage of Böll Foundation.