Connexions Resource Centre
Focus on Africa
Recent & Selected Articles
- This is a small sampling of articles related to education and children in the Connexions Online Library. For more articles, books, films, and other resources, check the Connexions Library Subject Index, especially under topics such as
and African politics.
- Where the world's appetite for fish matters most (October 18, 2017)
Illegal over-fishing by Chinese and other foreign vessels is severely affecting the economy and food securty of West African nations.
- Chinese neocolonialism in Africa (September 7, 2017)
China has literally invaded Africa with its investors, traders, lenders, builders, developers, labourers and who knows what else. The fancy phrase for that is win-win cooperation. The "cooperation" has opened up Africa as a source of raw materials for China and a dumping ground for cheap Chinese manufactured goods. It is Chinese neocolonialism.
- Royal greed and oppression sold as culture in Swaziland (August 11, 2016)
Swazilands King Mswati III passes suppression, unaccountability and royal opulent spending in the face of drought, starvation and poverty, as traditionally "Swazi" values. Sonkhe Dube, a young exiled activist, begs to differ.
- Agroecology Case Studies (March 31, 2016)
The thirty-three case studies shed light on the tremendous success of agroecological agriculture across the African continent. They demonstrate with facts and figures how an agricultural transformation respectful of farmers and their environment can yield immense economic, social, and food security benefits while also fighting climate change and restoring soils and the environment.
- Ethiopian Protesters Endure Brutality and Censorship Amid Land Struggle (January 26, 2016)
Students in Ethiopia's largest administrative region, Oromia, have been braving state-sponsored violence and censorship since November 2015 to protest a government development plan.
- A Revolutionary Speech: Patrice Lumumba and the Birth of the Republic of Congo (January 21, 2016)
Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader and first democratically elected Prime Minister, was executed on 17th January, 1961. He had been beated and tortured in a culmination of two assassination plots by the Belgian government and the CIA, ordered directly by President Dwight Eisenhower to 'eliminate' the charismatic leader, with the cooperation of British intelligence and Katangan authorities.
- Deadliest Terror in the World: The West's Latest Gift to Africa (November 30, 2015)
Nigeria's Boko Haram are now officially the deadliest terror group in the world. That they have reached this position is a direct consequence of Cameron and Co's war on Libya - and one that was perhaps not entirely unintended.
- Wangari Maathai was not a good woman. Kenya needs more of them. (October 6, 2015)
25 September, 2015 marked four years since the passing of Kenyan environmentalist and feminist icon, Wangari Maathai. In Kenya, the celebrations were notably muted as her standing in the country has been ambiguous. Maathai challenged the notion of Kenyan women, who are forced to pretend to be "good" to satisfy societal expectations.
- Australian Mining Companies Digging A Deadly Footprint in Africa (July 10, 2015)
Schilis-Gallego discusses Australian mining companies' involvement in violence and human rights violations in Africa.
- South Africa's short memory (July 1, 2015)
The migrants so recently attacked in South Africa almost all came from neighbouring countries that paid a high price in death and ruin for supporting anti-apartheid struggles.
- Ghana's women farmers resist the G7 plan to grab Africa's seeds (May 22, 2015)
Sharing and saving seed is a crucial part of traditional farming all over Africa. Governments, backed by multinational seed companies, are imposing oppressive seed laws that attack the continent's main food producers and open the way to industrial agribusiness.
- SA xenophobic attacks: A view from below (April 15, 2015)
The attacks on African migrants in South Africa are connected to oppression of poor black people in general. To prevent the poor from organizing and standing up to their real enemies, the state is tacitly encouraging violence against foreigners.
- Africa rising? The economic history of sub-Saharan Africa (April 12, 2015)
An overview of the economic history of sub-Saharan Africa since independence (around 1960 for most countries).
- Ethiopia: stealing the Omo Valley, destroying its ancient Peoples (February 16, 2015)
A land grab is under way in Ethiopia, as the government pursues the wholesale seizure of indigenous lands to turn them over to dams and plantations for sugar, palm oil, cotton and biofuels run by foreign corporations.
- Nigerian farmers face destitution from 300 sq.km land grab backed by UK aid (January 28, 2015)
Farmers in Nigeria's north eastern state of Taraba are being forced off lands they have farmed for generations to make way for US company Dominion Farms to establish a 300 square kilometre rice plantation.
- Ghana's farmers battle "Monsanto law' to retain seed freedom (October 24, 2014)
Ghana's government is desperate to pass a Plant Breeders Bill that would remove farmers' ancient 'seed freedom' to grow, retain, breed and develop crop varieties - while giving corporate breeders a blanket exemption from seed regulations. But the farmers are fighting back.
- Twiga Farm: The story of a Kenyan land grab (October 8, 2014)
On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, the residents of Twiga Farm marched through the streets of Nairobi to hand in a petition to the National Assembly. Their demand was an investigation in the unlawful eviction from their lands, the Twiga Farm, and recognition of their right to return.
- Marikana, Gaza, Ferguson - 'You Should Think of Them Always As Armed' (August 18, 2014)
In colonial wars the occupying power invariably reaches a point where it has to acknowledge that its true enemy is not a minority - devil worshipers, communists, fanatics or terrorists - subject to external and evil manipulation, but the people as a whole. Once this point is reached every colonised person is taken as a potential combatant and the neighbourhood and the home are cast as legitimate sites of combat.
- The Menace of Boko Haram and Fundamentalism in Nigeria (May 30, 2014)
I will sell your girls in the market. - Abubakar Shekau. From time to time in the life of a society, one episode or a series of episodes shock the social system and brings to the fore long festering sores that need resolution. The kidnapping of over 200 young girls and the depravity of those who proclaimed that these youths would be sold into sexual slavery are one of such episodes. The statement about selling the girls in the market brought out the deep contradictions of Nigerian society and called for firm and clear resolution of the questions of slavery, exploitation, sexual violence, male oppression and the manipulation of religion to serve the needs of particular sections of the looters and zealots of Nigeria.
- Ethiopia's seed banks - under threat from G8 plan to 'develop' Africa (April 25, 2014)
Ethiopia leads the way in preserving crop seeds by engaging farming communities in the effort, and making the exchange of seeds part of village life and culture, reports Claire Provost. But now it's all at risk from a G8 plan to open Africa to corporate agriculture.
- Ethiopia's 'slow genocide' in the Omo Valley (April 7, 2014)
A 'slow genocide' is unfolding in Ethiopia - one driven by greed rather than hatred.
- UK 'aid' is financing a corporate scramble for Africa (April 3, 2014)
The corporate power-grab will be disastrous for the small-scale farmers who feed at least 70% of Africa's people.
- Forward to a mass workers' party in Southern Africa (February 19, 2014)
The conference of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), held in December 2013, was indisputably a momentous occasion in the struggle in South Africa. It epitomizes an extraordinary separation not only from the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest organisation of conservative black nationalism, but also from the South African Communist Party (SACP), one of the last so-called communist parties from the Soviet era.
- Africa's Farm Revolution - Who will Benefit? (February 18, 2014)
A farming revolution is under way in Africa, pushed by giant corporations and the UK's aid budget. It will surely be good for the global economy, but will Africa's small farmers see the benefit?
- The Nigerians Who Dare to Speak of Love as a Tide of Anti-gay Hatred Rises (January 18, 2014)
A new crackdown on gender minorities has led to arrests and fears of mob violence. But a brave few are still fighting for sexual freedom.
- Kalahari Bushmen unite to end oppression (December 26, 2013)
Representatives of the Basarwa or Bushman peoples of Botswana step up their fight to end structural oppression of their communities.
- Mandela the radical (December 6, 2013)
Nelson Mandela will be celebrated principally for the dignity with which he emerged onto the world stage after decades in prison and for the forgiveness that he displayed towards his former enemies in forging a democratic, multi-racial South Africa from the poisoned legacy of apartheid.
- The Mandela Years in Power (December 6, 2013)
South Africa's democratization was profoundly compromised by an intra-elite economic deal that, for most people, worsened poverty, unemployment, inequality and ecological degradation, while also exacerbating many racial, gender and geographical differences.
- Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom (December 6, 2013)
- Mandela's Paradoxes Made His Journey Even Greater (December 6, 2013)
Mandela was in it to win it. He sought concrete, historic and big change, knew that it could not be achieved without the support of public opinion, and proved expertly flexible in, through trial and error, discovering what worked and what did not work, and embracing what did work.
- Nelson Mandela (December 6, 2013)
Mandela was not alone. The struggle to liberate South Africa was a collective effort. Moreover it was the power of the most downtrodden, the workers in the factories, the poor in the community, working class women and youth that brought the Apartheid government, if not completely to its knees at least to negotiate the terms of the end of their racist system.
- Nelson Mandela: A Dissenting Opinion (December 6, 2013)
It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa. That was because he was no longer struggling against a rogue regime but against the existing order. As I suspect Mandela realised only too well, one cannot lead a revolution when there are no followers.
- Who was Nelson Mandela? (December 6, 2013)
We should treasure the memory of the Mandela our rulers hated: the lonely, courageous, unbowed political prisoner, condemned for his resistance to racial oppression.
- Working To Honour Nelson Mandela's Legacy (December 6, 2013)
As the world mourns the passing of South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, his close friend and political stalwart Tokoyo Sexwale says much needs to be done to honour his legacy.
- Failed neo-liberalism sees SA sleepwalking into a revolution (November 18, 2013)
Two decades into democracy the outcomes of our economic system and its policy framework are unambiguous: increased poverty, increased inequality, increased unemployment, escalating costs of living and doing business. How else does one measure the success of any economic model if not on its ability to provide sustainable increases in the well-being to the majority of its citizens?
- African Odyssey Turns to the South (December 27, 2012)
Chronicles the economic hardships faced by Africans and the means they take to alleviate their suffering.
- African odysseys turn to the south (November 14, 2012)
Fewer than 5% of African migrants now want to reach Europe or America. Theyre looking instead to neighbouring countries, or the continents dreamland, South Africa. Its a long, hard way there, and they may be no better off if they reach it.
- South Africa After Marikana - Interview (November 1, 2012)
Suzi Weissman interviews Leonard Gentle.
- Marikana A Point of Rupture? (October 15, 2012)
South Africa, despite 18 years of majority rule, continues to be one of the most unequal societies on an increasingly unequal planet and is in crisis. Around half the population, mostly black Africans, live below the poverty line. Almost half of all black African households earned below R1670 a month in 200506, while only 2 percent of white households fell in that income bracket.
- The Brutal Tragedy at Marikana (September 1, 2012)
The following statement, A Brutal Tragedy that Never Should Have Happened, was issued by the editors of Amandla! immediately following the August 16 shooting of striking miners.
- The Left and South Africa's Crisis (September 1, 2012)
An interview with Brian Ashley, the editor of the South African journal AMANDLA!
- Social Movements in South Africa (September 1, 2012)
Investigation into the current political movements in South Africa.
- A "Tunisia Moment" Coming? (September 1, 2012)
A prominent commentator and a brother of the former president, Moeletsi Mbeki caused a major stir last year when he announced that South Africa is headed for a Tunisia Moment.
- Slavery still shackles Mauritania, 31 years after its abolition (August 14, 2012)
Rigid caste system and ruling elite have enabled a centuries-old practice to continue into the 21st century.
- At the crossroads between 'Green Economy' and rights of nature (June 28, 2012)
Under the rhetoric of "green economy", capitalists are actually attempting to use nature as capital, proposing unconvincingly that the only way to preserve natural elements such as water and forests is through private investment.
- African Awakenings: The Emerging Revolutions (Book Review) (June 3, 2012)
This book sets out to place the host of new movements arising across the continent in a singular socio-political context.
- Book Review: African Awakenings: The Emerging Revolutions (June 3, 2012)
Conspicuously absent from the renewed and resurgent discourse amongst anti-capitalist forces and the popular imagination was sub-Saharan Africa, black Africa, the Africa of the eternal cycle of dictators, corruption, famine, bad governance and debt. African Awakenings: The Emerging Revolutions ambitiously sets out to remedy this and place the host of new movements arising across the continent in a singular socio-political context.
- Book Review: C.L.R. James, A History of Pan-African Revolt (1939, 1969) (June 3, 2012)
A small and dangerous volume, this republication of C.L.R. Jamess A History of Pan-African Revolt is a concise survey of Black freedom struggles in the United States, the Caribbean, and on the African continent from 17391969.
- A Marxist History of the World part 62: The Scramble for Africa (February 13, 2012)
The imperial competition to control Africa spawned a predatory colonialism of mines, plantations, and machine-guns and propelled humanity towards industrialised world war writes Neil Faulkner.
- The Egyptian workers' movement and the 25 January Revolution (January 9, 2012)
This article is an exploration of one of the fundamental processes that brought the revolution back to Tahrir: the rise of an organised working class movement.
- It Doesn't Matter to Them If It's Untrue. It's a Higher Truth. (November 2, 2011)
The lies used to justify the US/NATO attack on Libya.
- Dollarization, Democracy & Daily Life in Zimbabwe (November 1, 2011)
Satellite TV is big in Zimbabwe; owing to the limited and propagandistic programming on state-sponsored Z-TV, and the travails of night travel on a decaying road network, just about every house in Harare, from the poor/working class Mbare township to the luxury suburb of Burrowdale, sports a dish that brings South African soapies, Al Jazeera and, most importantly, the latest in reality TV to living rooms across the land.
- Another Immoral Adventure (October 24, 2011)
When we support brutal governments in foreign countries be it through aid, training, or troops on the ground there are real and lasting consequences for the people who live there. There are many reasons to oppose the US incursion into Uganda (the risk of blowback, the chance of escalation, the furtherance of the imperial presidency, the financial cost, the practical fact that we cant intervene everywhere, and so on), but the most important argument is moral.
- The Earth Grabbers (July 22, 2011)
Climate justice means that the Minerals-Energy Complex will have to take the same course as apartheid.
- Anatomy of Egypt's Revolution (February 17, 2011)
Like perfect storms, several factors have to simultaneously and collectively come together for popular uprisings or protests, even massive ones, to turn into a revolution. That is why only a few of them have been successful in world history.
- The Making of Egypt's Revolution (February 1, 2011)
- Tunisia, Then Egypt (January 31, 2011)
Under what circumstances does passivity turn into revolt?
- Globalizing the Culture Wars (April 2, 2010)
Uganda, like many countries in Africa and around the world, adheres to long-standing heterosexual and patriarchal traditions as to what is acceptable sexual behavior. In the West, such traditions are shared by a dwindling minority. The bourgeois capitalist marketplace has reconfigured that which is morally acceptable. Sexual practices among adults are areas of personal erotic experience, protected private activities.
- Reporting Gender Based Violence (December 28, 2009)
Violence Against Women has presented particular challenges to the media and to society because of the way it has been consigned to the "private" sphere -- dampening public discussion and stifling media debate. Yet, the media has the potential to play a lead role in changing perceptions that, in turn, can help galvanize a movement for change. This toolkit seeks to help reporters and news managers grapple with the challenge of reporting gender based violence is a way that doe snot perpetuate gender stereotypes but informs and encourages public debate.
- Sudan: Women Perpetuate Culture of Submission (December 17, 2009)
The ability of society to acknowledge the productive capacity of women, especially in the political arena, can by-and-large be brought about only by women breaking into roles not culturally ascribed to them.
- Malawi: Women Fight Harmful Cultural Practices (December 14, 2009)
Combatting traditional practices that harm women.
- Mobile Schools Help Nomadic Somalis Fight Drought (September 17, 2009)
Mobile schools - secular pre-schools which follow these groups as they move to find pasture and water for livestock - are an attempt to help nomadic communities develop more options as the climate becomes increasingly hostile.
- In Uganda, Rioters Strip Women Wearing Trousers (September 15, 2009)
Rioters attacked and stripped about 20 Ugandan women who were wearing trousers last week during deadly riots in Kampala. The humiliations were part of a major confrontation between a traditional kingdom and President Yoweri Museveni's government.
- South Africa: Redouble Efforts to Reduce Maternal Mortality (September 10, 2009)
Maternal health has been under the spotlight in South Africa after an analysis of maternal deaths was released in July showing an increase in the country's maternal mortality rate. Researchers found that nearly four out of every 10 deaths (38.4 percent) were avoidable. They identified non-attendance and delayed attendance as common problems, together with poor transport facilities, lack of health care facilities and lack of appropriately trained staff.
- Desert Winds Stir New Hope (September 9, 2009)
With oil and gas reserves running dry, Egypt is eyeing wind power as a solution to its looming energy crunch.
- Uganda: Carbon Trading Scheme Pushing People off Their Land (August 31, 2009)
Carbon trading schemes are causing the displacement of indigenous persons as western companies rush to invest in tree-planting projects in developing countries.
- Coming out in Kenya (August 23, 2009)
Rape has always been used to intimidate assertive women in Kenya, like feminists and female politicians.
- Health and environmental victories for South African activists (August 20, 2009)
In South Africa, major advances in health and the environment during the 2000s were only won by social activists by removing the profit motive.
- Looting Africa: Canadian Company Eyes Gold in Democratic Republic of Congo (August 20, 2009)
A Canadian mining company is prepared to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in gold out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of Africa's most embattled and poorest countries. One expert says that to extract gold, the company will have to cut a deal with a violent African militia.
- Sex Workers' Rights in Kenya: "It's Better to Be a Thief Than Gay in Kenya" (August 6, 2009)
"It's better to be a thief than gay in Kenya," says a gay sex worker. Both are often punished by death, but being the latter means never revealing yourself to the public and remaining perpetually closeted. It means dealing with homophobes at day and pleasuring them at night.
- Volunteer Translators Wanted - English to Afrikaans (2009)
Connexions, an independent non-profit research organization and information clearinghouse based in Toronto, Canada, seeks volunteer translators to translate articles, and terms in our subject index, from English to Afrikaans.
- Congo's War, Women's Holocaust (March 1, 2008)
Which current war has taken more lives than the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur put together?
- Zimbabwean feminist speaks (June 1, 2007)
If one looks at the experience of women in Zimbabwe and one looks at the role of the state in relation to women's lives, the state has never had the interests of women at heart. Women are only considered citizens when the state has something to gain.
- Take a STAND Canada. An Interview on the Darfur advocacy group's path to success with director Ben Fine (June 1, 2006)
An interview on the Darfur advocacy groups's path to success with director Ben Fine.
- Manela's Democracy (April 1, 1999)
Nelson Mandela's ideological legacy in South Africa and globally is startlingly complex. He has provided inspiration for the struggles of oppressed people throughout the world, and he has made himself a symbol of reconciliation in a world in which their oppression continues. To understand his historical role, and come to terms with his legacy, we need to see how his greatness and his limitations stem from the same source.
- The Civic Movement in South Africa: Popular Politics, Then and Now (1997)
The tradition of democracy within the progressive movement in South Africa remains alive and well, judging not only by the recent, high-profile contestation of ANC provincial elections, but also by grassroots democratic impulses within the civic movement.
- Mzwanele Mayekiso's Township Politics (1997)
Given the inadequate media coverage of the new South Africa, it is easy to forget about the ordinary citizens who were always the strength of the anti-apartheid struggle.
- The Tunisian Intifada (2011)
Selected Websites and Organizations
- This is a small sampling of organizations and websites concerned with education and children in the Connexions Directory. For more organizations and websites, check the Connexions Directory Subject Index, especially under topics such as
and African history.
- Africa Project for Participatory Society
APPS is an anti-racist and pro-feminist political initiative, and is committed to promoting radical social change. APPS is based on the following values: solidarity, self-management, diversity and equity.
Other Links & Resources
Books, Films and Periodicals
- This is a small sampling of books related to education and children in the
Connexions Online Library. For more books and other resources, check the Connexions Library
Subject Index, especially under topics such as
and African history.
- An African Village Two decades of change in an African Village
New Internationalist May 2006 - #389
A look at the lives of people living in African villages and how things have improved.
- Chocolate Nations
Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa
Author: Ryan, Orla
Speculation, pests, political corruption, taxation, land rights, civil war and the IMF are forces at play in this investigation of cocoa agriculture and export in West Africa.
- Decolonization and Empire
Contesting the Rhetoric and Reality of Resubordination in Southern Africa and Beyond
Author: Saul, John
John Saul scrutinizes the subjects of empire and the new neocolonialist states of Southern Africa funded by the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and World Bank. The gap between rich and poor continues to grow as the unequal opportunities and material outcomes of the free market entrench themselves. This hierarchy is in part self-creating and self-sustaining but also locked into place by these international institutions.
- An Economic History of West Africa
Author: Hopkins, A.G.
An examination of the economy of West Africa from the fifteenth to the twentieth century.
- Germany and Genocide in Namibia
Special Issue of Pambazuka News - #577 - March 2012
Between 1904 and 1908 imperial Germany waged an atrocious and inhumane war of extermination against the Herero, Nama, Damara and San peoples in its former colony German South West Africa, now the Republic of Namibia.
- A History of Pan-African Revolt
Author: James, C.L.R.
Originally published in England in 1938 and expanded in 1969, this work isa classic account of global Black resistance. This concise, accessible history of revolts by African peoples worldwide explores the wide range of methods used by Africans to resist oppression and the negative effects of imperialism and colonization as viewed in the 20th century.
- The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings
Author: Equiano, Olaudah
Olaudah Equiano's Narrative recounts his kidnapping in Africa at the age of eleven, his service as the slave of an officer in the British Navy, and his years of labour on slave ships until he was able to purchase his freedom in 1766. As a free man on a Central American plantation, he supervised slaves; increasingly disgusted by his co-workers, he returned to England in 177. In England he worked for the resettlement of blacks in Sierra Leone, married an Englishwoman, and became a leading and respected figure in the anti-slavery movement.
- King Leopold's Ghost
A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
Author: Hochschild, Adam
The brutal story of Belgian colonialism in the Congo, resulting in the death of between five and eight million Africans.
- No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way
Voices from Symphony Way
Accounts from Symphony Way pavement dwellers, joined together in an anti-eviction campaign, living in shacks insisting that the government provide permanent housing.
- Out of Africa: A Migrant's Story
New Internationalist June 2005 - #379
An issue on the story of a nurse's return back to Kenya and the reason why she has worked so far away from home. Also, a discussion on a widespread crisis in international healthcare and the human costs of our global free-market economy.
- Revolutionary Traveller
Author: Saul, John S.
John S. Saul draws on a series of his own occasional articles written over a span of forty years which, together with a linking narrative, serve to trace not only his own career as an anti-apartheid and liberation support movement activist in both Canada and southern Africa but also help recount the history of the various struggles in both venues in which he has been directly involved.
- Township Politics: Civic Struggles for a New South Africa
Author: Mayekiso, Mzwanele
It is with the ordinary citizens of our cities, towns, and villages that I rest my greatest hopes and expectations. Their role in South Africa and elsewhere has been inspiring, and it is in the whole rather than in the sum of the actions of a few leaders that change is accomplished.
- Wars for Africa's wealth
New Internationalist May 2004
Discussion of the wealth in Africa, and the wars and violence which it has fuelled.
Learning from our History
Resources for Activists
The Connexions Calendar - An event calendar for activists. Submit your events for free here.
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Organizing Resources Page - Change requires organizing. Power gives way only when it is challenged by a movement for change, and movements grow out of organizing. Organizing is qualitatively different from simple “activism”. Organizing means sustained long-term conscious effort to bring people together to work for common goals. This page features a selection of articles, books, and other resources related to organizing.
Publicity and Media Relations - A short introduction to media relations strategies.
Grassroots Media Relations - A media relations guide for activist groups.
Socialism Gateway - A gateway to resources about socialism, socialist history, and socialist ideas.
Marxism Gateway - A gateway to resources about Marxism.
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