Abstract

This article is among the first historical considerations of road safety in Africa. It argues that race and class, as colonial dualisms, analytically frame two defining moments in the development of African automobility and its infrastructure—“Africanization” in the first decade of Kenya’s political independence from Britain, 1963–75, and democratization in postapartheid South Africa. We argue that recent road safety interventions in both countries exemplify an “epidemiological turn” influenced by public health constructions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. African states’ framing of road safety in behaviorist terms has obscured larger debates around redressing the historical legacies of racialized access to roads and the technopolitics of African automobility. Civic involvement in road safety initiatives has tended to be limited, although the specter of road carnage has entered into the public imagination, largely through the death of high profile Africans. However, some African road users continue to pursue alternative, and often culturally embedded, strategies to mitigate the dangers posed by life “on the road.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 464-488
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-21
Open Access
No
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