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  • The imperative of Utu / Ubuntu in Africana scholarship

     


    Written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, this publication celebrates the birth of Black studies as a liberated academic zone. Professor  Mũgo reflects upon the significance of Africana studies, specifically within the context of America’s predominantly White universities, revisiting the hers/his/torical context that birthed Black studies as a field of knowledge. She reflects on the ownership of knowledge, its production, dissemination and custodianship while proposing utu/ubuntu as imperatives in defining transformative education. The hypothesis and heart of the argument is that knowledge and scholarship can either be colonizing, alienating and enslaving; or, alternatively, they can be conscientizing, humanizing and liberating, creating new human beings with the agency to transform life and the world, for the better. The latter constitutes what Professor Mũgo calls utu/ubuntu rooted-scholarship which, she argues, should define Africana studies, research and scholarship, all of which needs to have both a mind and heart. This should be the mission and vision that led to the birth of Black Studies as an academic. She dismisses the false myth of dominating, colonizing and imperialist cultures that claim to have a monopoly of knowledge and whose purpose is to justify the dehumanization of the conquered, the attempted erasure of their knowledges, heritages and ultimately, entire cultures.

    The essay urges us to reflect on a number of critical questions: What is the objective of Africana research and general search for knowledge? In whose service are teaching, research work and publications by Africana scholars? Do their conference papers bring any Africana knowledge systems to the round table of ideas? Is the knowledge they produce liberating and humanizing, or for the advancement of careerist ambitions? What does Black scholarship contribute towards what Paulo Freire called the ‘dialogical education for problem solving’?


    It is hard not to be effusive about the author of this pamphlet. Let’s just say it loud: Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo is a legend in her own time. And ours. Ours because, as she would say, paraphrasing universal African wisdom: without us, there is no her. From her native Kenya, a source to which she returns continually for yet more ancient wisdom; to Zimbabwe, where she once found refuge on being forced to flee her native land in the face of political persecution; to the United States of America, to which she eventually emigrated; and beyond, way beyond, Professor Comrade Sister Mugo has been a lodestar and wonder—in the academy and in the community, locally and globally. This pamphlet is a discursive offering to Africana studies, a notebook on a field of study born of struggle, student-led struggle. The organizing principle is Utu-Ubuntu, the universal African moral conception centered on the paramountcy of the soul over material accumulation. It is a stinging rebuke to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, heterosexism and all the other antihuman isms, Utu-Ubuntu. Here, indeed, is an Africana studies manifesto, one that should be required reading for all students of the field, in and out of the academy. She never ceases to educate, to enlighten, to energize—this soul sister, this scion of Utu-Ubuntu, this magnificent struggler in the cause of African vindication and human liberation, Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo. — Michael O. West, Professor of African American Studies; History; African Studies, Penn State University

    An insightful essay that insists that Africana research and scholarship has “to have both mind and heart” to be truly emancipatory — for that is the essence of the meaning of Ubuntu and of Utu, the Swahili equivalent. That is the basis for challenging the dominant colonizing cultures that seek to dehumanize our people. The inimitable Micere Mugo forces us to think about the purpose of teaching and research: whose interests do they serve? — Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    An excellent celebration of the contribution of Utu/Ubuntu – African Indigenous Knowledge – to Africana scholarship by Professor Micere Mugo, an icon of Africana Studies. This epistemological imperative for the creation of ‘liberated academic zones’ advances the post-modern and critical theory traditions, while firmly establishing Africa’s unique contributions, not only to Africana Scholarship, but also to the Global Academy and to humanity. — Filomina Chioma Steady, D.Phil. (Oxon.) Professor Emerita and Former Chair, Africana Studies, Wellesley College

  • Politics, Democratization and Academia in Uganda: The Case of Makerere University

     

    The value of this brilliant, thoroughly researched, and vigorously written book extends far beyond Makerere University and the case study of its academic union that is a central feature. The authors raise questions applicable to universities worldwide: the meaning of “democracy” for members of the academy, the relationship of the university to government, and the responsibility of academics and the media to the society that they ostensibly serve. Makerere’s failure to advance gender equity is the main focus of one chapter and a leitmotif in several others. A probing and sometimes personal analysis of the Law School, with which all the authors are associated, complements its contribution to the cause of democracy in Uganda. At once reflective and challenging, the authors invite further exploration by academics and policy-makers around the world.
    Carol Sicherman author of Becoming an African University: Makerere, 1922-2000 (2005), Professor Emerita, Lehman College, City University of New York

    Penned by brilliant legal academics, this anthology about that African academic giant—Makerere University—takes the reader on a fascinat- ing and engaging journey about the history of the organizational expression of African intellectuals and their links to the democratic struggles in Uganda. Arguably the best text on academia I have read in a long time, the book provides a deeply examined and superbly chronicled account of the manner in which Makerere University has been a thorn in the side of successive dictatorial governments, while also unpacking the warts that threaten to blight the academy; simply magnificent!
    Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    This is a very valuable and a timely contribution to our understanding of sites of struggle in African countries. It focuses on Makerere University as a site of struggle for democratisation. The authors have done a marvellous job. If the sister universities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were to produce studies, we would have a veritable trilogy of struggles at our universities in East Africa.
    — Issa G Shivji, Professor Emeritus of Public Law & First Julius Nyerere Professor of Pan-African Studies, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Alma mater to presidents, public intellectuals and pundits of all disciplines, Makerere University has attracted considerable scholarly and popular attention, both in respect of its prominence and achievements, as well as with regard to its failures and foibles.  As the oldest (and arguably best-known) university in Uganda and the wider eastern and central Africa region, Makerere looms large in the history of higher education on the continent.

    This book explores the relationship between a public university of unique historical importance and the contestations over democratization that have taken place both within campus and beyond.  It is pivoted around the late-20th century struggles by university staff and students for improved living conditions against the backdrop of the early programs of structural adjustment and economic reform pursued by the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) government adopted soon after taking power in 1986.

    Although seemingly introverted in focus, in many respects these efforts represented the earliest forms of political resistance against a regime of governance that promised a great deal, but disappointingly delivered considerably less.  Collectively, the chapters demonstrate that there is neither a single narrative nor a textbook formula about the relationship between the academy and democratic struggles.  Instead of forcing an unsupported and false consensus on the definitive role of Academia in politics, the book seeks to stimulate a robust debate on the subject.

     


    CONTENTS

    Preface by Hon. Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa

    1. Introduction: The Academy and Political Struggle in Uganda J. Oloka-Onyango
    2. The Role of Academia in the Democratization Process Benson Tusasirwe
    3. For whom doth the Academic bell really toll? Unpacking the engagement of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in Uganda’s Democratization struggles Maria Nassali
    4. Intellectuals and the Fourth Estate: Analyzing the Coverage of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in the Ugandan Media (1989-2020) Ivan Okuda
    5. Between Activism and “Hooliganism”: Civic Engagement and Democratic Struggles in Makerere University Students Guild Dan Ngabirano
    6. Juggling the Personal and the Political: The Case of Female Academics at Makerere University Sylvia Tamale
    7. Contending with the past and building for the future? The Paradoxical contribution of Makerere University School of Law to dictatorship and democratization in Uganda Busingye Kabumba
    8. Conclusion: The Political Economy of University Education: Revisiting democratic alternatives for Makerere and Uganda Frederick W. Jjuuko

    Contributing Authors

  • Lenin150 (Samizdat): 2nd expanded edition

    You can purchase the printed version of this book at the Lulu Bookstore.

    The pdf can be downloaded from this page.


    Adam Mayer celebrates a new volume on the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Lenin 150 Samizdat has a sheer diversity that takes one’s breath away. Authors young and old, queer and old-style Marxist-Leninist, women and men write about Lenin’s work, history and legacy in an anthology that also includes many African and Black voices. Mayer argues that this rich collection proves that Leninism is alive and well. Review of African Political Economy

    Lenin 150 Samizdat is delightful in form and very rich in content. Just as each contributor has found something of value in Lenin, each reader will find a fresh breath in Lenin for today’s struggles. As Joffre-Eichhorn writes in his introduction, ‘no breath, no revolution’, so ‘let’s strap [Lenin] on our backs and go on marching’. Yağmur Ali Coşkun, https://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviews/19487_lenin150-samizdat-by-hjalmar-jorge-joffre-eichhorn-patrick-anderson-and-johann-salazar-eds-reviewed-by-yagmur-ali-coskun/

     

    For all the official historiographic efforts at forging a mythologised image of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov as the austere, no-nonsense, professional revolutionary, the really existing flesh and blood Lenin understood and appreciated that the most materialist action an individual must carry out without fault to metabolise the struggle for communism is to breathe. Not just biologically respire but consciously breathe. Breathe for oneself and breathe for and with others. If it is indeed our desire to breathe new life into the long choking red star, a new oxygenic Communist politics of walking and breathing is what we must aspire to, inspire, respire and encourage.

    Lenin150 (Samizdat) seeks to contribute to the re-kindling of the communist attractor by engaging, in the spirit of critical solidarity, with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in the year of his 150th anniversary. Conceived out of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, the book brings together contributions from all continents, ranging in style from the academic to the lyrical. As such, these compelling, and in some cases absolutely urgent, appropriations of (the spectre of) Lenin aspire to be of considerable use-value for the struggles ahead.


    “The 22 contributing authors cover a vast spectrum of activists and scholars, among them: Leon Trotsky, Kevin Anderson, Jodi Dean, Tora Lane, Wang Hui, Slavoj ŽiŽek, Vijay Prashad, and a number of German, Russian and Chinese writers … The political and cultural essays in the book are interwoven with a visual component: photos of statues of Lenin taken during a 2020 tour of Kyrgystan.” Lenin150 (Samizdat) “has contributions from a remarkable range of authors, from very well known to novice. … the book contains some remarkable gems, and insights.” — David Laibman, Science and Society 85(3): 430-432, 2021

     

    Rebecca Selberg’s review in Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies: “LENIN 150 (Samizdat) is one of those books that creates a time-space folding — enticing its reader to sense the here and the now as well as a global future through a localised past, specifically: Lenin’s Russia and the USSR, 1904–1990. …[includes a chapter that is a] beautiful example of how the past can be dealt with to understand the present and envision the future, just as it is an illustration of how theoretical openness can result in razor-sharp analyses of complex realities of yesterday and today. That is, in actuality, the spirit of this ‘underground publication’ — perhaps it was too, in spite of it all, the spirit of Lenin.”

    A patchwork Lenin, by Kevin Corr

    “Overall, in tune with this book’s general tone of “critical solidarity” with Lenin, I, in turn, express critical solidarity with the engaging enthusiasm and intentions of those who have produced it. Spending time reading its eclectic contributions would be no bad thing for anyone who feels part of, or at least identifies with, the radical ferment pulsating across the world. The enormous crisis facing us is now being brought into sharp focus by the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the developing ecological disaster. For us today, as in Lenin’s time, the questions remain how do we, the left, cut through the isolated condition we find ourselves in, and how can we learn from the past if we are to avoid barbarism and catastrophe?”
    In the footsteps of Lenin: You can never have too many books about Lenin. by Sean Sheehan:Another anniversary, arising from Lenin’s year of birth, has prompted Lenin 150 (Samizdat), a collection of writings and photographs that explore the political footsteps of Lenin worth following today. The contributors are an exhilaratingly mixed set of activists and academics and they write in various styles, from the lyrical and personal to the discursive and theoretical. The book’s origins can be traced to Kyrgyzstan – home to more surviving Lenin statues than anywhere besides Belarus – but its spirit is internationalist and its laudable regard for approaching Lenin from different perspectives is even more pronounced in its second edition.  As a witty, relevant, inspirational and superbly sane collection of words and pictures, this is a book that requires two copies: one to keep and the other to present to a friend as a gift.
    Lenin 150 (Samizdat) – book review This book came as an unexpected delight. A delight because here is a volume of essays examining the relevance of Lenin today in general and, on occasion, in the specifics of the country where the writer is based. A delight because Lenin has been largely missing from the social movements which have swept the globe over the last two decades, meaning all too often after their meteoric rise and then fall, they leave little behind in way of organisation. The need for which is under constant discussion here.

    Chillin’ with Lenin: An interview with Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn: Tribune‘s Owen Hatherley interviews Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn about his edited collection ‘Lenin 150,’ and the many meanings of the Russian revolutionary in the present day.

    LENIN150 Samizdat: Original and inspirational thoughts on man who changed the world
    PUBLISHED to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and conceived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Lenin 150 (Samizdat) is an outsanding collection of essays, poems and photos. … Lively, thought-provoking and informative, its roots are in the ideas of a group of young communists living and working in Kyrgyzstan, a country which has retained many of its Soviet-era buildings, statues and monuments, with Johann Salazar’s excellent photography providing a fitting complement to the text. … This book is a fantastically eclectic mix, yet the sheer quality of most of the writing enables a breadth of vision that’s a fitting tribute to someone who not only understood the world but was able to change it as well. — Morning Star, UK

    “A fascinating and surprisingly uplifting intellectual endeavour – analytically sharp yet wide-ranging. This collection of essays and images invites readers to reflect, from a multitude of perspectives and approaches, on one of history’s central revolutionaries. More importantly, it encourages us to reflect on our own time in revolutionary ways. Its academic readership should also be inspired by its samizdat creation – there are ways to engage in intellectual conversations outside of the mainstream publication business.” – Rebecca Selberg, Lund University

    “Wide-ranging, topical and sometimes provoking interpretations of Lenin reflecting different political standpoints.” – David Lane, Emeritus Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

    “This wonderfully designed book provides an original and insightful contribution to academic discussions on Lenin, one that does justice to his legacy.” – Joe Pateman, University of Nottingham, UK

    “A compelling volume for revolutionary-minded activists who are part of the radical ferment animating waves of dissent and protest sweeping the world – but also of genuine interest to anyone seeking information and ideas about one of the great political figures of the twentieth century.”– Paul LeBlanc, Professor of History, La Roche University, Author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and October Song: Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924

    “What an exciting culmination of the recent Lenin editorial revival! This explosive mix between images of Soviet relics and thoughtful insights about Leninism brilliantly dusts off the legacy of the October Revolution leader…” – Adrien Minard, Independent Researcher

    “‘Consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it,’ Lenin wrote before the revolution. In analogy we might say, like Patti Smith once did: ‘We created it, let’s take it over!’ This book is a tribute to revolutionary thought on the one hand and pure rock ‘n’ roll on the other!”
    Ronald Matthijssen, Lifetime communist voter and actor, social justice advocate and writer in the making

    “I am not an admirer of Lenin. However, as a historian I believe that it is impossible to understand the contemporary world without a renewed effort to understand the emergence of the Soviet Union and its global legacy, including in the formation of “Western” Europe. This book pleasantly brings us memorial landscapes from Kyrgyzstan, both built and lyrical, originally articulating the latter with a diversity of scholarly and activist perspectives on the figure of Lenin. It is an important step towards a postcolonial debate on the history of the Soviet Union.”
    Tiago Castela, University of Coimbra

    “…an inspiring book, which gives a thought-provoking, prismatic picture of Lenin, both as a historic figure and an actual theoretician of change and revolution…”
    Vesa Oittinen, University of Helsinki

    “I acquired this very unusual samizdat (self-published) 150th birthday present for Lenin as soon as I heard of it, and enthusiastically endorse its second edition. Not least because it is the product of one of my favourite countries, Kyrgyzstan, with many colour photos of Stalinist representations of Lenin (and Marx) taken in 2019 in the “Switzerland of Central Asia”; 22 chapters by authors from 15 countries, 4 from the USA, but also from the global South and 3 from Kyrgyzstan; poetry from a Kyrgyz revolutionary poet; and ending with a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling ‘To Those Born After (An die Nachgeborenen).’ Vladimir Ilich would have been delighted.” —Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London

    “A great source of inspiration for those suffering from the corona dictatorships. Governments trying to freeze societies in their tracks will find revolution is around the corner.” – Kees van der Pijl, Prof of International Relations (retired), latest book, Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster

    “[The editors have] found exactly the right tone and the right team to bring Lenin into 21st century discussions. It is self-ironic, humorous, unpretentious, serious, wide-ranging, and well designed. As intended, the authors, of usually short pieces, come ‘from all continents, from people of colour, different sexual orientations and gender identities.’ Here we are almost as far away from the doxa of “Marxism-Leninism” as possible.” – Göran Therborn, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Cambridge University


    Contents

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Preface to the 2nd Edition xi

    The Politburo, About This Book xvii

    Patrick Anderson, In Search of Meaning: A Note from the Translator xxiii

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Introduction: The Kyrgyz Lenin – From Spectre to Attractor (and Back) 1

    1. Leon Trotsky, VI Lenin – On His Fiftieth Birthday11
    2. Alain Badiou, Lenin, Founder of the Modern Meaning of the Word ‘Politics’ 15
    3. Elvira Concheiro Bórquez, Lenin Does Not Mean Leninism23
    4. Michael Brie, Learning from Lenin – and Doing It Differently31
    5. Mauricio Sandoval Cordero, Lenin from Latin America – Towards a Reactivation of the Marxism of Political Organisation and Strategy39
    6. Vashna Jagarnath, Peace! Land! Bread! – We are not going to die of Coronavirus, we are going to die of hunger! 51
    7. Atilio A Boron, Notes on “Left-Wing” Communism:
      An Infantile Disorder
      61
    8. Owen Hatherley, Dead Russians on the Wall 79
    9. Marcos Del Roio, Engels and Lenin in Latin America: Yesterday and Today 87
    10. Kevin B Anderson, A Note on Lenin and the Dialectic97
    11. Roland Boer, Lenin and Non-Antagonistic Contradictions 103
    12. Georgy Mamedov, How Is Internationalism to Be Understood? A Leninist Perspective on Identity Politics111
    13. Jodi Dean, Lenin’s Desire: Reminiscences of Lenin and the Desire of the Comrade 125

    Poetic Interlude – Joomart Bokonbaev Three Communist Poems 134

    1. Ursina Lardi, Playing Lenin – A Conversation about Lenin and Theatre 143
    2. Oxana Timofeeva, What Lenin Teaches Us About Witchcraft 149
    3. Tora Lane, Lenin, the Revolution, and the Uncertainties of Communism in the Work of Platonov 163
    4. Thomas Rudhof-Seibert, Eleven Theses on Lenin in the Corona Era 171
    5. Matthieu Renault, On Revolutionary Prudence, or the Wisdom of Lenin 191
    6. Michael Neocosmos, Lenin’s ‘Turn to the Masses’ (1921-1923) 203
    7. Molaodi Wa Sekake, Lenin: A Man of Action
and a Defender of the Integrity of Revolutionary Thought 213
    8. Matthew T Huber, Electric Communism:
The Continued Importance of Energy to Revolution 225
    9. Mohira Suyarkulova, City of Lenin and the Social(ist) Life of a River 238
    10. Ronald Grigor Suny, A Whole River of Blood: Lenin and Stalin 255
    11. Wang Hui, The Revolutionary Personality and The Philosophy of Victory – Commemorating the 150th Anniversary
of Lenin’s Birth 261
    12. Darko Suvin, In the Shadows of Never-Ending Warfare: On the Use-Value of Lenin today 279
    13. Slavoj Žižek, Lenin? – Which Lenin? 291
    14. Vijay Prashad, For Comrade Lenin on His 150th Birth Anniversary 295
    15. Johann Salazar, I Believe in Yesterday – A Photographer’s Note  on Remembering an Alternative Future 303

    Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born After 313

    The Central Committee 319

    The Politburo 327

    Index329

     

  • Decolonization and Afro-Feminism

    In Decolonization and Afro-Feminism, Sylvia Tamale provides a powerful guide towards the elimination of two interconnected challenges in contemporary Africa by situating her text as “part of the narrative that does not simply commit to the struggle for decolonization, but also recognizes the dynamics of gender within the struggle for new ways of being”. Emmah Khisa Senge Wabuke: Feminist Legal Studies https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-021-09470-6


    Why do so many Africans believe they cannot break the “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” cycle?  Six decades after colonial flags were lowered and African countries gained formal independence, the continent struggles to free itself from the deep legacies of colonialism, imperialism and patriarchy.  Many intellectuals, politicians, feminists and other activists, eager to contribute to Africa’s liberation, have frustratingly, felt like they took the wrong path.  Analyzed through the eyes of Afro-feminism, this book revisits some of the fundamental preconditions needed for radical transformation.

    The main focus of Decolonization and Afro-feminism is unlearning imperial power relations by relearning to “shake off” the colonial filters through which we view the world, including the instruments of law, education, religion, family and sexuality.  It re-envisions Pan-Africanism as a more inclusive decolonizing/decolonial movement that embraces Afro-feminist politics.  It also challenges the traditional human rights paradigm and its concomitant idea of “gender equality,” flagging instead, the African philosophy of Ubuntu as a serious alternative for reinvigorating African notions of social justice.  If you are a student of Africa or in a space where you wish to recalibrate your compass and reboot your consciousness in the struggle for Africa’s liberation, this book is for you.

    Afro-Feminism is a fresh lens through which to consider decolonisation and decoloniality because it gives voice to and perspective from African women. It brings together the activism and scholarship of women who have fought for and alongside men in the political struggles for independence from colonial rule and continue to fight the injustices of colonial effects. They challenge the normative academic models for knowledge-making, offering different kinds of methodologies that recognise ways of knowing and being that resist and contest the scientific, positivist bias of Eurocentric gatekeeping. For precisely this reason, Sylvia Tamale’s layered and meticulous attention to epistemic alternatives opens up new conversa- tions about what it is to decolonise our thinking, being and acting in this world. …There are many reasons to read this book, one of which is that I can barely do it justice in a review. Tamale covers the range of colonial effects on African experiences and relations with compelling confidence and articulation, conveying a profound understanding of the essential work of decoloniality from an Afro-Feminist perspective. There are ‘aha’ moments on every page, detailed and multiple references which encourage the reader to keep searching for and finding the conscientisation and truth that will liberate. —Corinne Knowles, Extended Studies Unit, Rhodes University, Makhanda. (2021): Decolonization and Afro-Feminism, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, DOI: 10.1080/02589001.2021.1938976

    Decolonization and Afro-feminism makes a major epistemic contribution to charting Africa’s way forward, and alerts us to new forms of domination such as digital colonialism…  This book will leave you thinking!
    —Oyeronke Oyewumi, author of The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses

    Sylvia Tamale brings an encyclopedic rigour to the study of decolonization and what it offers as an African liberatory praxis. Her scholarship is rooted in real-time solidarity with African feminists and queer activists… Essential reading.
    Jessica Horn, Feminist activist, writer and co-founder, African Feminist Forum Working Group

    Tamale brilliantly dissects and demolishes the dangerous tropes of coloniality that distort our understanding of African societies, cultures, bodies, institutions, experiences, social relations, and realities… The book is a clarion call for the continent’s feminist epistemic liberation.
    Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences and Vice Chancellor, United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

    This book is Intellectually orgasmic! It provides students with an Afro-feminist intellectual rebirth…  The next generation of Afro-feminists have our struggle cut out for us.
    Anna Adeke, Feminist and student, Makerere University, Uganda

    About the Author: Sylvia Tamale is a Feminist, Sociologist and Professor of Law at Makerere University in Uganda.

    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments xi
    Some Key Definitions xiii

    1. Introduction 1
    Of Counter-Narratives 1
    The Meaning of Africa(ns) 10
    Goals and Organization of the Book 13

    2. The Basics of Decolonization and Decolonial Futures 17
    Africa’s Decolonization and Decolonial Reconstruction 18
    Decolonization & Decoloniality: Science Fiction or Present Fact? 
22
    A Two-Pronged Approach: The Political and the Psychological 
27

    3. Feminists and the Struggle for Africa’s Decolonial Reconstruction 
27
    Gender Studies in African Academies 44
    Beyond Racism: Multiple Inequalities and Intersectionality 62
    Integrating Afro-Ecofeminism into Decolonization 80

    4. Challenging the Coloniality of Sex, Gender and Sexuality 92
    Michael Phelps and Caster Semenya: A Juxtaposition 95
    Decolonial African Sex/Gender Systems 100
    A Decolonial Analysis of the Phelps/Semenya Conundrum 105
    Medico-Legal Taxonomies: Semenya’s Battle with Science and the Law 
119

    5. Legal Pluralism and Decolonial Feminism 132
    State “Customary Law” versus Living Customary Law 133
    Decolonized Customary Law 140
    Gender and Religious Relativism 173

    6. Repositioning the Dominant Discourses on Rights and Social Justice 
187
    Human? Rights? 194
    Unpacking the Universalizing Essentialism of “Gender Equality”
 205
    Reconceptualizing Justice through Ubuntu 221

    7. Rethinking the African Academy 235
    History and Evolution of African Academies 237
    Internalized Colonialism: How it is Achieved 245
    A Framework for Transforming the African Academy 257

    8. Decolonizing Family Law: The Case of Uganda 285
    Conceptualizing the Heteropatriarchal Family 288
    The Ugandan Family and the Law 300
    Family Relations: Then and Now 306
    Challenging the Status Quo 321
    The Limits of Officialist Approaches to Family Gender Justice 
331

    9. Towards Feminist Pan-Africanism and Pan-African Feminism 
340
    Feminism in the Pan-African Movement? 343
    Pan-Africanism in African Feminism 369
    Developing a New Pan-Africanism in the Era of Globalization 378

    Epilogue: Decolonizing Africa in the Age of Big Data 385

    Index 397


    Conversation between Sylvia Tamale and Charmaine Pereira


    In Decolonization and Afro-Feminism, Ugandan feminist scholar and human rights activist Sylvia Tamale tackles the complicated task of articulating and identify- ing some of the work that decolonisation/ decoloniality requires of African scholars, thinkers, artists and activists at this moment in history. The book spans more than four hundred pages, covers an impressive range of themes, and functions in many different registers. Decolonisation/ decoloniality is taken up as an epistemic, political, artistic, psychological, legal, and cultural project. At the heart of the book is the claim that the decolonisation of African societies is Afro-feminist work, in so far as the persisting racial and economic hierarchies of colonialism and coloniality are inextricably intertwined with systems of heteropatriarchy. … Perhaps the most important tension that this book manages to hold, is the one between understanding the magnitude of colonial devastation and erasure on the one hand, and maintaining hope and movement, on the other. Tamale manages to present to her reader the vast and extremely complex nature of the project of decolonisation/decoloniality, while, at the same time, cultivating in the text not only a feeling of urgency, but an unwavering and deep sense of possibility. She creates and identifies openings through which the work can be started, and although the solutions she offers often have a utopian tone to them, they are firmly anchored in existing African realities and histories. This is an energising book to read, it is not simply an academic treatise, but also a compelling and enlivening call to action.
    Azille Coetzee (2021): Decolonization and Afro-Feminism by Sylvia Tamale, Agenda, DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2021.1917301

  • Dialectics of revolution : Hegel, Marxism, and its critics through a lens of race, class, gender, and colonialism

    This book collects four decades of writings on dialectics, a number of them published here for the first time, by Kevin B. Anderson, a well-known scholar-activist in the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The essays cover the dialectics of revolution in a variety of settings, from Hegel and the French Revolution to dialectics today and its poststructuralist and pragmatist critics. In these essays, particular attention is given to Lenin’s encounter with Hegel and its impact on the critique of imperialism, the rejection of crude materialism, and more generally, on world revolutionary developments. Major but neglected works on Hegel and dialectics written under the impact of the struggle against fascism like Lukács’s The Young Hegel and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution are given full critical treatment. Dunayevskaya’s intersectional revolutionary dialectics is also treated extensively, especially its focus on a dialectics of revolution that avoids class reductionism, placing gender, race, and colonialism at the center alongside class. In addition, key critics of Hegel and dialectics like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, Pierre Bourdieu, and Richard Rorty, are themselves analysed and critiqued from a twenty-first century dialectical perspective. The book also takes up the dialectic in global, intersectional settings via a reconsideration of the themes of Anderson’s Marx at the Margins, where nationalism, race, and colonialism were theorized alongside capital and class as key elements in Marxist dialectical thought. As a whole, the book offers a discussion of major themes in the dialectics of revolution that still speak to us today at a time of radical transformation in all spheres of society and of everyday life.


    The exemplary clarity of the writing will make this collection especially valuable to newcomers to Marxian theory, and to anyone curious about Hegel’s relationship to Marxism. But the work’s greatest value surely lies with its powerful reminder that “the pull of the universal, of the emancipatory future, is always there, even if for the moment driven deep down, beneath the surface of society.” Tony Smith in Science and Society 85(4), 539-41, October 2021

    This is a collection of essays of paramount importance written by one of the most noteworthy authorities on Marx and Hegel within the field of Western Marxism. … Anderson is uniformly brilliant in his analysis of Marx as a multidimensional thinker who developed a multilinear pathway for revolution for societies outside of Western Europe, putting to rest the charges of determinism and Eurocentrism and patriarchal thinking that had tempted many in the left away from critical engagements … Dialectics of Revolution makes it clear why Anderson is among the leading lights writing on Marxism and revolution today. —Peter McLaren, author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution

    Kevin Anderson’s Dialectics of Revolution collects four decades of Anderson’s studies of Hegel, Marx, dialectics, and revolution. … Anderson provides much provocative material in developing critical theory and revolutionary practice for the contemporary era. —Douglas Kellner, author of Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism

    This deeply intellectual, and yet highly accessible, work breathes new life into dialectical Marxism, reconciling the debates over identity politics and class struggle and positing a dialectical Marxist-humanism. … that recognizes that the revolutionary struggle for freedom is the struggle against class, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression. … This book is not only timely and relevant but urgently necessary. — Lilia Monzo, author of A Revolutionary Subject: Pedagogy of Women of Color and Indigeneity

    1. Introduction

    Part 1: Marxism and Hegel

    1. Dialectics in brief
    2. Hegel, the French revolution and after
    3. Lenin’s encounter with Hegel
    4. Lenin, Bukharin, dialectics, and imperialism
    5. Marcuse, Hegel and critical theory
    6. Lukács on the young Hegel

    Part 2: Dialectics today

    1. Dialectical reason and its critics
    2. Derrida on Marx: Return or deconstruction?
    3. Resistance vs. emancipation, from Marx to Foucault
    4. Class, Gender, Race, and Colonialism
    5. Marx at the Margins: Ten years later

     

  • Class, gender, race & colonialism: The ‘intersectionality’ of Marx – Thinking Freedom Pamphlet

    It is important to see both Marx’s brilliant generalisations about capitalist society and the very concrete ways in which he examined not only class, but also gender, race, and colonialism, and what today would be called the intersectionality of all of these. His underlying revolutionary humanism was the enemy of all forms of abstraction that denied the variety and multiplicity of human experience, especially as his vision extended outward from Western Europe. For these reasons, no thinker speaks to us today with such force and clarity.

    It is clear today that the emancipation of labour from capitalist alienation and exploitation is a task that still confronts us. Marx’s concept of the worker is not limited to European white males, but includes Irish and Black super-exploited and therefore doubly revolutionary workers, as well as women of all races and nations. But, his research and his concept of revolution go further, incorporating a wide range of agrarian non-capitalist societies of his time, from India to Russia and from Algeria to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, often emphasising their gender relations. In his last, still partially unpublished writings, he turns his gaze Eastward and Southward. In these regions outside Western Europe, he finds important revolutionary possibilities among peasants and their ancient communistic social structures, even as these are being undermined by their formal subsumption under the rule of capital. In his last published text, he envisions an alliance between these non-working-class strata and the Western European working class.

  • Strategic litigation and the struggle for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual equality in Africa

    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

     

  • Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain (New and Expanded Edition)

    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.

    https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/book-inspirational-book-gives-voice-south-asian-women-activists-britain?fbclid=IwAR2fvOpvCTpWp3CwZZWabaNgblvzO-3q2zH3BX1gxjVEa89sHPBzcvVy10w

    ‘Reclaiming our collective past’: Amrit Wilson reflects on 40 years of anti-racist feminist work
    By Sophia Siddiqui ARCHIVESPOLITICS 30th October 2018
    http://gal-dem.com/collective-past-amrit-wilson-reflects-anti-racist-feminist-work/?fbclid=IwAR2qF13MA82F-9hztnRg4hN8ry5EEiZ2rYUtzX4OPuG7CELOzffhCTBjm4o