Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Namibia: Little Reason to Celebrate

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Namibia by ruben eberlein on June 1, 2015

namibiaRead my review of the new book by Henning Melber, Namibia: Gesellschaftspolitische Erkundungen seit der Unabhängigkeit. The author, for a long time connected both to SWAPO and Namibia, takes an unerring look on society, politics and the practices of memory in the country after 25 years of independence. The review was published by Brandes & Apsel just in time for the inauguration of the new president, Hage Geingob, in March 2015. Download my text (German) here,

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Complicate Africa: “Bye bye, Barbar”

Posted in African Politics, Culture by ruben eberlein on January 26, 2015

Here is my text on cultural and social identities in Africa which appeared in the October 2014 issue of Konkret magazine. It is the fifth and final part of a small series on theory and daily life on the continent. I try to explain why ordinary people in Africa use a wide range of different identities in their daily lifes and report on the phenomenon Afropolitanism and the discussions about this concept. You can download the article here (in German).

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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Living and Dying in Kinshasa

Posted in African Politics, Culture, DR Congo, Reviews by ruben eberlein on October 17, 2013

cemetryState1Filip de Boeck’s movie Cemetery State about life at the huge graveyard Kintambo in Kinshasa and the neighbouring slum named Camp Luka is a must-see for everybody interested in modern city-life in Africa. The anthropologist, for a long time acquainted with the capital of the DRC, follows a crew of young men while they take care of the dead in a city that is marked by grotesque disparities and contradictions. In course of their work, they challenge long-standing social hierarchies in their gerontocratic societies. Read my short review of the movie that appeared in the latest issue of Blätter des iz3w (pdf). The film can be ordered here.

Cultural Production in the Neoliberal Periphery

Posted in Culture, Ghana, Global Africa, Reviews by ruben eberlein on June 18, 2013

hiplifeMy 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…)

Critical Whiteness: An Old Critique for a New German Debate

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

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!

Book Review: Politics of Origin in Africa by Bøås and Dunn

Posted in African Politics, Cote d'Ivoire, Culture, DR Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Reviews by ruben eberlein on April 19, 2013

The journal Welt-Sichten, edited in Frankfurt/Main, will publish my review of “Politics of Origin in Africa. Autochthony, Citizenship and Conflict”, written by Morten Bøås and Kevin Dunn, in one of its next issues. An English version of the German text will appear on this blog, so keep connected if you are interested.

Chinua Achebe Calls for Revolution in Nigeria

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on October 19, 2009

a-man-of-the-peopleRenowned writer, Chinua Achebe, has called on Nigerians to rise up in unison and challenge the bad leadership and looting of the country, Next newspaper from Lagos reports. Speaking on Thursday when the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, visited him at his home in Bard College, an elite liberal arts university in the suburbs of New York, Achebe said Nigeria was doomed if its people do not act to halt corruption and ineptitude among its ruling elites.

Nneka: Effusing a Message From Warri, Niger Delta, to the World

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on October 11, 2009

nneka<UK Independent> It’s been four years since Nneka Egbuna emerged from Germany as the gung-ho Nigerian rapper/singer/songwriter with a socio-political bone to pick, and yet she’s still indifferent to fame. “I’m just happy that more than one person listens to me,” shrugs the 27-year-old when asked if she has the desire to break the US now that she’s been recognised by the Mobos as the Best African Act, and Channel O, the premier African music network based in South Africa. “It’s not about being popular. It’s about the love of doing the music. It’s about giving people hope; it’s not about me, it’s not about Nneka herself, it’s about having a voice and it’s about having a message behind the voice.” Full text here. Promo video for Nneka’s latest release here.

About the Incorporation of Identity, the Commodification of Culture

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Reviews by ruben eberlein on September 28, 2009

ethnicityincEthnicity, Inc., the latest publication by John L. and Jean Comaroff, presents comprehensive empirical evidence for one of the latest trends in the Brave New World of neo-liberalism: the commodification of cultural difference and the incorporation of ethnic or national identities. In course of a racy and stirring travel from the Bafokeng in South Africa to the casino capitalism of the Seminole in Florida to Britain, PLC, the anthropologists offer rich material in order to develop their theoretical insights into the working of modern ethno-business and its relationships to global shifts in governance. Read my review of the book in the coming issue of iz3w.