June 2019 - ROAPE
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June 2019

Bettina Engels writes about the murder of two activists in Burkina Faso. The activists were well known for campaigning against mining in the province of Yagha in the North East of the country.  For years the region has been a hotspot of artisanal mining and conflicts between residents, the mining company and state security forces. Using the fight against ‘Islamic terrorism’, the government is frequently targeting activists. ROAPE appeals to our readers for solidarity and any form of support in the campaign to expose the murderers....

Important funding for ten post-doctoral scholarships in the Global South to realise individual research projects on the global entanglements of authoritarian politics, reactionary movements and ideologies, and emancipatory counter-strategies. Applications that favours scholar-activist methodologies are encouraged, with rigorous academic work embedded in actual left-wing political projects, movements or initiatives....

In this review of R.W. Johnson’s latest book on South Africa, Fighting for the Dream, David Seddon commends an analysis that criticises the ANC as having learned little or nothing from the experience of African nationalism elsewhere on the continent. Although Johnson adopts an approach that explicitly draws on the Marxist tradition, Seddon argues that the ‘top-down’ perspective he adopts does not allow him to see the ordinary people of South Africa as actors and agents in contemporary politics. ...

We bring together five researchers who are speaking at the European Conference on African Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss capitalism, money and commercialisation. Marine Al Dahdah explains that sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicentre of mobile money and an experimental terrain for the mobile economy. Adam Rodgers Johns argues that the entry of capital into Tanzanian football has been embraced by local actors as a positive move towards greater professionalisation and legitimacy, but all is not as it seems. Olivier Graefe and Antje Schlottmann look at the complexity of commercialisation of wildlife in Namibia and the implications for humans, nature, and animals. Fatimah Kelleher argues that consumerist interpretations of market access as a panacea for African women's income inequality present ethical concerns that need an urgent feminist response. All authors look at the commercialisation of previously-less-commercialised sectors as  key developments in neoliberal Africa. ...

The rise of a global technology industry to support financial services, known as fin-tech, has grown enormously in Africa in the last decade. Across the continent many commentators have proclaimed fin-tech as the solution to poverty and development. Examining the case of Kenya’s celebrated fin-tech model, M-Pesa, Milford Bateman, Maren Duvendack and Nicholas Loubere reveal a flawed system that is not an answer to poverty, despite the wild claims of some academic commentators. Quite the contrary, fin-tech offers Africa a further case study of how contemporary capitalism continues to under-develop Africa....

In this review of Congolese-born Belgian artist Baloji’s short film ‘Zombies’, Thandi Loewenson celebrates a seductive and mesmerising tour de force that stirs up the fighting spirit in a people and a continent that has resisted colonial and capitalist extinction. This powerful, haunting review is written with Baloji’s lyrics, videos and ideas which weave through the text – linked in italics....

In ROAPE’s final Connections workshop in Johannesburg in December last year we discussed the dynamics of resistance and transformation on the continent. In this blogpost we publish interviews with participants which provides an extraordinary account of the workshop and the struggles, politics and research of the activists who attended....