Research Africa News: August 18, 2023

Research Africa News: August 18, 2023

A United Nations Report-Africa

A sequence of shocks beyond its borders diminished Africa’s ability to develop and led to fast increasing debt levels.

With nearly 1.4 billion people, or approximately one-sixth of the world’s population, Africa’s importance in the global economy is growing. Yet, since the turn of the century, the continent has been faced with several shocks that have arisen largely beyond its borders. Beginning with the global financial crisis of 2008 and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Africa’s vulnerabilities have been brought to light. Subsequently, the continent’s need to increase its resilience and independence from the rest of the world has taken on greater importance.

Read the report here.

What Are the Top Global Destinations for Higher Education for African Students?

By Zainab Usman, Aline Abayo July 13, 2023

There appears to be a shift in African students’ higher education choices toward a variety of emerging economies and middle powers such as Türkiye, the UAE, and Malaysia, among others, beyond the former colonial powers such as Belgium, Portugal, or the U.K.

Africa is the continent with the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population: the current median age is about 19 years, and the population is projected to comprise 23 percent of the world’s labor force by 2050. As such, the task of providing quality education and opportunities for millions of young Africans is an important one. There are already dozens of higher education institutions in African countries that are catering to the rising demand from this growing population.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

Meet The Brothers Who Created An Alphabet To Preserve Language And Culture Across West Africa.

The pulaar language of the fulani people of west Africa is now accessible through adlam display on microsoft 365 thanks to a collaboration of ibrahima and abdoulaye barry and microsoft.

By Melissa Noel, July 17, 2023

The Fulani people of West Africa are the world’s largest nomadic group. Their native language, known as Pulaar, is spoken by over 40 million people, but for most of history, the language had no alphabet. The Fulani had to use other alphabets, which meant that the meaning and nuances of the words in their native tongue began to disappear, along with some traditions, stories, and songs, due to illiteracy.


Read the rest of the story here.

Paul Biya’s ghostly legacy in Cameroon: The absence that shaped a nation

By Eric Tsimijuly, July 12, 2023

In power for 41 years, the 90-year-old president has ruled mostly in absentia, a ghostly embodiment of a gerontocracy that has gifted its people the concept of Waithood.

In an unexpected turn, President Paul Biya of Cameroon, a seasoned nonagenarian leader, showed up in excellent health at the “Summit for a New Global Financial Pact” in Paris late last month. Previously, his lengthy stays in Switzerland had stirred up lively debate among Cameroonians. These days, however, his presence (or lack thereof) in Cameroon is far more enigmatic than his past wanderings abroad.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

‘People Here Forget They’re African’: The Rapper Fighting for Tunisian Women.

By Sam Kimball

TUNIS – On a March day in Tunis, Boutheîna El Alouadi appeared out of the crowd of tourists and shoppers swirling around Bab Bhar, a giant stone gate on the edge of Tunisia’s Mediaeval-era Old City. She was out of breath as she jogged to make our meeting while carrying a suitcase full of stage clothes that will transform her later into Medusa – Tunisia’s most prolific female rapper. The 31-year-old artist is a bright example of the explosion of creative expression to emerge from Tunisia after its 2011 Revolution – a mass movement whose gains are being violently rolled back by its new autocratic president, Kais Saïed. Medusa is also one of the very few Tunisian hip-hop artists to gain an international audience of any size.

The Cost of Belonging: Exploring Conformity in Egypt’s Collectivist Society

Farah Aly, 5 AUGUST 2023.

When the Mobinil ad “Dayman Ma’a Ba’ad” (Always Together) debuted in 2012, it achieved unprecedented success. The adoption of themes of community, sharing and unity quickly became a sensation in Egyptian TV marketing, inspiring other companies to follow suit and transforming the industry. Rooted in its opening line, “ashan lazem nekun ma’a ba’ad” (because we must stick together), the ad celebrated Egyptian collective bonds: the Nile Delta farmers’ willingness to share both joy and adversities, the Mediterranean sailors’ endearing hospitality, the unwavering unity among the Sinai Bedouins, and other heartwarming instances of community solidarity and warmth spread across every region in Egypt.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

One on One: Slave and Scholar

By D.G. Martin | Jul 31, 2023 | Columns, D.G. Martin, Town SquareWhat should we teach young students about slavery and its place in North Carolina history?

Should we follow the example of Florida, where new standards for teaching junior high students suggest that slavery’s so-called “benefits” be included? For instance, a discussion of the jobs enslaved people performed in agricultural work, painting, or blacksmithing should show how “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Read the rest of the story at this link..

Ruth J. Simmons Named the 2023 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 26, 2023) — Ruth J. Simmons, professor, author, and president emerita of Prairie View A&M, Brown University, and Smith College, will deliver the 2023 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. NEH’s Jefferson Lecture is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Simmons will deliver her lecture, “Facing History to Find a Better Future,” on September 26 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at 7 p.m. EDT. The lecture is free and open to the public and will stream online at Simmons will draw on her more than 50 years’ experience as a scholar, pioneering academic administrator, and changemaker in higher education to speak about the role of the humanities in fostering socioeconomic mobility and cultural belonging.

Tickets to the lecture are free of charge and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve a ticket online to attend NEH’s 2023 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

NEW BOOKS كتب جديدة

India’s Development Diplomacy & Soft Power in Africa

[الدبلوماسية التنموية الهندية وقوتها الناعمة في أفريقيا]

Author: Edited by Kenneth King and Meera Venkatachalam.

Since independence India has deployed its soft power in Africa, with educational aid and capacity-building at the heart of its Africa policy. However, following economic liberalisation and in a quest for greater global influence, India’s geopolitics have changed. The country’s discourse on Africa has shifted from the mantras of post-colonial solidarity and South-South Cooperation, and there is now a growing sense of Indian exceptionalism, as the country reimagines its past and future against the growing influence of the political right. In this book scholars from India, Africa, Europe and North America show how India’s soft power has been implemented by the diaspora, government and private sector. Research documents how India’s ‘aid’ has been re-thought in major schemes such as e-global education and health, Gandhi statuary and Covid-19 diplomacy in Africa.

Publisher: New Books Network, 2023.

Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War

[فهم حرب تيغراي في إثيوبيا]

Author: Martin Plaut and Sarah Vaughan.

The ongoing war and consequent famine in the Ethiopian province of Tigray are increasingly critical. International journalists are not being allowed to travel to the region, which is almost completely sealed off from the outside world. This is a deliberate strategy by the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments prosecuting the war: their aim is to crush the Tigrayans at almost any cost. This differentiates the current crisis from the famine of 1984-5, when 400,000 died of starvation primarily as the result of a prolonged drought, exacerbated by war and government inaction. Today’s famine is a direct result of supplies to the region being cut off. Hatred of Tigrayans has been stoked by senior advisers to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed: they have called Tigrayans “weeds” who must be uprooted, their place in history extinguished. This language is reminiscent of the statements that preceded the genocide in Rwanda. The present situation has been orchestrated since 2018 by Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, who wields considerable influence over Ethiopian affairs. His troops are deep inside Ethiopia, his security agents in its towns and cities. For both the Eritrean President and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, this appears to be a fight to the finish.

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2023.

Transnational Families in Africa: Migrants and the role of Information Communication Technologies

[العائلات العابرة في أفريقيا: المهاجرون ودور تكنولوجيا المعلومات ]

Author: Edited by Maria C Marchetti-Mercer, Leslie Swartz, Loretta Baldassar, Gonzalo Bacigalupe.

This is the first book to capture the stories of transnational African families and their use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in mediating their experiences of migration and caring across distance. Transnational Families in Africa analyses the highs and lows of family separation as a result of migration in three contexts: migration within South Africa from rural to urban areas; migration from other African countries into South Africa; and middle-class South Africans emigrating to non-African countries. The book foregrounds the importance of kinship and support from extended family as well as both the responsibilities migratory family members feel and the experience of loss by those left behind. Across the diverse circumstances explored in the book are similarities in migrants’ strategies for keeping in touch, but also large differences in relation to access to ICTs and ease-of-use that highlight the digital divide and generational gaps. As elsewhere in the world, and in spite of the varied experiences in these kinship circles, the phenomenon that is the transnational family is showing no signs of receding. This book provides a groundbreaking contribution to global debates on migration from the Global South.

Publisher: Wits University Press, 2023.

Reading from the South: African print cultures and oceanic turns in Isabel Hofmeyr’s work

[مطالعات من الجنوب: ثقافات الطباعة الأفريقية وأخبار المحيط في أعمال إيزابيل هوفماير]

Author: Charne Lavery, Sarah Nuttall (editors).

This book draws together reflective and analytical essays by renowned intellectuals from around the world who critically engage with the work of one of the global South’s leading scholars of African print cultures and the oceanic humanities. Isabel Hofmeyr’s scholarship spans more than four decades, and its sustained and long-term influence on her discipline and beyond is formidable. While much of the history of print cultures has been written primarily from the North, Isabel Hofmeyr is one of the leading thinkers producing new knowledge in this area from Africa, the Indian Ocean world and the global South. Her major contribution encompasses the history of the book as well as shorter textual forms and abridged iterations of canonical works such as John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. She has done pioneering research on the ways in which such printed matter moves across the globe, focusing on intra-African trajectories and circulations as well as movements across land and sea, port and shore. The essays gathered here are written in a blend of intellectual and personal modes, and mostly by scholars of Indian and African descent. Via their engagement with Hofmeyr’s path-breaking work, the essays in turn elaborate and contribute to studies of print culture as well as critical oceanic studies, consolidating their findings from the point of view of global South historical contexts and textual practices..

Publisher: Wits University Press, 2023.

African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics

[الإعلام الإفريقي البيئوي: أشكال الشبكات، والسياسات الكوكبية]

Author: Cajetan Iheka.

In African Ecomedia, Cajetan Iheka examines the ecological footprint of media in Africa alongside the representation of environmental issues in visual culture. Iheka shows how, through visual media such as film, photography, and sculpture, African artists deliver a unique perspective on the socioecological costs of media production, from mineral and oil extraction to the politics of animal conservation. Among other works, he examines Pieter Hugo’s photography of electronic waste recycling in Ghana and Idrissou Mora-Kpai’s documentary on the deleterious consequences of uranium mining in Niger. These works highlight not only the exploitation of African workers and the vast scope of environmental degradation but also the resourcefulness and creativity of African media makers. They point to the unsustainability of current practices while acknowledging our planet’s finite natural resources. In foregrounding Africa’s centrality to the production and disposal of media technology, Iheka shows the important place visual media has in raising awareness of and documenting ecological disaster even as it remains complicit in it..

Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021.

Africa’s Contemporary Food Insecurity: Self-inflicted Wounds through Modern Veni Vidi Vici and Land Grabbing

[انعدام الأمان الغذائي في أفريقيا المعاصر ة]

Author: by Nkwazi Nkuzi Mhango.

Land is ubiquitous but exceptionally precious, no-frills, and one-off for all beings past, present, and future though not all appropriately appreciated for its nonpareil significance and sacredness. Nevertheless, currently, African corrupt, credulous, and closed-minded rulers are blindly and bald-facedly dishing land out in this toxic leasing by enacting another scramble for Africa under a putrid façade of investment, a crime against humanity revolving around coloniality, corruption, and racism. China, India, Petro-rich-with-inarable-land Middle East Countries, and western conglomerates are invading Africa to produce biofuels and food for their home populaces for yet another land and food colonisation. Contemporary land grabs aggravate Africa’s food and national in/ security, famishment, and effluence thereof. S/he who cannot feed her/himself is a dangerous laughingstock. This book addresses the crime and proposes what Africa must do to avert self-inflicted wounds resulting from fake and rose gambits like job creation, tax bases, and investment for development. Land is a life giver and is uniquely sacred as such nobody should dish it out or grab it like nobody’s business. The cardinal argument is that Africa must enable its people to till the land it is dishing out to produce and export food to those now grabbing its land. This is the only sensible solution any level-headed person can think of and apply.

Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2023.

Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara: Islam, Spiritual Mediation, and Social Change

[استكشاف الروحانيات في الصحراء الكبرى: الإسلام والتصوفات والتغيير الاجتماعي]

Author: Erin Pettigrew.

This book utilizes invisible forces and entities – esoteric knowledge and spirits – to show how these forms of knowledge and unseen forces have shaped social structures, religious norms, and political power in the Saharan West. Situating this ethnographic history in what became la Mauritanie under French colonial rule and, later the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Pettigrew traces the changing roles of Muslim spiritual mediators and their Islamic esoteric sciences – known locally as l’ḥjāb – over the long-term history of the region. By exploring the impact of the immaterial in the material world and demonstrating the importance of Islamic esoteric sciences in Saharan societies, she illuminates peoples’ enduring reliance upon these sciences in their daily lives and argues for a new approach to historical research that takes the immaterial seriously.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2023.