Research Africa: December 8th, 2018

Call for Applications: The Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) 2019
The Yale Young African Scholars Program is designed for African secondary school students who wish to pursue tertiary education and make meaningful impact as young leaders on the continent. The application is currently open for interested students. Please note there is no cost to apply for or participate in YYAS.
Deadline: February 6, 2019 at 11:59pm EST
Visit this link for more information:
News and Issues
Is living in African cities expensive?
By Shohei Nakamura, Rawaa Harati, Somik V. Lall, Yuri M. Dikhanov, Nada Hamadeh, William Vigil Oliver, Sep 27, 2018
Although several studies have examined why overall price levels are higher in richer countries, little is known about whether there is a similar relationship at the urban and city level across countries. This paper compares the price levels of cities in Sub-Saharan Africa with those of other regions by analyzing price information and official purchasing power parities. This paper seeks to readjust the approach to calculated price levels from national to urban levels, using known price-level ratios between those areas. The results indicate that African cities are relatively more expensive, despite having lower income levels.
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Museum of Black Civilisations aims to ‘decolonise knowledge’
By Amandla Thomas-Johnson, Dec 5, 2018
In April 1966, Senegal’s first president and a poet, Leopold Sedar Senghor ascended the steps of the National Assembly in Dakar to declare his country the temporary capital of Black Civilisation at the launch of the World Festival of Black Arts.In the following weeks, African luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and writer Wole Soyinka would converge on the Senegalese capital, as would others from the wider African diaspora: Jazz great Duke Ellington, the Martiniquan poet Aime Cesaire, Barbadian novelist George Lamming and American writers Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka. Now, plans for a large museum to open in Dakar have begun, 52 years after Senegal’s first president presented a post-colonial cultural vision for the country.
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Rwanda: A Poster Child for Development with a Dark Side
By Gabriele Steinhauser, Nov 6, 2018
Seen from the concrete blocks marking the graves of some 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide, the glistening skyline in the capital of this East African nation is the most obvious sign of the grand experiment taking place here. A quarter century after the mass slaughter of as much as 15% of its population, Rwanda has been hailed as a homegrown model of African development and its iron-fisted president, Paul Kagame, is a favorite at international business conferences such as the World Economic Forum.
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For South Sudan, It’s Not So Easy to Declare Independence from Arabic
By Laura Kasinof, Nov 14, 2018
When South Sudan declared independence in 2011, breaking away from Republic of Sudan to become the world’s newest country, all facets of state-building had to be finalized: ratifying a new constitution, printing money, and distributing passports. Among these tasks was the issue of language. South Sudan is a diverse country with a population of around 13 million with some 60 languages spoken by the dozens of ethnic groups present. The majority of South Sudanese also speak what is known as Juba Arabic, a dialect far removed from standardized Arabic and named for the South Sudanese capital. But Arabic was also the language of the Sudanese government in Khartoum, which the South Sudanese viewed as their longtime colonizer.
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For South Sudan, It’s Not So Easy to Declare Independence From Arabic
A New Report on the Status of African Objects in French Museums will Urge the President to Return Works Taken “Without Consent” in the Colonial Period
By Vincent Noce, Nov 20, 2018
A report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron will recommend the full restitution by French museums of works in their collections which were taken “without consent” from former African colonies.The French historian Bénédicte Savoy and the Senegalese economist and writer Felwine Sarr presented their 108-page study to President Macron Friday, 23 November. In their paper, they argue that the complete transfer of property back to Africa, not the long-term loan of objects to African museums, should be the general rule for works taken in the colonial period unless it can be proven that these objects were acquired “legitimately.”
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Mandinka Ajami and Arabic Manuscripts of Casamance, Senegal
By Jody Butterworth, Nov 14, 2018
This blog is written by Eleni Castro, OpenBU & ETD Program Librarian at Boston University as well as Project Technical Lead for EAP1042. This October, a poster entitled, “Digital Preservation of Mandinka Ajami Materials of Senegal” was presented at FORCE2018. This is an annual conference in Montreal, Canada centered on making research and scholarship more broadly and openly available. This poster provided a project overview and update on the work being done for EAP 1042 – an international research collaboration between Boston University, the West African Research Center, and local experts in Senegal. The project involves visiting manuscript owners in the Casamance region of Senegal to work with them to digitally preserve and increase access to manuscripts written in Arabic and Mandinka Ajami (Mandinka using Arabic script) from their personal libraries.
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NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة
The Anglophone Literary-linguistic Continuum: English and Indigenous Languages in African Literary Discourse
‫أزمةاللغوياتفيالأدبالأنكلفوني: دراسيةلحالةاللغةالانجليزيةمقابل اللغاتالمحلية]
Author: Michael Andindilile
This book interrogates Obi Wali’s (1963) prophecy that continued use of former colonial languages in the production of African literature could only lead to ‘sterility’, as African literature can only be written in indigenous African languages. In doing so, Andindilile critically examines selected novels of Achebe of Nigeria, Ngũgĩ of Kenya, Gordimer of South Africa and Farah of Somalia. He shows that when we pay close attention to what these authors represent about their African societies and the way they integrate African languages, values, beliefs and cultures, we discover what constitutes the Anglophone African literary–linguistic continuum. This continuum can be defined as variations in the literary usage of English in African literary discourse, with the language serving as the base to which writers add variations inspired by indigenous languages, beliefs, cultures, or nation-specific experiences.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2018
Ruling Nature, Controlling People: Nature Conservation, Development and War in North-Eastern Namibia since the 1920s
[‫تعمير الطبيعةوالسيطرةعلىالناس: مسائلحولالحفاظعلىالطبيعةوالتنميةوالحربفيشمالشرقناميبيامنذ 1920]
Author: Luregn Lenggenhager
Recent nature conservation initiatives in Southern Africa such as communal conservancies and peace parks are often embedded in narratives of economic development and ecological research. They are also increasingly marked by militarization and violence. In Ruling Nature, Controlling People, Luregn Lenggenhager shows that these features were also characteristic of South African rule over the Caprivi Strip region in North-Eastern Namibia, especially in the fields of forestry, fisheries, and ultimately wildlife conservation. In the process, the increasingly internationalized war in the region from the late 1960s until Namibia’s independence in 1990 became intricately interlinked with contemporary nature conservation, ecology and economic development projects.By retracing such interdependencies, Lenggenhager provides a novel perspective from which to examine the history of a region which has until now barely entered the focus of historical research. He thereby highlights the enduring relevance of the supposedly peripheral Caprivi and its military, scientific, and environmental histories in an effort to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which apartheid South Africa exerted state power.
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia, 2018
Coming of Age: An Introduction to Somali Metrics
[‫عتبةالنضوج: مقدمةفيأوزانالشعرالصومالي]
Author: Farah Gamute
In this well researched study, Farah Gamuute reveals the various uses of the metrical unit in Somali poetry and how the metrical unit, music and the language interact with one another. 64 genres of poetry or measures were identified and fully analyzed in this text. Still, the variations in genres is being explored and researched. In fact, three new genres of Somali poetry have been identified while awaiting the publication of this volume.
Publisher: Ponte Invisible (Redsea Cultural Foundation), Somaliland, 2018
African Countries and the Global Scramble for China
Author: Ngonlardje Kabra Mbaidjol
In this book on Africa-China relations, Ngonlardje Kabra Mbaidjol engages in the heated debate on African cooperation with China, an increasingly rich and powerful partner in the continent. The current dominant view highlights the neo-colonial and exploitative nature of these relations with a denial of any positive results from Chinese influence for African people. However, the China-Africa partnership dates back to the 1955 Bandung Conference and has become an overt competition between China and other nations over African resources. For many, “a new scramble for Africa” emerges, yet the author argues there is rather a “global scramble for China.” Africa may wish to avoid being distracted by rival voices, but developing a strategy to – the competition may serve the interests of African people. Mbaidjol’s book unpacks Africa’s preparedness and strategy to face global competition.
Publisher: Brill Publications, 2018

Belt and Road Initiative: Alternative Development Path for Africa
[‫مبادرةالحزاموالطريقالصينية: خياراتالتنميةالبديلةلأفريقيا]
Author: Thokozani Simelane and Lavhelesani R. Managa
China’s emphasis on infrastructure development has received support from African leaders; the Memorandum of Understanding between China and the African Union formalized on January 27, 2015 endorsed China’s focus on infrastructure in Africa. The agreement outlines plans for connecting African countries through transportation projects including modern highways, airports, and high speed railways. At the heart of the “Belt and Road Initiative” lies the creation of an economic land belt that includes countries on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Additionally, the agreement includes designs for a maritime “road” that links China’s port facilities with the African coast, pushing up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. From the outset, China has emphasized the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, citing five principles essential for its development: mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. This volume provides an analysis of this stance by both African and Chinese scholars.
Publisher: Africa Institute of South Africa, South Africa, 2018
None Like Us: Blackness, Belonging, Aesthetic Life
[‫لاشيءمثلنا: السواد،والانتماءالثقافيوالجماليات]
Author: Stephen Best
It passes for an unassailable truth that the slave past provides an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present. In None Like Us, Stephen Best reappraises what he calls “melancholy historicism,” a kind of crime scene investigation in which the forensic imagination is directed toward the recovery of a “we” at the point of “our” violent origin. Best argues that there is and can be no “we” following from such a time and place, that black identity is constituted in and through negation. This stance is inspired by David Walker’s prayer that “none like us may ever live again until time shall be no more.” Best draws out the connections between a sense of impossible black sociality and strains of negativity that have operated under the sign of queer. In None Like Us, the art of El Anatsui and Mark Bradford with the literature of Toni Morrison and Gwendolyn Brooks evidence an apocalyptic aesthetic, or self-eclipse, which opens the circuits between past and present, thus charting a queer future for black study.
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2018.
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