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Contradictions of Neo-Liberal Land Reforms
This empirically grounded study provides a critical reflection on the land question in Africa, research on which tends to be tangential, conceptually loose and generally inadequate. It argues that the most pressing research concern must be to understand the precise nature of the African land question, its land reforms and their effects on development. To unravel the roots of land conflicts in Africa requires thorough understanding of the complex social and political contradictions which have ensued from colonial and post-colonial land policies, as well as from Africa's 'development' and capital accumulation trajectories, especially with regard to the land rights of the continent's poor. The study thus questions the capacity of emerging neo-liberal economic and political regimes in Africa to deliver land reforms which address growing inequality and poverty. It equally questions the understanding of the nature of popular demands for land reforms by African states, and their ability to address these demands under the current global political and economic structures dictated by neo-liberalism and its narrow regime of ownership. The study invites scholars and policy makers to creatively draw on the specific historical trajectories and contemporary expression of the land and agrarian questions in Africa, to enrich both theory and practice on land in Africa.
This book, from ethical, interdisciplinary, and African perspectives, unveils the root causes of the increasing land disputes. Its significance lies upon the effort of presenting a broad overview founded upon a critical analysis of the existing land-related disputes. It is a perspective that attempts to evaluate the renewed interest in evolving theories of land rights by raising questions that can help us to understand better differences underlying land ownership systems, conflict between customary and statutory land rights systems, and the politics of land reform. Other dimensions explored in the book include the market influence on land-grabbing and challenges accompanying trends of migration, resettlement, and integration. The methodology applied in the study provides a perspective that raises questions intended to identify areas of contention, dispute, and conflict. The study, which could also be categorized as a critical assessment of the African land rights systems, is intended to be a resource for scholars, activists, and organizations working to resolve land-related disputes.
Many African countries achieved independence from their colonisers over five decades ago, but the people and the continent largely remain mere spectators in the arena of their own dance. The post-independence states are supposed to be sovereign, but the levers of economic and political powers still reside in the donor states. Not in many fora is the complex reality that defines Africa more trenchantly articulated than in imaginative literature produced about and on the continent. This is the crux of the essays collected in African Literature and the Future. The book reflects on Africa�s past and present, addressing anxieties about the future through the epistemological lens of literature. The contributors peep ahead from a backward glance. They dissect the trend and tenor of politics and their impact on the socio-cultural and economic development of the continent as portrayed in imaginative writings over the years. One salient feature of African literature is the close affinity between art and politics in its polemics. This is well established in all the six essays in the book as the authors stress the interconnections between literature and society in their textual analyses. On the whole, there is an overwhelming feeling of angst and pessimism, but the authors perceive a glimmer of hope despite daunting odds, under different conditions. Thus, they depict the plausible fate of Africa in the twenty-first century, as informed by its ancient and recent past, gleaned from primary texts.
How do we resolve the insider/outsider interpreting conundrum? Why do readers from different parts of the world read, interpret, or understand foreign literatures the way they do? What drives peculiar critical reactions, canon formations and such issues which determine the survival of cultural productions or their continued adoption as useful bolsters for a people's self-definition or indeed self-preservation and self-determination? African Literature: Gender Discourse, Religious Values, and the African Worldview offers a series of fresh insights into most of the old "problematics" which used to sustain the interpretations of African literature, especially by women. Students, scholars, and general readers wishing to consider issues of gender in relation to African cultural and socioeconomic systems and what Salami-Boukari interrogates and names as an "African worldview," will find the interdisciplinary discussion of historical analyses, literary criticism and gender discourses a useful method for engaging contemporary African perspectives.
An Historical Ethnography of Kom, Cameroon, C. 1800-2008
In this book Walter Gam Nkwi documents the complexities and nuances embedded in African modernities and mobilities which have been overlooked in historical discourses in Africa and Cameroon. Using an ethnographic historical approach and drawing on the intricacies of what it has meant to be and belong in Kom� an ethnic community in the Northwest Region of Cameroon � since 1800, he explores the discourses and practices of kfaang as central to any understanding of mobility and modernity in Kom, Cameroon and Africa at large. The book unveils the emic understanding of modernity through the history and ethnography of kfaang and its technologies and illustrates how these terminologies were conceived and perceived by the Kom people in their social and physical mobilities. It documents and analyzes the historical processes involved in bringing about and making kfaang a defining feature of everyday life in Kom and among Kom subjects.
Reflections on the Politics of Material and Public Culture in Zimbabwe
One of the central theoretical and practical issues in post-colonial Africa is the relevance, nature, and politics at play in the management of museum institutions on the continent. Most African museums were established during the 19th and 20th centuries as European imperialists were spreading their colonial tentacles across the continent. The attainment of political independence has done little to undo or correct the obnoxious situation. Most African countries continue to practice colonial museology despite surging scholarship and calls by some Afro-centric and critical scholars the world over to address the quandaries on the continent�s museum institutions. There is thus an unresolved struggle between the past and the present in the management of museums in Africa. In countries such as Zimbabwe, the struggle in museum management has been precipitated by the sharp economic downturn that has gripped the country since the turn of the millennium. In view of all these glitches, this book tackles the issue of the management of heritage in Zimbabwe. The book draws on the findings by scholars and researchers from different academic orientations and backgrounds to advance the thesis that museums and museology in Zimbabwe face problems of epic proportions that require urgent attention. It makes insightful suggestions on possible solutions to the tapestry of the inexorably enigmatic amalgam of complex problems haunting museum institutions in Zimbabwe, calling for a radical transformation of museology as a discipline in the process. This book should appeal to policy makers, scholars, researchers and students from disciplines such as museology, archaeology, social-cultural anthropology, and culture and heritage studies.
A Search for a Culture and Philosophy of Belonging
The once acrimonious debate on the existence of African philosophy has come of age, yet the need to cultivate a culture of belonging is more demanding now than ever before in many African societies. The gargantuan indelible energised chicanery waves of neo-colonialism and globalisation and their sweeping effect on Africa demand more concerted action and solutions than cul-de-sac discourses and magical realism. It is in view of this realisation that this book was born. This is a vital text for understanding contextual historical trends in the development of African philosophic ideas on the continent and how Africans could possibly navigate the turbulent catadromous waters, tangled webs and chasms of destruction, and chagrin of struggles that have engrossed Africa since the dawn of slavery and colonial projects on the continent. The book aims to generate more insights and influence national, continental, and global debates in the field of philosophy. It is accessible and handy to a wider range of readers, ranging from educators and students of African philosophy, anthropology, African studies, cultural studies, and all those concerned with the further development of African philosophy and thought systems on the African continent.
Building Synergy for Development
For the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and its partners, the link between research and policy is of paramount importance in their goal to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in developing countries. The nature of the collaboration between researchers and decision-makers, however, is complex, multifaceted and often difficult to implement. Moreover, research is very often designed and carried out without regard for its potential users or beneficiaries. How should research agendas be developed? What is the role of the private sector in developing research? Which actors are involved in knowledge production and utilization? How can the dialogue between researchers and decision-makers be improved? This short and accessible book records the reflections, opinions and recommendations which emerged from six national workshops organised between 2004 and 2007 in West and Central Africa on the synergy between researchers and decision-makers. Abdoulaye Ndiaye is a Senegalese expert and international consultant in development. He edited this book as a member and on behalf of the IDRC Council of Regional Advisors for West and Central Africa which organized the series of workshops throughout the sub-region.
Bequeathing an enduring tenet for the creative enterprise, African Short Stories vol 2 boldly seeks to upturn the status quo by the art of narration. Whether they are stories of the whistle blower estranged and yet sounding the warning for heaven and earth to hear, or a ragtag army fleeing in the wake of a monstrous reptilian onslaught upon her peace, there pervades a sense of ultimate victory in this collection. We can feel the gentle kick of a baby in the womb of a maiden in desperation, or we can muse at the two adolescent genii on the trail of their dreams from the sunset of mutual deceit into the daylight of true becoming. Victory is laid out in that awesome kindness of a total stranger which affirms the divinity latent in even our most harrowing existence. With thirty five stories in two parts these literary experiments compel attention to the courageous hearts and minds that brighten the African universe of narration. Their vibrant notes coming from all corners of north, west, east and south fill us with encouragement and optimism for the contemporary short fiction in Africa.
The doctrine of international relations (inter-state, indeed), territorial ideologies, the logic of autochthony and its ramifications, ethnic cleansing, are all hinged at different levels upon the same pseudo-fact: to every society a closed and exclusive territory demarcated by fixed and linear borders. This way of thinking, totally foreign to African societies for a long time, has generated today more contradictions than it can ever solve. The authors of this book make a clear distinction between territory formation "from the top" as being a deliberate political project, and its formation "from below" as being a more diffused historical process which is determined by the scheme of antagonisms and compromises between social forces. In lieu of a stark opposition between "the top" and "below", the authors unveil the interdependence and mutual influence which form the basis of a dual system within which legal formation -by the colonial authorities first, then by the postcolonial one- is confronted with a host of subaltern spatial dynamics, neglecting thereby the legitimacy which only them can provide. As an essential read for anyone who is interested in the relationship between knowledge and power, this book offers stimulating perspectives on the issue of African unity and its epistemological and political challenges. It renews profoundly our approaches to human security, citizenship, borders and mobility. Contributions are in English and in French.