Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Mobutu’s Loot: Where Will all the Millions Stashed in Switzerland Go to?

Posted in DR Congo, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on April 30, 2009

Returning assets deposited in Swiss banks by the late president of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, to his family would send a ‘terrible signal’, warns a Swiss lawyer. Read an interview with Mark Pieth, professor of criminology at Basel University, who has lodged a ‘citizen’s appeal’ with the Swiss Federal Criminal Court to try to extend a freezing order on Mobutu’s assets, worth SFr7.7 million ($6.68 million), at

It’s Showtime in Conakry

Posted in African Politics, Guinea-Conakry by ruben eberlein on April 26, 2009

After the takeover of a military junta in December 2008 following the death of President Lansana Conté, a lot of things are supposed to change in Guinea. The ruling CNDD under its leader Moussa Dadis Camara moves against the drug traffic, corruption and the misuse of power. At the moment, he enjoys exceptionally huge public support by Guineans after five decades of autocracy under Conté and Sékou Touré. German article here (as pdf). (more…)

La Connexion Berlin-Dakar Provides for Groovy Summer 09 Beats

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Senegal by ruben eberlein on April 24, 2009

108110567Sarabah – Tales from the Flipside of Paradise is the brand new first record of Senegal-born artist Sister Fa (to be released in May by Piranha Musik, read interview here). She lives in Berlin and raps in Wolof, Manding, Jola and French about the life of Senegalese women and soldiers, about Aids, her own experiences, and much more. The twelve songs on her nicely designed CD give us a good idea about the vibrancy of West Africa’s hiphop scene where Western culture and African heritage merge. (more…)

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Scholars Intensely Discussing Zimbabwe Crisis

Posted in African Politics, Zimbabwe by ruben eberlein on April 21, 2009

Mahmood Mamdani’s article Lessons of Zimbabwe in the December 08 edition of the London Review of Books caused a vibrant debate among academics and activists about the country’s land reform, the character of the opposition to Zanu and Mugabe, the role of the war veterans and the general post-colonial history of Zimbabwe. A recent bulletin of Concerned African Scholars assembles several contributions of prominent analysts of Zimbabwe in response to Mamdani.

Afghanistan 2.0? Empire Reluctantly Confronts Somali Badlands

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Somalia by ruben eberlein on April 19, 2009

somparl1Some skinny dudes in flip-flops, shorts, or wrap-skirts messing around with an armada of 21th century roboCops: This is more than a good number of media editors and politicians of the Empire can bear. It‘s time to get tough with piracy and hostage-taking in Somalia is the message of the day. Completely missing in this discussion are the historical trajectories responsible for the formation of a huge badlands at the Horn of Africa where warlords, religious extremists and political entrepreneurs hold a people at ransom. A comment. (more…)

Focus on Human Rights Abuses in Eritrea

Posted in African Politics, Eritrea by ruben eberlein on April 17, 2009

The government of Eritrea ‘is turning the country into a giant prison’, said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, while presenting an extensive report about the political situation in the country. (more…)

South Africa: Companies Will Go on Trial for their Support of Apartheid

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, South Africa by ruben eberlein on April 14, 2009

Last week a court in New York gave the green light for class actions against US and German corporations who dealt with South Africa’s apartheid regime in defiance of UN sanctions. The case could help to expose some of the international backers of white minority rule before 1994. (more…)

‘It‘s important to tell the story of Sierra Leone’

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Sierra Leone by ruben eberlein on April 9, 2009

Rodney P is one of Britain’s leading rappers. In 2005 he recorded a documentary on Sierra Leone. I talked with him in June 2006 about music and its significance for the West African country. Read the interview here. (more…)

Of Subjects, Clients and Citizens

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Reviews by ruben eberlein on April 6, 2009

Patrick Chabal‘s new book, Africa – The Politics of Suffering and Smiling, takes the reader on a journey into the deep structures of political and social action at the continent. A review. (more…)

15 Years after the Rwandan Genocide: Hutu Power and its Friends

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Rwanda by ruben eberlein on April 2, 2009

On Monday, 6 April 2009, 15 years have passed after the launch of the genocide in Rwanda. Commemorations will take place in the Central African country, but also in Berlin and in other cities around the world. Five years ago, I wrote this article about the international dimensions of the mass murders in Rwanda. (more…)