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Kudzai Matereke

The articles in this special section highlight the need to adopt “an African-focused perspective” to understand African experiences of mobility. 1 The impetus for an African-focused perspective that places African experiences at the center

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Ajume H. Wingo

The Received View of the Roots of African Political Disarray It is generally acknowledged that Africans suffered greatly from European colonisation (e.g. Richards 1961; Robinson and Gallagher 1961 ; Young 1994). On what I will call the

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'Repaying the National Debt to Africa'

Trusteeship, Property and Empire

William Bain

This article explores the way in which the idea of trusteeship shaped questions relating to property and possession in nineteenth-century sub-Saharan Africa. Trusteeship is distinctive insofar as it sanctioned European dominion over territories in Africa while preserving an indigenous right in the wealth contained in these territories. The article illuminates the character of this relationship, first, by arguing that a narrative that reduces empire to a story of domination and exploitation ends up obscuring the complex property relations entailed by trusteeship. Second, it describes the introduction of trusteeship into the political, economic and social life of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing mainly on the experience of British colonial administration and the Berlin Conference of 1884-5. Third, it clarifies a relationship of unequal reciprocity that joined European commercial interests with the well-being of the so-called 'native' tribes of Africa.

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Richard Vokes

This article responds to Michael Herzfeld's call for anthropologists to develop a new form of 'reflexive comparison' by imaginatively casting the peoples of the African Great Lakes as part of Melanesia. Specifically, it explores how notions of personhood and sociality in this African setting might be understood through interpretative approaches developed in the New Melanesian Ethnography of the 1970s and 1980s. It finds that this sort of thought experiment yields key insights by focusing analytical attention upon concepts of shared vital substances, upon practices intended to control the flow of these substances, and upon the agency of non-human actors (especially cattle) in shaping these processes. An examination of these features suggests new perspectives on a range of ethnographic 'problems', from condom use to Rwanda's ubuhake cattle exchange.

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Capacity-building projects in African higher education

Issues of coloniality in international academic collaboration

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen and Lene Møller Madsen

This article studies issues of coloniality in so-called capacity-building projects between universities in Africa and Scandinavia. Even fifty years after independence, the African higher education landscape is a product of the colonial powers and subsequent uneven power relations, as argued by a number of researchers. The uneven geography and power of knowledge exist also between countries that were not in a direct colonial relationship, which the word coloniality implies. Based on interviews with stakeholders and on our own experiences of capacity-building projects, this article examines how such projects affect teaching, learning, curriculum, research methodology and issues of quality enhancement. We analyse the dilemmas and paradoxes involved in this type of international collaboration and conclude by offering ways to decolonise capacity-building projects.

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Maureen Amimo

The history of travel writing positions the genre as a form that invents and circulates problematic image(s) of Africa. Emerging from this biased background, postcolonial African travel writing offer reimaginations regarding how to think about the continent differently. This article explores how Sihle Khumalo’s Dark Continent My Black Arse, performs this reimagination through counter-travel. I interrogate Khumalo’s appropriation of parody on three sites—naming, landscape, and the body—to counter the prevalent (mis)representation of the continent and propagate alternative ways of imagining Africa in travel writing. This article argues that although parody as counter-travel strategy is a poignant tool for critiquing the negative representation, authorial prejudices allow for slippages that propagate the same set of biases the form intends to critique.

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Engaging Dialogues

Reframing Africa at the Royal Ontario Museum

Silvia Forni

troubled exhibitionary and relational history involving an encyclopedic museum, its collections from Africa, and the African Canadian communities of the Greater Toronto Area. The history and the complicated intellectual, relational, and affective issues

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Dennis Masaka

In this article, I argue that individuals could be entitled to rights, outside those that are communally conferred, as part of the primary requirement of being ‘persons’ in the African communitarian set-up if the terms ‘person’ and ‘personhood’ are understood differently from the way they are currently deployed in the communitarian discourse. The distinction between these two terms is the basis of my thesis where clarity on their meanings could be helpful in establishing the possibility of ascribing rights outside those that are communally conferred. I argue that ontologically, a ‘person’ is prior to ‘personhood’ (understood in the normative sense) which is considered to find its fuller expression in a community and by virtue of this, I think that he or she is entitled to some rights outside those that are defined and conferred by the community. This is my point of departure in this article.

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Decolonising Borders

Re-imagining Strangeness and Spaces

John Sodiq Sanni

Introduction The word ‘migration’ has become a hot political issue in both African and international politics, more so in international politics because of the supposed threat that the influx of migrants poses on Western host countries

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Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi

Existing literature on pan-Africanism often focuses on re-enforcing the ideology of pan-Africanism without much devotion to critiquing, justifying or purifying the ideology. Two positions can be applied to explain this. The first is that