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The inside story of the struggles of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, referred to by British colonialism as the ‘Mau Mau rebellion’, is little known today. The autobiographical material written by Karari Njama (a senior leader in the Mau Mau hierarchy) and compiled by Donald L. Barnett was first published by Monthly Review Press in 1966, as Mau Mau From Within: An analysis of Kenya’s Peasant Revolt. It was reprinted in 1970; it has remained out of print for many years. As the late Basil Davidson put it in his review of the first edition: “Njama writes of the forest leaders’ efforts to overcome dissension, to evolve effective tactics, to keep discipline, mete out justice … and to teach men how to survive in those merciless forests. His narrative is crowded with excitement. Those who know much of Africa and those who know little will alike find it compulsive reading. Some 10,000 Africans died fighting in those years . Here, in the harsh detail of everyday experience, are the reasons why.”
The book is an extraordinary story of courage, passion, heroism, combined with recounting of colonial terror, brutality and betrayal. It is a story of how the very idea of being ‘Kenyan’ was intimately linked to the idea of freedom, a connection that was destroyed not only by the firepower of the British, but also by those who collaborated and established themselves as the beneficiaries of neocolonial rule. Disconnecting notions of freedom from identity left only a caricature that rapidly descended into tribalism and ethnicity.
This momentous story of the struggle for freedom described here is relevant not only for a new generation of Kenyans but also for all those engaged in emancipatory struggles internationally. For so long as the experiences arising from the struggles described in this book are perceived as merely ‘African’ or ‘Kenyan’, it is not possible to fully grasp the contributions they have made to the struggle for a universalist humanity.
What is recounted in this publication is more than an ‘analysis of a peasant revolt’. It is above all a history of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army. As Ngūgī wa Thiong’o points out in his Preface to this new edition, ‘we don’t have to use the vocabulary of the colonial to describe our struggles.’ We were tempted to rename the book ‘Kenya Land and Freedom Army from Within.’ But because the original title has wide recognition, and and as one of the characteristics of movements of the oppressed is to appropriate derogatory terms used by their oppressors and repurpose them as an expression of pride in their own experiences, this book retains the original title, but with a change in the subtitle as ‘The Story of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.’
We were delighted that Karari Njama was able to provide us with a Prologue to the new edition (Kamoji Wachiira, a former political prisoner, connected us with Karari and translated the text of the Prologue). Shujaa Hon Dr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Secretary-General of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association reminds us how the veterans of the liberation movement, like Karari Njama, continue to live in extreme poverty today despite the enormous contribution that they made to the struggle for freedom.
Kenya’s leading writer and academic, Ngūgī wa Thiong’o, points out in the Preface, how so much of the narratives about the Kenya Land and Freedom Army has been written from ‘without’, emphasizing the importance of a book that speaks to the personal testimony from within the movement. We are honoured to have Mīcere Gīthae Mugo, Emerita Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, provide reflections on the importance of the republication of this historical text. There are many who, as children, lived through the terrifying events of the Emergency during which so many were tortured and killed by the British (and their local collaborators) and whose psyche remains deeply affected by what they witnessed. Kamoji Wachiira describes some of these experiences vividly in his Introduction to the new edition. He highlights the extent of betrayal by successive post-independence governments, and the development of the post-independence revival of resistance which he was a central part of. He also emphasizes the importance for a new generation of Kenyans “to gain not only a deep understanding of Kenya’s revolutionary history but also to reflect on what lessons may be drawn for the struggle to achieve real freedom.”
The original publication had no biographical information about Don Barnett. Few are aware of the extent of Don’s political engagement with the cause of liberation, of which Mau Mau From Within was only one aspect. He was a founder of the Liberation Support Movement in Canada, and had close contact with the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola). Don sadly joined the ancestors in 1975. We are fortunate, however, that Don and Daphne’s son and daughter, Michael Barnett and Dawn Barnett, were able to provide, together with Ole Gjerstad, a revealing biography.
We have endeavoured to retain the content of the original book (but for a few minor corrections) including the original Selected Bibliography. An updated Further Reading list is provided.
There has been a rise in the use of strategic litigation related to seeking equality for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) persons. Such developments are taking place against the backdrop of active homophobia in Africa. The law and the general public should, argues the author, treat LGB persons in the same way that heterosexuals are treated. In the past two decades,30 strategic cases have been ﬁ led by LGB activists in the Common Law African countries, namely in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. While the majority of the cases have been successful, they have not resulted in signiﬁcant social change in any of the countries. On the contrary, there have been active backlashes, counter-mobilisations, and violence against LGB persons, as well as the further criminalisation of same-sex relations and constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriages in some of the jurisdictions. The author argues that activists in Common Law Africa have to design LGB strategic litigation in such a way as to ﬁ t within the actual social and political conditions in their countries if strategic litigation is to spur social change.
Adrian Jjuuko is an exceptional scholar. A rare combination of intellectual brilliance, commitment and hard work. The book is born of this. It reflects his incisive analytical skills, anchored in solid knowledge of the law and jurisprudential developments in the field. His ventures into political theory, philosophy, and the social sciences give the analysis additional clarity and empirical grounding.
—Siri Gloppen, Norwegian political scientist, professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen and Director of the CMI-UiB Center on Law and Social Transformation.
Adrian Jjuuko’s meticulously researched examination of the use of strategic litigation not only celebrates the many victories which have been realized in a range of African courts of law, it also reviews and critiques the losses. He demonstrates that the law can be both an effective tool for liberation, just as it can consolidate minority oppression, gender injustice and sexual tyranny. This book is a deeply engaging and highly recommended text for those interested in shaping the evolving rights and struggles of sexual minorities on the continent for decades to come.
— J. Oloka-Onyango, Professor of Law Makerere University School of Law
Pius Adesanmi died in the doomed Ethiopian Airline flight 302 on March 10, 2019. Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi is an assemblage of 267 original poems written by 127 established and emerging African writers. While some of the poets celebrate Adesanmi, others reflect philosophically on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living. In this memorably textured collection, the poets – some who knew, and some who did not know Adesanmi – exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with passion.
Chris Dunton, editor of Wasafiri, writes:
“… Adesanmi’s passing has been commemorated in a superb anthology of commissioned poems, Wreaths for a Wayfarer. This beautifully produced volume contains the work of 126 contributors, mainly from Nigeria, but also from other countries, ranging from Mexico, through the UK, to Sri Lanka; as Odia Ofeimun puts it in his foreword: ‘Pius Adesanmi was ‘my personal person’, as he was to so many people around the globe’ (xxv). It also includes a selection of poems from Adesanmi’s own collection The Wayfarer.
“Nduka Otiono’s Introduction to the anthology is a model of its kind, eloquent, heartfelt and informative, with a great deal of valuable background material in footnotes. An especially pleasing touch, so much in the spirit of Adesanmi the dedicated mentor, is the editors’ decision to take on ‘budding poets . . . [a decision which] necessitated editing and working with such authors to help develop writings that might otherwise have been rejected’ (7). A little later, Nduka comments: ‘we conceptualized an anthology that will be enduring in its thematic range and stylistic variety. And we got one’ (8). …”
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements |Foreword—Odia Ofeimun | Introduction: Death and an African Digital Towncrier—Nduka Otiono | Introit: Coffin in the sky—Niyi Osundare
Part I. WAYFARER
Scabha or The Sliding Door Operator—Sihle Ntuli | When an Iroko Falls—Iquo Diana Abasi | How to Survive War in Nigeria—Iquo Diana Abasi | I Wet the Earth, I Sing You Wreaths… —Fareed Agyakwah | Harvest IV—Funmi Aluko | Wayfarer—Funmi Aluko | The Wayfarer—Saudat Salawudeen | End of Forever—Saudat Salawudeen | Muse of Homecoming—Justus K. S. Makokha | Encore— Agatha Agema | Now that I know young birds die in flight—Segun Michael Olabode | The Water-Pot is Broke—Susan Bukky Badeji | from absence, memory and farther—Obemata | Umbilicals—Tijah Bolton-Akpan | The Pilgrim Unbound—Clara Ijeoma Osuji | Eclipsed at Noon—Abdulaziz Abdulaziz | To the Daughters— Abdulaziz Abdulaziz | The Traveler—Abiodun Bello | For the Wayfarer—Chifwanti Zulu | The Acts of Brother—’Bunmi Ogungbe | Backing His Daughter: For Pius, on Facebook—Jane Bryce | Avoiding Sunlight—Unoma Azuah | Akáṣọléri ́ (Mourners) —Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún | Last Tweets—Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún | Farewell, Wayfarer—Oyinkansade Fabikun | Solitaire—Kafilat Oloyede | How to Keep the Wake for a Shooting Star—Chuma Nwokolo | Eagle—Uzo Odonwodo | In Memoriam—Uzo Odonwodo | Can You Do This Thing?—Sarah Katz-Lavigne | Lights—John Chizoba Vincent | The Meteorite—Omowumi Olabode Steven Ekundayo | Black Box—Ian Keteku | Paramour of the Pen—Abraham Tor | Flying Coffin—James Onyebụchi Nnaji | Looking for the Dead—James Onyebụchi Nnaji | The Eagle Perched—Moses Ogunleye | A Pius Flight—Kennedy Emetulu | Kwanza for Pius—Ifesinachi Nwadike | Dream-mare—Nidhal Chami | A Walk in the Graveyard—Chimeziri C. Ogbedeto | Payo—Biko Agozino | Iku—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba | He left—Amatoritsero Ede | Spousal Loss—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba | The Face of My Savior is the Ordinary Moment—Gloria Nwizu | Denouement—Gloria Nwizu | A Conversation between Two Young Cousins—Ethel Ngozi Okeke | Sunday Flight—Emman Usman Shehu | Departure—Ivor Agyeman-Duah | The Count—Uthpala Dishani Senaratne | Rude Shock—Olajide Salawu | Saturday 12:56—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza | Daughter—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza | Tough Love—Nnorom Azuonye | In the Midst of it All, I am…—Anushya Ramakrishna | Haiku – Ai-Ku (Immortality) —Adesanya Adewale Adeshina | He Rose—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina | A Singing Bird—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina | Arrivant—Akua Lezli Hope | EarthWork Sestina—Akua Lezli Hope | Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Proboscidea—Akua Lezli Hope | Poem of Relief: When Your Sadness is Alive—Kennedy Hussein Aliu | If I Seek—Kennedy Hussein Aliu | When You Ask me About my Teacher—Kennedy Hussein Aliu and Leyda Jocelyn Estrada Arellano | The Eagle is not the Quills and Talons—Olumide Olaniyan | without a farewell—Nduka Otiono | After the Funeral—Nduka Otiono | Fugitives from the Violence of Truth—Efe Paul-Azino | Just but a Journey—Sam Dennis Otieno
Part II. REQUIEMS
Elegy for Pius—Helon Habila | This Exodus Has Birthed a Song—Echezonachukwu Nduka | where to find you: a requiem—Echezonachukwu Nduka | Blown—Richard Inya | words melt in his mouth—Peter Midgley | Requiem for the Fallen / Mogaka o ole—Lebogang Disele | To Our Hero: Rest in Peace—Lebogang Disele | What Shall We Do to Death?—Winlade Israel | A Star Just Fell—Winlade Israel | Requiem—Peter Akinlabi | Requiem for Pius—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan | Wayfarer—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan | Twirling the Beads of Grief… —Tade Aina | Say me Rebellion—Kingsley L. Madueke | When this Calabash Breaks—Kingsley L. Madueke | Requiem for the Wayfarer—Adesina Ajala | Song of Sorrow—Soji Cole | Planting Season—Anote Ajeluorou | For Our Departed Bard—Maria Ajima | Memory of Tear—Joshua Agbo | Why? —Margaret Wairimu Waweru | Letter to Dad—Margaret Wairimu Waweru | Missing Voices—Ugochukwu P. Nwafor | Tears on Canvas—Wesley Macheso | Nausea—Wesley Macheso | This Easter—Wesley Macheso | When I Am Gone—Maryam Ali Ali | Nothing Has Changed—Maryam Ali Ali | Protest—Ejiofor Ugwu | Our Voice is Gone—Janet James Ibukun | Agadaga Iroko / Giant Iroko—Sunny Iyke U. Okeigwe | This Poetry—James Tar Tsaaior | The Passing of Pius—Uzor Maxim Uzoatu | Light Dims to Shine Forever—Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo | You Bled Africa! —Mitterand Okorie | To the Muse of Isanlu: A Salute—’BioDun J. Ogundayo | you remain with us—Nkateko Masinga | A Bit of Narcissism—Okwudili Nebeolisa | Bereavement—Okwudili Nebeolisa | Dirge for the Departed—Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa | If Only—Femi Abidogun | Falling Birds—Yusuff Abdulbasit | Immortality—Yusuff Abdulbasit | Harvest of Deaths—Yemi Atanda | The Horse and the Tortoise—Yemi Atanda | The Chorus Is Death—Ubaka Ogbogu | Breaking Bread—Obiwu | Still They Hunt for Emmett Till—Obiwu | on wisdom’s wings—Jumoke Verissimo
Part III. HOMECOMING
The Indent (For Pius) —Uche Nduka | when the sun sets—Adejumo Uthman Ajibola | Aridunun Akowe—Dahunsi Ayobami | Pius: Myth, Mystic, Mystery—Tenibegi Karounwi | Returning the Light as Wreath—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka) | Naija is a Badly-Behaved Poem—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka) | Confessions of a Gypsy—Richard Kayode O. James | When the Pious Die—Uchenna-Franklin Ekweremadu | Song of the Pilgrim—Obinna Chukwudi Ibezim | Pius, the Seed—Celina O. Aju-Ameh | Cloud Coffin—Tola Ijalusi | Letter to My Father—Ololade Akinlabi Ige | I Journey Quietly Home—Martin Ijir | Hopeful People—Ndaba Siban | Explaining My Depression to You—Yusuf Taslemat Taiwo | The Broken Quill—Nathanael Tanko Noah | we do not know how to carry this pain—Edaki Timothy. O | Stars, Out—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema | Converging Skies and Shadows—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema | Will You? —Biodun Bamgboye | Farewell—Maryam Gatawa | Transit to Kenya—Anthony Enyone Ohiemi | Abiku Agba—Usman Oladipo Akanbi | Evening Bird—Bayowa Ayomide Micheal | Withered Green—Augustine Ogechukwu Nwulia | Home Call…047—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza | Outshining the Stars—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza | The Eagle Has Fallen—Manasseh Gowk | Farewell—Manasseh Gowk | Death—Khalid Imam | The Flood—Khalid Imam | Blue Skies—Yejide Kilanko | This Very Goodbye—Nseabasi S. J. King | The Deserted Road or Elegy for Pius Adesanmi—Daniel Olaoluwa Whyte | What My Father Said on His Death Bed—Gbenga Adesina | Wayfarer—James Yeku | One Meets Two—James Yeku | First Goodbye—D.M. Aderibigbe | Monster—Afam Akeh | where you are now—Raphael d’Abdon | When the Curtains Fall—Uchechukwu Umezurike
PART IV. A SELECTION FROM PIUS ADESANMI’S THE WAYFARER AND OTHER POEMS
The Wayfarer—Pius Adesanmi | Ah, Prometheus! —Pius Adesanmi | Odia Ofeimun: The Brooms Take Flight—Pius Adesanmi | To the Unfathomable One—Pius Adesanmi | Message from Aso Rock to a Poet in Exile—Pius Adesanmi | Entries—Pius Adesanmi
Part V. POSTLUDE
A Prose-Poem, a Tribute, and a Wreath for Pius—Adesanmi Anu’a-Gheyle Solomon Azoh-Mbi | When and If…—Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith
About the editors
Soundtrack to a Wayfarer s Transition by Eyitayo Aloh https://doi-org.proxy.library.carleton.ca/10.1080/00083968.2020.1829830
“Wreaths for a Wayfarer is an eclectic collection of 161 poems by 126 poets and writers, woven like a tapestry of words into a wreath for one of their own. The mix of writers cuts across generations, social strata and stylistic practices of the genre. Rather than being a drawback, this is actually a strength of the anthology, that one man can bring together such an array of writers in one tome. It is an attestation to the influence of Adesanmi, the wayfarer, on his earthly journey – a man who served as a bridge that connected people from different backgrounds and brought them together for a common cause, be that the academic field of African studies and his desire to see it gain greater traction in academia, or global literature at large and his love of deconstructing the western canonisation of literature. Above all these, however, Adesanmi quintessentially remained a human with love for fellow humans. lt is a testament to Adesanmi’s influence and reach across generations that renowned African poets such as Niyi Osundare, Helon Habila, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Maxim Uzor Uzoatu, Emman Usman Shehu, Jumoke Verissimo and Funmi Aluko, all representing various ethnic and generational divides, share the pages of the collection with up and coming poets in a poetic salute to a wayfarer who also happens to belong to their artistic tribe.
As a collection, Wreath for a Wayfarer fills a gap in the coming to terms with the tragic passage of Pius Adesanmi by his artistic peers. In a culture that has become so material, that the concept of a wreath carries with it the presence of a cadaver and a tomb – neither of which was present at the time Pius died, due to the nature of his death – to have a “wreath” of words helps give Adesanmi’s contemporaries closure and deal with the trauma that accompanied his passing. One of the co-editors, Nduka Otiono, alludes to this in his introduction, pointing out that the poems represent “the collective wreaths laid by a dispersed community of writers unsettled by the untimely loss of Adesanmi.”
Dispossessed is a poetic representation of life in three stages through the eyes of a poet. It shows, from the thematic interests of the poet; what he considers the crucial stages in life – Innocence, Transgression and Atonement.
Innocence offers a racy view of the picture gallery of the poet’s life as a child. The sensibilities of the poet shine through the foliage of his mind as he pines for self-definition; seeking open ears for his verses. But it is also a period of apprenticeship as the poet hones his skills for the artistic long journey that is inevitable. Clothed in the innocence of childhood, he learns to talk in metaphors and search for himself in the community of imaginative people. This search lights up the path into the poet’s aesthetic mindscape and the silent questions that keep him awake. Innocence is therefore a thirst for sunlight; a quest for utterance.
The unwary reader is beckoned into the quest through poems that evoke memories of their own childhood and conscript them into the ensuing communal experience. However, the human condition abhors inertia. But for any form of natural or artistic growth to occur, the poet must lose his innocence. So, Innocence and its poems of idyllic childhood soon give way to the unexpected — Transgression. Transgression is the coming of age segment of the collection. The poet discovers love. And slowly, he finds himself taking a dip in a pool of emotion that appears to serve as the ultimate sparkplug for his songs.
In essence, Transgression eases the reader into a rare observatory; from where the poet could be seen falling in and out of love and celebrating one of the most profound experiences known to man. It must be noted that in some instances, the love poems of Transgression are also not what they seem on the surface. In some instances, the poet addresses his troubled relationship with his country through poetry; mirroring his personal frustrations and disappointment in verses that come off as a voice of disenchantment. Caught in the firm grip of emotions, the poet changes like the English weather.
But after waves of emotional whirlwinds in Transgression, the poet faces the next logical step — Atonement. Atonement presents a poet who has undergone the rites of passage and weaned himself of self-doubts. He has washed his hands clean and must settle down to a fireside dinner with the elders. But as it turns out, the poet is not only seeking the ears of his genealogical ancestors and elders; he is also seeking the counsel of serious poets, past and present whose nod he needs to take on the weighty issues of his time. So, he comes with a “fistful of kolanuts” as is customary with his people who supplicate their elders and ancestors with kolanuts. In gaining entry into this conclave of his biological and artistic ancestors, he acquires the aesthetic authority to ask weighty questions about the world around him. He is incensed by what assails his sensibilities; a world that turns a blind eye to injustice and a humanity that needs an open heart surgery.
Atonement could also be seen as the poet’s personal admission that serious poetry ought to speak to the dominant issues of the day; the anxieties and insomnia of the age. He muses about these issues; posing rhetorical questions in about them in some instances.
In the end, dispossessed is one man’s journey that finally assumes all the attributes of a communal voyage. Treading in the imagined interstices between the personal and the communal, dispossessed leads us to a clearing in the woods where our awareness of our world heightens with the turning of every page.
James Eze was born in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, shortly after the Biafran War. He was the pioneer Literary Editor of Sunday Sun. As Head of External Communications at Fidelity Bank, he worked in partnership with the novelist Chimamanda Adichie to begin her popular International Creative Writing Workshop series. He is the curator of Under African Skies which hosts A Flutter in the Woods; a yearly evening of poetry and songs in Awka, Anambra State. He also co-founded The Return to Idoto, a poetry festival in honour of Christopher Okigbo. His poems have appeared in Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria.
These poems by Issa Shivji, lawyer, activist and Tanzanian public intellectual, were written at different times in different circumstances. They give vent to personal anguish and political anger. Mostly originally written in Kiswahili, here accompanied by English translations, and they are intensely personal and political.
Poems are clustered under several headings to provide a context. The first combines personal agony at the loss of comrades and friends with poems about love and affection for living ones. The second is about robberies of freedom, resources, and dignity and the loss of justice under neoliberalism. The third section, entitled Hopes and Fears, comprises short poems tweeted over the last five years expressing despair, fear and hope in the human capacity for freedom.
The last section are poems, concerned with Shivji’s period in South Africa in 2018, reflect on the emergence of neo-apartheid with its wanton and shameless exploitation of the majority.
Wonderfully translated by Ida Hadjivayanis.
Edited by Íde Corley, Helen Fallon, Laurence Cox
These letters and poems are invaluable fragments of a living conversation that portrays the indomitable power in humans to stay alive in the face of certain death – to stay alive even in death.
Reading through the treasure trove of the letters and poems compiled here as The Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa evokes intense memories of his resolute struggles against an oil behemoth and a deaf autocratic government. His crusade frames one of the most tumultuous periods of Nigeria’s history; his tragic story evokes anger and demands action to resolve the crises that first led the Ogoni people to demand that Shell clean up Ogoni lands or clear out of the territory.
Fanon exhorted us (his posthumous comrades) to abandon Eurocentric thinking and to reconnect with dialectical thought in order as he puts it to “work out new concepts” and he insisted that “if we want humanity to advance a step farther […] then we must invent and we must make discoveries”. I propose to take Fanon at his word and to return to the dialectic as subjective thought rather than as motion of history; as a specific political subjectivity rather than as an objective development. Dialectical thought should be considered as the core feature of any politics of emancipation, a politics that is founded on what is common to humanity, an egalitarian alternative to the existing neocolonial racist capitalist organisation of society.
This book seeks to outline and assess the thinking of emancipatory politics in Africa as it changed in different historical periods. It also contrasts such politics to state political subjectivities which, by their very nature, reproduce given social placements or stated differently the allocation of people to hierarchical locations in society. Emancipatory politics always affirms a rejection of the place allocated to the oppressed and therefore contradicts and transcends the regular state subjectivities embodied in culture which ultimately attempt to justify such placement. Emancipatory politics is exceptional and therefore rare, and it is dialectical because it combines in a contradictory manner the culture of placement from which it emanates with the idea of universal freedom.
Dialectics is not the affirmation of historical necessity; it is a subjective political possibility opposed to (neo)colonial capitalism which has relegated the majority of our population to conditions of perennial impoverishment, oppression and gradual alienation from any Idea of being Human. This work illustrates the fact that dialectical thought has existed in Africa over millennia, with its earliest manifestation being in Ancient Egypt. The text also draws on the universalist content of African proverbs to show the possible dialectical content of African modes of thought, illustrating the emancipatory potential already in existence in some African cultures.
The contemporary attempts at achieving freedom on the African continent – the liberation struggles of the twentieth century – failed fundamentally because they rapidly abandoned any idea of universal humanity and held that emancipation was to be achieved through the medium of the state. It was the desire of the oligarchy that inherited independence to be accepted and integrated into the global capitalist economy for the purposes of state-led ‘development’. The effect, after a short nationalist interlude, was not an inclusive form of ‘nation-building’ but rather the building of a neocolonial state by a Western-oriented oligarchy unable or unwilling to meet the basic needs of its own people. To succeed in this endeavour, the newly independent state retained many oppressive features of its colonial predecessor remoulding them to suit its needs. The book shows how in an overwhelmingly neocolonial context, it is of little consequence to the oppressed masses in Africa whether their political system is formally labelled as ‘democratic’ or not. In fact, given the endemic corruption among the oligarchies in power, military dictatorships can garner mass popular support for shorter or longer periods if they are seen to resist (however mildly) neocolonial domination. The recent examples (early 2020s) of proto-nationalist military coups in Francophone West Africa (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) are cases in point.
This book develops theoretical arguments that redirect intellectual thought away from Euro-American liberal conceptions as well as from neo-nativist fashions and vulgar Marxisms, so as to reassert the importance of latent ‘African potentials’ that are frequently embodied in collective popular statements for rethinking, dialectically, a true politics of emancipation on the African continent.
1) the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt (The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant – 4000 BCE) and Plato (as read by Alain Badiou);
2) Pre-colonial Africa and resistance to slavery: the Donsolu Kalikan (in the Manden/Mali, 1222), the Antonian Movement (in Kongo, 1684-1706) and its continuation in the Lemba Movement, and the Haitian Revolution (undertaken by slaves from Africa),
3) The National Liberation Struggles of the 1960s as thought by Fanon and Cabral, and
4) The mass popular struggles in South Africa during the 1980s.
Valiani has written a beautiful and insightful book of poetry about the birthplace of humanity; ‘the cradle of civilization’, Africa. The poems are gathered into four sections: “Womb”; “Land(s)”; “Tides”; “Wind”. Each section is prefaced by philosophy, findings and artifacts of “Maropeng” which becomes both subject and predicate for this soothing poetry: a lullaby for the soul’s remembering. Candice James Poet Laureate Emerita of New Westminster
Cradles is a collection poems on the nature(s) and nurturing that cradle us. They are divided into four parts: Womb is the first cradle, both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, under-acknowledged and often unmentioned. Beyond the physical womb of individuals, there are collective wombs that incubate on yet grander and greater scales. Land(s) are the cradles we typically identify as our ‘origins’, but as the Cradle of Humankind teaches, the many lands of today are interlaced in many concealed ways and originated in a single, little understood place. Tides are the many migrations and cycles of time that shape us. They can shift, upset and remake the nurturing of cradles; but also cradle us in cycles of wreckage. Wind sets us free of places and times of origin. This detachment can bring freedom, a sense of loss/lostness, and the many things in between. The freedom/loss/lostness spiral whirls with the wind and transforms. In surrendering to it we can alter its pace to our needs and desires.
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.
This collection of essays explores the multifaceted nature of the Amílcar Cabral’s legacy with the specific goal of understanding his relevance to contemporary politics. Ranging from his philosophical arguments about culture and colonialism to more concrete historical explorations of his impact on African American movements in the United States, the book is an accessible and valuable introduction to Cabral’s thought. … As a collection it is a timely one and will be valuable for anyone seeking to be introduced or reacquainted with debates about revolution, colonialism and culture, nationalism, and pan-Africanism. Claudia Gastrow in Feminist Africa
2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, a 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.
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.