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Every couple of years, an inspired group of people, led by the editors of AwaaZ Magazine (www.awazmagazine.com), organise a festival in Nairobi, Kenya, that goes by the name ‘SAMOSA’—South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts— bringing together different communities through art, music, dance, film and discussions. In 2016, during the 7th biennial event, included was a colloquium organised in collaboration with the Department of Literature of the University of Nairobi. This unique collection of essays considers the issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in Kenya through an examination of literature, film, music, and theatre, providing reflections on women, statelessness and refugees.
A pleasant quick read on a complex subject of citizenship, identity and belonging. Ignites an interest in these issues as expounded in the arts and film. —Dr George Gona, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Nairobi.
This excellent compilation of papers by leading Kenyan academics, writers, public intellectuals and practitioners of various forms of art focuses on issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in literature, film, music and theatre. They cover a vast range of subjects that tell the story of Kenya’s past and present. —Ramnik Shah- Kenyan ex-lawyer who writes on migration and diaspora related subjects.
Muu-So is a story of creation. “To those willing to carry the clay pot, Muu, will be given the power balance and a sense of justice” proclaims the supreme deity, Maa Ngala Ba.” They will be named Muu-So, the pot carriers.” The story of creation has diverse interpretations across the world. This new story comes from the Sahel where one of the oldest civilisations once prevailed. It is a tale of the beauty of the process of creation and how it is also necessary to closely care for and love that which we are responsible for.
The book is aimed 5-12 years of age.
Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa gained global popularity among students, scholars, activists and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy transformed the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past. Because it stridently took the traditional historians and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also pilloried by the defenders of the status quo. And, in these neoliberal times, mainstream scholars and pundits proclaim that it is no longer relevant for Africa.
In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting the path towards genuine development for its people. After giving a broad picture of Rodney and his times, Hirji examines in detail the criticisms levelled against his work, and conducts a focused review of modern day textbooks on African history. It is seen that most of the claims against Rodney lack a sound basis and that direct representations of his ideas are replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias. Yet, the long term influence of Rodney on African history is unmistakable.
Hirji’s succinct, coherent defence of an intellectual giant who lived and died for humanity is an essential read for anyone with an interest in Africa and related regions.
You can read this book online for free.
Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (HEUA) gained global popularity among progressive students, scholars and activists, and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy was a prime contributor to shifting the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past as well as for visualizing its possible trajectory. Because it stridently took the traditional historians of Africa and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also vociferously criticized by the defenders of the status quo.
In these neoliberal times, its visibility has waned. Mainstream scholars and pundits from and outside of Africa proclaim that it is no longer a relevant work for Africa. In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting a path towards genuine development for the people of Africa.
Hirji considers Rodney in his unitary persona as a historian, theoretician and activist. He begins by outlining the publication history and contents of HEUA, and noting the comments it has drawn from varied quarters. This is followed by a depiction of the global context within which it saw the light of the day and the flowering of progressive thought and vision in those vibrant times. The retrogressive reversal, in thought and social reality, that has transpired since then is summed up next. An assessment of how HEUA has weathered this storm is also provided.
The next chapter presents a brief portrait of Rodney as a revolutionary, with the focus on his seven years at the University of Dar es Salaam. This is followed by an overview of the methodological framework utilized in HEUA.
These five chapters lay the foundation for the main substantive part of Hirji’s book. This part begins with a detailed evaluation of the criticisms that have been levelled at HEUA. Subsequently, by a review of eight textbooks of general African history in common use today is provided. The aim here is to assess the persistence, if any, of ideas of the type promoted by Rodney in such books and identify the manner in which HEUA is directly depicted therein. Do these books give an adequate and fair depiction of Rodney to modern day students?
The penultimate chapter argues for the continued relevance of Rodney and his seminal text for Africa (and the world) in this anti-people, pro-capital, pro-imperial neoliberal era. Hirji concludes with a lively account of his own interactions over six years with Walter Rodney. With the focus on the issue of building socialism in Tanzania, a key dimension in the evolution of Rodney’s thinking is described in a critical spirit. The fundamental question addressed is, in our often dark, demoralizing political environment, what do Rodney and his life have to teach us on the matter of navigating between hope and struggle?
The conclusion emerging from this book is that in the first place most of the criticisms of the content, style and practical value of HEUA lack merit. The representation of Rodney in mainstream books is as well replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias.
Despite these misrepresentations, Rodney and his ideas retain their signal value for understanding African history, for engaging with its present day conditions, and for projecting distinctive future scenarios for the continent. Hirji’s succinct work is a consistent, coherent defence of an intellectual giant, an astute historian and a compassionate revolutionary who lived and died for humanity. It is an essential read for anyone with an interest in African history, and the fate of Africa and the regions that are historically related to it.
Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy
Karim F Hirji
1. The Book
2. The Global Context
3. A Grand Reversal
4. Rodney, the Revolutionary
5. Rodney and Historiography
6. Criticisms of the Book
7. Rodney in the Classroom
8. Contemporary Relevance
9. Hope and Struggle
Major Writings of Walter Rodney
La présente publication du Réseau Pas de REDD en Afrique (No REDD in Africa Network) a pour but de démystifier le REDD, les projets de type REDD et toutes leurs variantes, et de montrer ce qu’ils sont vraiment : des mécanismes injustes conçus pour lancer une nouvelle phase de colonisation du continent africain. Les exemples présentés démontrent clairement que le REDD est une escroquerie et que les pollueurs savent qu’il leur permet d’acheter le « droit » de polluer.
First published in 1978, and winning the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize for that year, Finding a Voice established a new discourse on South Asian women’s lives and struggles in Britain. Through discussions, interviews and intimate one-to-one conversations with South Asian women, in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and English, it explored family relationships, the violence of immigration policies, deeply colonial mental health services, militancy at work and also friendship and love. The seventies was a time of some iconic anti-racist and working-class struggles. They are presented here from the point of view of the women who participated in and led them.
This new edition includes a preface by Meena Kandasamy, some historic photographs, and a remarkable new chapter titled ‘In conversation with Finding a Voice: 40 years on’ in which younger South Asian women write about their own lives and struggles weaving them around those portrayed in the book.
A great interview with Amrit Wilson in Montreal Serai (October 4, 2020).
‘This book is a wonderful, important and necessary reminder of all the black feminist work behind us and all that is left to do.’ —Sara Ahmed, feminist writer and independent scholar, and author of Living a Feminist Life
‘Finding a Voice acquires a new significance in this neoliberal era…an indispensable archive as well as a narrative of a past that is not past but reactivated and recast…’ —Kumkum Sangari, William F.Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
‘A ground-breaking book, as relevant today as it was in the seventies – and evidence, if ever such were needed, that the struggles of Asian, African and Caribbean women remain inextricably linked.’ —Stella Dadzie, founder member of OWAAD and author of Heart of the Race
‘Finding a Voice… was affirmation that our lives mattered, that our experiences with all their cultural complexities, mattered.’ —Meera Syal, British comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actress.
‘This new edition comes at a time…when we are experiencing the growth of the surveillance state and when our narratives are being co-opted and used against us. Finding a Voiceis not only welcome, it is necessary.’ — Marai Larasi, Director, Imkaan; Co-Chair of UK’s End Violence Against Women Coalition.
Amrit Wilson is a writer and activist on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. She is a founder member of South Asia Solidarity Group and the Freedom Without Fear Platform, and board member of Imkaan, a Black, South Asian and minority ethnic women’s organisation dedicated to combating violence against women in Britain. She was a founder member of Awaz and an active member of OWAAD. She is author, amongst other books, of Dreams Questions Struggles—South Asian women in Britain (Pluto Press 2006) and The Challenge Road: Women and the Eritrean revolution (Africa World Press 1991). The first edition of Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain won the the Martin Luther King Jr award.
It is the impact of oppression, racism and class which unifies South Asian women and the book comes at a time where we see the continued rise of the far right, misogyny, issues of class and the gig economy here and across the globe being played out in the media and perpetuated by male leaders going unchallenged by the state.
These new voices confirm how groundbreaking the book has been as a reference point for south Asian women now through listening to the voices of women from four decades ago, honouring their contribution and speaking in solidarity with them. As Wilson says in her introduction, it “reclaims our collective past as an act of resistance.”
An excellent read.
‘Reclaiming our collective past’: Amrit Wilson reflects on 40 years of anti-racist feminist work
By Sophia Siddiqui ARCHIVESPOLITICS 30th October 2018
The essays here contribute to developing and deepening an understanding of the ecological challenges ravaging Nigeria, Africa and our world today. They illustrate the global nature of these terrors. These essays are not meant just to enable for coffee table chatter: they are intended as calls to action, as a means of encouraging others facing similar threats to share their experiences.
Set out in seven sections, this book of 54 essays deals with deep ecological changes taking place primarily in Nigeria but with clear linkages to changes elsewhere in the world. The essays are laid out with an undergird of concerns that characterise the author’s approach to human rights and environmental justice advocacy. The first section rightly presents broad spectrum ecological wars manifesting through disappearing trees, spreading desertification, floods, gas flaring and false climate solutions.
You can read this book online for free.
The second section zeroes in on the different types of violence that pervade the oil fields of the Niger Delta and draws out the divisive power of crude oil by holding up Sudan as a country divided by oil and which has created a myriad of fissures in Nigeria. The exploitation of crude oil sucks not just the crude, it also sucks the dignity of workers that must work at the most polluting fronts.
Section three underscores the need for strict regulation of the fossil fuels sector and shows that voluntary transparency templates adopted by transnational oil companies are mere foils to fool the gullible and are exercises in futility as the profit driven corporations would do anything to ensure that their balance sheets please their top guns and shareholders. The fourth section builds up with examples of gross environmental misbehaviours that leave sorrow and blood in a diversity of communities ranging from Chile to Brazil and the United States of America.
Section five of the book is like a wedge in between layers of ecological disasters and extractive opacity. It takes a look at the socio-political malaise of Nigeria, closing with an acerbic look at crude-propelled despotism and philanthropic tokens erected as payment for indulgence or as some sort of pollution offsets.
The closing sections provide excellent analyses of the gaps and contortions in the regulatory regimes in Nigeria. It would be surprising if these were not met with resistance on the ground.
These essays provide insights into the background to the horrific ecological manifestations that dot the Nigerian environment and the ecological cancers spreading in the world. They underscore the fact there are no one-issue struggles. Working in a context where analyses of ecological matters is not the norm, decades of consistent environmental activism has placed the writer in good stead to unlock the webs that promote these scandalous realities.
Beyond the critique of neo-liberalism, there is therefore a pressing need to reflect about alternatives that will help Africa back out of this dead-end and find its own path. This is the perspective adopted by this book edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla, which compiles contributions of experts on Africa’s development issues. Can democracy help to achieve the changes that Africans aspire to? If yes, under what conditions? Otherwise, what is the alternative?
Edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla
The engaging and wide-ranging discussions published here explore contemporary political realities in Africa through a ‘social movement’ lens.
Detailing the nuances of social movement politics in 12 West African countries during the 2010-2013 period, they present a chronicle of the socio-political struggles that have taken place in the region. In so doing, this volume answers key questions related to these movements. What logic drives them? What forms do they take? What has been their political impact? Can we speak of a resurgence of social movements? If so, are these a response to the crisis of ‘representative democracy’? Did they give rise to new forms of expression and democratic participation? What challenges do they bring?
Discontent vis-à-vis liberalism in its political and economic dimensions seems to be the trigger of the numerous popular uprisings and protests that occur in the region. In spite of their ambiguities and limitations, these struggles currently seek to remove a double disconnect: that between citizens and the ‘representatives’ and that between the economy and society, between what capital wants and what the people aspire to.
Ndongo Samba Sylla, the editor of this volume, is a Senegalese economist, programme and research manager at the West Africa Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Author of The Fair Trade Scandal. Marketing poverty to benefit the Rich (translated from French by Pluto Press 2014), he is the editor of “Rethinking Development” (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation 2014). His recent research work deals with the history of the word ‘democracy’.
Ibrahim Abdullah – Souley Adji – Kojo Opoku Aidoo – Francis Akindès – Alpha Amadou Bano Barry – Fernando Leonardo Cardoso – Lila Chouli – Modou Diome – Moussa Fofana – Cláudio Alves Furtado – George Klay Kieh Jr – Claus-Dieter König – Severin Yao Kouamé – Fodé Mane – Issa N’Diaye – Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem – Ndongo Samba Sylla
Edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla
This volume is a compendium of analytical contributions focusing on recent political developments (2014-early 2015) in West Africa. Major events are reviewed, ranging from the popular uprising in
Burkina Faso, which put an end to Blaise Compaoré’s regime after 27 years in power, to the crisis raging in northern Mali, the human tragedy associated with the Ebola epidemic and the adoption of economic emergence plans by many States in the region. A special focus was placed on the issue of State sovereignty over policies and resources, as well as the role of social movements. Despite the cyclical perspective adopted in the contributions, the underlying message is that West Africa is currently standing at a crossroads. The question is whether the region’s States will collectively manage to implement the necessary changes to meet the expectations of their respective peoples, which are primarily made up of youths whose patience is wearing thin in the wake of three decades of political and economic liberalisation.
Ibrahim Abdullah * Mamane Sani Adamou * Coffi Cyprien Aholou * Francis Akindès * Alpha Amadou Bano Barry * Fernando Leonardo Cardoso * Lila Chouli * Modou Diome * Elieth Eyebiyi * Cláudio Alves Furtado * George
Klay Kieh Jr. * Issa N’Diaye * Abdoulaye Saine * Ndongo Samba Sylla * Mary Akosua Torgbe * Joseph Koffi Nutefé Tsigbé * Seydina Ousmane Zina
Edited by Demba Moussa Dembele and Carlos Cardoso
This book is based on a conference held in October 2012, African Countries and the Franc Zone: Remaining in the Trap or Opting for Monetary Independence. It reviews the global context, characterized by the systemic crisis of capitalism and the questioning of its legitimacy in several regions of the world, particularly in the global South. It provides an overview the challenges of economic and monetary emancipation; the consequences of the Franc Zone and its implications for the development of African countries, including the analysis of the latter’s economic and social record; and reviews the experiences of countries that gained their monetary sovereignty and the lessons for the creation of a West African currency.
In addition to providing the proceedings of the conference, the book includes essays by Nicolas Agbohou, Sanou Mbaye, Demba Moussa Dembele, Mohamed Ben Omar Ndiaye, Yash Tandon and Lansana Keita.
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, revolutionary, poet, liberation philosopher, and leader of the independence movement of Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde. Cabral’s influence stretched well beyond the shores of West Africa. He had a profound influence on the pan-Africanist movement and the black liberation movement in the US.
In this unique collection of essays contemporary thinkers from across Africa and internationally commemorate the anniversary of Cabral’s assassination. They reflect on the legacy of this extraordinary individual and his relevance to contemporary struggles for self-determination and emancipation. The book serves both as an introduction, or reintroduction, to one whom global capitalism would rather see forgotten. Understanding Cabral sheds light on the necessity of grounding radical change in the creation of theory based on the actual conditions within which a movement is attempting to develop. Cabral’s theoretical ideas and revolutionary practice of building popular movements for liberation are assessed by each of the authors as critically relevant today. His well-known phrase “Claim no easy victories” resonates today no less than it did during his lifetime. The volume comprises sections on Cabral’s legacy; reflections on the relevance of his ideas; Cabral and the emancipation of women; Cabral and the pan-Africanists; culture and education; and Cabral’s contribution to African American struggles. A selected bibliography provides an overview of Cabral’s writings and of writings about Cabral.
Senai Abraha * Makungu M. Akinyela * Kali Akuno * Samir Amin * David Austin * Ajamu Baraka * Jesse Benjamin * Angela Davis * Demba Moussa Dembélé * Jacques Depelchin * Mustafah Dhada * Jean-Pierre Diouf * Miguel de Barros *Aziz Fall * Grant Farred * Bill Fletcher Jr * Mireille Fanon-Mendès France * Hashim Gibril * Nigel C. Gibson * Patricia Godinho Gomes * Lewis Gordon * Adrian Harewood * Augusta Henriques * Wangui Kimari * Redy Wilson Lima * Ameth Lo * Richard A. Lobban, Jr * Filomeno Lopes * Brandon Lundy * Firoze Manji * Perry Mars * Bill Minter * Explo Nani-Kofi * Barney Pityana * Maria Poblet * Reiland Rabaka * Asha Rodney * Patricia Rodney * Carlos Schwarz * Helmi Sharawy * Olúfémi Táíwò * Walter Turner * Stephanie Urdang * Chris Webb * Nigel Westmaas * Amrit Wilson
Críticas da obra:
“Uma provocante crítica à extração contemporânea dos recursos (talvez mais adequadamente, “exploração” dos recursos) na África Subsariana. Na sua convincente análise, e em momentos abrasadora, Bassey apresenta uma critica cativante e abrangente da crise social e ambiental que se vive na África” – Chatham House
“De escravos a diamantes e passando pelo petróleo, há muito que os países mais consumistas têm vindo a pilhar a África a seu bel-prazer. Bassey explica muito bem como tudo isso tem vindo a acontecer, frisando bem o que procura a África: Justiça. Leia a obra e junte-se ao apelo de Bassey” – Annie Leonard, autora d´A estória das coisas
“Um livro que explica, de forma perspicaz e eloquente, o que a África pode fazer para travar as novas formas de colonização exacerbadas pelo caos das mudanças climáticas” – Pablo Solon, ex-embaixador da Bolívia nas Nações Unidas
“É uma obra que, a par da forte denúncia que faz da ganância e do saque da riqueza africana, apresenta perspetivas de esperança” – Camilla Toulmin, presidente do Instituto Internacional de Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente
“A África e o seu ambiente. Com um estilo refrescante, o autor torna as suas ideias extremamente acessíveis. Um dos mais proeminentes ambientalistas da África, faz uma análise abrangente dos desafios que enfrenta o continente, inspirando as pessoas a agir.” – David Fig, Presidente da Biowatch South Africa e autor do Staking Their Claims
“Para aqueles que ainda estão sépticos dos efeitos das mudanças climáticas, este livro vai deixa-los não apenas incomodados e preocupados, mas também motiva-los a fazer alguma coisa” – Nigerian Compass
O nigeriano Nnimmo Bassey é arquiteto, ativista ambiental e escritor. Foi presidente dos Amigos da Terra Internacional (Friends of the Earth International) de 2008 a 2012 e Diretor Executivo da Ação pelos Direitos Ambientais (Environmental Rights Action) durante duas décadas. Em 2009, foi nomeado “Herói do Ambiente” pela revista Time e, em 2010, foi co-vencedor do prestigiado Right Livelihood Award (considerado o Prémio Nobel Alternativo). Em 2012, ganhou o Rafto Prize. É atualmente diretor da Fundação Health of Mother Earth, uma organização ambientalista de reflexão e advocacia.
The worst form of slavery is to willingly offer yourself on the auction block, get bought and pretend you are free. This is what participation in the mechanism called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) is.
This publication by the No REDD in Africa Network aims to demystify REDD and REDD-type projects, and all their variants, and show them for what they are: unjust mechanisms designed to usher in a new phase of colonization of the Africa continent. From examples presented, it is clear that REDD is a scam and the polluters know that they are buying the “right” to pollute.
The No REDD in Africa Network warns that REDD may be the ultimate wedge to crack open the door for the invasion of the African continent with genetically modified crops and trees. Furthermore, REDD threatens to take over soils, water (blue carbon) and entire eco-systems. It may also rekindle the culture of colonial plantation agriculture infamously called ‘cash cropping’. In Africa, REDD is emerging as a new form of colonialism, economic subjugation and impoverishment, and must be stopped.