Research Africa News: January 27, 2023

Research Africa News: January 27, 2023

‘Tirailleurs’: France’s forgotten colonial soldiers step out of the shadows

Issued on: 06/01/2023

The last surviving African soldiers who fought for colonial-era France will be able to live out their final days in their home countries following the French government’s U-turn on their pension rights. The decision coincides with the cinema release of a film highlighting the untold sacrifices made by African “tirailleurs” on France’s battlefields during World War I.

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Morocco First African Nation to Provide Tanks to Ukraine:

Report Photo of Joe Saballa JOE SABALLAJANUARY 23, 2023

Western Sahara is mostly under Morocco’s control, where tensions with pro-independence Polisario Front have simmered since the 1970s.

The United States has adopted a “new official” map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, its ambassador to Rabat said. “This map is a tangible representation of President Trump’s bold proclamation two days ago – recognising Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” Ambassador David Fischer said on Saturday, according to a statement seen by AFP news agency.

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The True Story of Yasuke, the Legendary Black Samurai Behind Netflix’s New Anime Series

By Kat Moon, April 30, 2022.

In n 1579, an African man now known by the name of Yasuke arrived in Japan. Much about him remains a mystery: it’s unconfirmed which country in Africa he hailed from, and there is no verifiable record of his life after 1582. But Yasuke was a real-life Black samurai who served under Oda Nobunaga, one of the most important feudal lords in Japanese history and a unifier of the country. He is also the inspiration for Netflix’s new anime series Yasuke—a project from creator and director LeSean Thomas and the Japanese animation studio MAPPA, executive produced by LaKeith Stanfield, who voices Yasuke, and Flying Lotus, who produced the soundtrack.

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Mamdani talks about his research legacy and work at Makerere

John Agaba 31 March 2022

Professor Mahmood Mamdani was the executive director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University, Uganda, from 2010 to the end of February 2022. During this time, he has revamped the institution’s mission and established a robust PhD programme. Following his departure, Mamdani shared his views about how to build a strong research culture, his work as an academic and threats to higher education. He has returned full-time to his work as the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the department of anthropology at Columbia University, New York, where he has remained a faculty member since the early 2000s.

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NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Hausa Dictionary for Everyday Use: Hausa-English/English-Hausa

[قاموس الهوسا للاستخدام اليومي: الهوسا-الإنجليزية / الإنجليزية-الهوسا]

Author: Paul Newman, Roxana Ma Newman

Hausa Dictionary for Everyday Use is intended to afford greater access to the language by millions of Hausa speakers and scholars in Nigeria and beyond. Composed in Standard Hausa which is largely spoken in Kano, Nigeria the authors have made great attempts to capture new terms and expressions not covered by previous publications. Kamusun Hausa na Yau da Kullum, kundin littafi ne da ya ke dauke da kalmomi na Hausa da ma’anoninsu. An yi amfani da ingantacciyar Hausa wadda Hausar Kano ta mamaye. Littafin nan ya kunshi tsofaffi da sababbin kalmomi, wanda ya bambanta shi da sauran Qamusan da suka gabace shi. An yi wannan littafi ne domin manyan malamai na jami’o’i da dalibai masu bincike da masu magana da Harshen Hausa da masu koyon Hausa a Najeriya da wajenta.

Publisher: Bayero University Press, Nigeria, 2022

The Healing Stage: Black Women, Incarceration, and the Art of Transformation

[طور التشافي: أخبارالنساء السوداوات في السجون وسبل التغير والاندماج]

Author: Lisa Biggs

In this book, Lisa Biggs reveals how four ensembles of currently and formerly incarcerated women and their collaborating artists use theater and performance to challenge harmful policies and popular discourses that justify locking up “bad” women. Focusing on prison-based arts programs in the US and South Africa, Biggs illustrates how Black feminist cultural traditions–theater, dance, storytelling, poetry, humor, and protest–enable women to investigate the root causes of crime and refute dominant narratives about incarcerated women. In doing so, the arts initiatives that she writes about encourage individual and collective healing, a process of repair that exceeds state definitions of rehabilitation. These case studies offer powerful examples of how the labor of incarcerated Black women artists–some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our society–radically extends our knowledge of prison arts programs and our understanding of what is required to resolve human conflicts and protect women’s lives.

Publisher: Ohio State University Press, 2022.

Contesting French West Africa: Battles over Schools and the Colonial Order, 1900–1950

[الكفاح ضد مستعمرة غرب إفريقيا الفرنسية: نموذج المدارس الوطنية والنظام الاستعماري ، 1900-1950]

Author: Harry Gamble

After the turn of the twentieth century, schools played a pivotal role in the construction of French West Africa. But as this dynamic, deeply researched study reveals, the expanding school system also became the site of escalating conflicts. As French authorities worked to develop truncated schools for colonial “subjects,” many African students and young elites framed educational projects of their own. Weaving together a complex narrative and rich variety of voices, Harry Gamble explores the high stakes of colonial education. With the disruptions of World War II, contests soon took on new configurations. Seeking to forestall postwar challenges to colonial rule, French authorities showed a new willingness to envision broad reforms, in education as in other areas. Exploiting the new context of the Fourth Republic and the extension of citizenship, African politicians demanded an end to separate and inferior schools. Contesting French West Africa critically examines the move toward educational integration that took shape during the immediate postwar period. Growing linkages to the metropolitan school system ultimately had powerful impacts on the course of decolonization and the making of postcolonial Africa.

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press, 2017.

Arrested Development: The Soviet Union in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, 1955-1968

[بتر عجلة التنمية: الاتحاد السوفياتي في غانا وغينيا ومالي ، 1955-1968]

Author: Alessandro Iandolo

In the middle of the 20th century, there was a passionate affair, between the Soviet empire and newly independent West African states. It was a short, intense, and acrimonious love story built on shared dreams for a noncapitalist future. Alessandro Iandolo’s new book explores the history of this unlikely romance. The book traces the rise and fall of the Soviet Union’s engagement with these three West African nations, which Iandolo argues were at the center of the Soviet search for development in the Third World.

Publisher: Cornell University Press, 2022.

Scripts of Blackness: Early Modern Performance Culture and the Making of Race

[مخطوطات من تاريخ السود: دور فن التمثيل في صناعة الانتماءات العرقية وسط السود]

Author: Noémie Ndiaye

Scripts of Blackness shows how the early modern mass media of theatre and performance culture at-large helped turn blackness into a racial category, that is, into a type of difference justifying emerging social hierarchies and power relations in a new world order driven by colonialism and capitalism. In this book, Noémie Ndiaye explores the techniques of impersonation used by white performers to represent Afro-diasporic people in England, France, and Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, using a comparative and transnational framework.

She reconstructs three specific performance techniques—black-up (cosmetic blackness), blackspeak (acoustic blackness), and black dances (kinetic blackness)—in order to map out the poetics of those techniques, and track a number of metaphorical strains that early modern playtexts regularly associated with them. Those metaphorical strains, the titular scripts of blackness of this book, operated across national borders and constituted resources, as they provided spectators and participants with new ways of thinking about the Afro-diasporic people who lived or could/would ultimately live in their midst.

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022.

Envisioning African Intersex: Challenging Colonial and Racist Legacies in South African Medicine

[امكانية التلاقح الأفريقي: نبش الموروثات الاستعمارية والعنصرية في تاريخ مهنة طب بجنوب إفريقيا]

Author: Amanda Lock Swarr

Since the 1600s, travelers, scientists, and doctors have claimed that “hermaphroditism” and intersex are disproportionately common among black South Africans. In Envisioning African Intersex Amanda Lock Swarr debunks this claim by interrogating contemporary intersex medicine and demonstrating its indivisibility from colonial ideologies and scientific racism. Tracing the history of racialized research that underpins medical and scientific premises of gendered bodies, Swarr analyzes decolonial actions by intersex South Africans from the 1990s to the present, centering the work of organizers such as Sally Gross, the first openly intersex activist in Africa and a global pioneer of intersex legislation. Swarr also explores African social media activism that advocates for intersex justice and challenges the mistreatment of South African Olympian Caster Semenya. Throughout, Swarr shows how activists displace doctors’ impositions to fashion self-representation. By unseating colonial visions of gender, intersex South Africans are actively disrupting medical violence, decolonizing gender binaries, and inciting policy changes.

Publisher: Duke University Press, 2023.