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Violence makes safe in South African prisons

Prison gangs, violent acts, and victimization among inmates

Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard and Sasha Gear

That gangs have a prominent place in South African prison violence—like in many other geographical contexts—has become increasingly clear. Based on qualitative research among South African inmates and ex-inmates, we propose that prison gangs be considered adaptation strategies to the extremely coercive and oppressive environments of prisons. We focus on the relationship between gang involvement in prison, violent acts among inmates, and the risk of being subjected to violence during incarceration. By providing emic perspectives, we aim to demonstrate how inmates negotiate three types of social roles, largely defined by their ability and willingness to use violence: franse, gangster, and wyfie. Our findings suggest that prison gangs may jeopardize the personal safety of inmates, but can also paradoxically offer some inmates the opportunity to establish a sense of safety and agency by avoiding random violence.

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Anthony Holiday

John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University speaks to the concerns of African educationalists, not despite, but because of the circumstance that his fidelity to the ideal of a university as a seat of universal knowledge is tied to his argument for the inclusion of theology as an indispensable part of any university syllabus. It is not the case, moreover, that his idealism resonates with us purely because it is carried by a magnificent prose style. Rather, Newman’s thoughts about the universality of higher learning touch us across a considerable culturo-temporal divide, because Africans in their quest for a form of university education which will harmonize with their Africanness are driven by an innate conviction, too seldom made explicit, that such education would have to be inseparable from their own spirituality and religious commitments. If the conviction remains largely unspoken, this has much to do with the global climate of scientism and secularism in which humanity’s aspirations – religious and educational – must seek expression. It is, perhaps, because we are denizens of this climate that we can scarcely suppress a smile at Newman’s claim that theology is a factual science much as, say, physics is a factual science and why his assertion in the Fourth Discourse that “the preservation of our race in Noah’s Ark is an historical fact which history never would arrive at without revelation”1 strikes us (quite rightly) as being something of a howler.

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Analyzing intra-regional migration in Sub-Saharan Africa

Statistical data constraints and the role for regional organizations

Stefano Degli Uberti, Philippe De Lombaerde, Sonja Nita and Elettra Legovini

Africa has long been described as an immensely mobile continent and continues to be viewed in this vein (Amin, 1995; de Bruij n et al., 2001; IOM, 2005). The 2005 World Migration Report describes Africa as “the continent with the most mobile populations in the world” (IOM, 2005, p. 33). In Western Africa, for instance, almost 4.4 million migrants moved in 2005 to another country of the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) (World Bank, 2010). Compared to the overall international migrants in Western Africa (UNDP, 2009), South-South (S-S) migration accounted for more than 50% in 2005 (ACP, 2010, p. 5; Bakewell, 2009). The volume of intra-regional migrations in Africa seems to be inversely proportional to the availability of statistical data. The shortage of both quantitative and qualitative data on migration (Gnisci & Trémolières, 2006, p. 10; OECD/SWAC, 2006, p. 18; Ratha & Shaw, 2007; Zlotnik, 2003, p. 2) and timely information on population movements, whether internal or international, is a major obstacle to the understanding of migration dynamics in Africa. Nineteen of the 56 countries on the African continent have either no data or just one census providing any information on migrant stocks from the 1950s (Zlotnik, 2003).

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Jeremy Rich

In April 1884, a scandal erupted among colonial officials stationed in the French Central African colony of Gabon. Alexis d'Alexis, a customs officer, and Faucher, a member of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza's third expedition into the Gabonese interior, accused one another of abuses against Africans. D'Alexis declared that Faucher had tortured a Senegalese sailor, and Faucher accused D'Alexis of engaging in sexual relationships with six African boys and men on the island. Although the charges never went beyond the colonial administration's internal correspondence, the allegations of aberrant conduct and the inquiry that resulted offer a fascinating glimpse of understandings of masculinity, internal friction, and the monitoring of intimate behavior within the French colonial administration in the Scramble for Africa. This case points to the fractured nature of state regulation of sexuality in the French empire, as well as the ways different officials defined and deployed constructions of abnormal masculinity as weapons in disputes.

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Motsamai Molefe

In this article, I motivate for the view that the best account of the foundations of morality in the African tradition should be grounded on some relevant spiritual property – a view that I call 'ethical supernaturalism'. In contrast to this position, the literature has been dominated by humanism as the best interpretation of African ethics, which typically is accompanied by a direct rejection of 'ethical supernaturalism' and a veiled rejection of non-naturalism (Gyekye 1995: 129–43; Metz 2007: 328; Wiredu 1992: 194–6). Here primarily, by appeal to methods of analytic philosophy, which privileges analysis and (moral) argumentation, I set out to challenge and repudiate humanism as the best interpretation of African ethics; I leave it for a future project to develop a fully fledged African spiritual meta-ethical theory.

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Guy Marcel Nono

English abstract: A pillar of African emergence and an important issue of political debate that is central to regional integration, free movement is however not yet acquired in Central Africa. Yet a glance at the pre colonial history invites us to believe that Central Africa has been an area of free movement. The recognition of a right that cannot be realized only by an agreement leads to the Central African states pledging to work together in the context of regional integration by recognizing their citizens' right to full mobility. This contribution highlights the efforts, challenges and prospects of free movement in Central Africa by reference to the African Union framework, and asks if the legal and institutional framework of free movement in Central Africa has led to the emergence of a social policy supportive of free movement at the sub regional level.

Spanish abstract: La libre circulación de personas es un pilar del África emergente, un tema importante en el debate político, un punto central de la integración regional, y sin embargo todavía intangible en África Central. No obstante, una mirada a la historia precolonial nos invita a pensar que África Central ha sido un espacio de libre circulación. El reconocimiento de un derecho que no puede realizarse sólo por un acuerdo, conduce a que los Estados de África Central se comprometan a trabajar juntos en el marco de la integración regional para reconocer el derecho de sus ciudadanos a la movilidad total. Esta contribución destaca los esfuerzos, desafíos y perspectivas de la libre circulación en África Central en referencia con el marco de la Unión Africana, y se pregunta si el marco legal e institucional de la libre circulación en África Central ha llevado a la aparición de una política social que apoye la libre circulación a nivel subregional.

French abstract: Pilier de l'émergence de l'Afrique, enjeu des débats politiques et de l'intégration, la libre circulation n'est pas encore un acquis en Afrique Centrale. Pourtant, un regard porté sur l'histoire précoloniale nous invite à croire que l'Afrique centrale a été un espace de libre circulation. La reconnaissance d'un droit ne pouvant se faire que par l'objet d'un accord, les États d'Afrique Centrale se sont engagés dans le choix d'une histoire à réaliser ensemble dans le cadre de l'intégration, en consacrant dans des pactes communautaires la pleine mobilité de leurs ressortissants. Cette contribution met en évidence les efforts, défis et perspectives de la libre circulation en Afrique centrale par référence au cadre de l'Union africaine, et pose la question de savoir si le cadre juridique et institutionnel de la libre circulation en Afrique centrale a conduit à l'émergence d'une politique sociale en faveur de la libre circulation au niveau sous régional.

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Saul Dubow

Liberalism in South Africa has attracted criticism from many quarters. A persistent objection focuses on the association between liberalism and capitalism, with liberals often cast as defenders of privilege and inequity and thereby as aligned with domination rather than liberation. This characterisation relies on a great deal of oversimplification. The length of the South African liberal tradition, and its diverse influences, means that South African liberalism resists easy definition. It is better seen as a family of resemblances than in terms of a lineage. The historical development of South African liberalism has therefore to be understood, above all, in terms of local conditions and contexts. By looking at its long history in this manner, it is possible to identify persistent strands of thought that are often disposed to support redistributive mechanisms. These may not be fully egalitarian and they may be pursued for pragmatic and prudential ends rather than as a matter of principle. Nevertheless, they include principled opposition to apartheid policies. Free-market ideologues have been exceptional within the long liberal tradition. An historical appreciation of the redistributive components of South African liberalism may help those who wish to revive modern liberalism as a social democratic movement.

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Transitions Within Queer North African Cinema

Nouri Bouzid, Abdellah Taïa, and the Transnational Tourist

Walter S. Temple

In recent years, North African queer cinema has become increasingly visible both within and beyond Arabo-Orientale spaces. A number of critical factors have contributed to a global awareness of queer identities in contemporary Maghrebi cinema

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Angela Shaw-Thornburg

African-American literature of travel has frequently been elided from critical accounts of literary travel narratives and made invisible within the African-American literary canon. Reading both traditions with an eye to including African-American literature of travel is important because it allows for a greater focus on the transnational roots of African-American identity, particularly in terms of African-American literature of travel that focuses on journeys to Europe.

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Tomaz Carlos Flores Jacques

African philosophy, as a negritude, is a moment in the postcolonial critique of European/Western colonialism and the bodies of knowledge that sustained it. Yet a critical analysis of its' original articulations reveals the limits of this critique and more broadly of postcolonial studies, while also pointing towards more radical theoretical possibilities within African philosophy. Jean-Paul Sartre's essay 'Black Orpheus', a philosophical appropriation of negritude poetry, serves as a guide for this reflection, for the text reveals the inspiration and wealth of expressions of negritude, as well as their ambiguity. Sartre's essay however also renders possible a further act of re-appropriation that takes us beyond culture and identity-centred readings of African philosophy and postcolonialism, readings whose conceptual and critical potential is far greater than what has hitherto been explored.