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On 16 August 2012, the South African Police shot 34 platinum miners who were on strike for better wages and living and working conditions, while they were trying to disperse. Ten people had died before the massacre. The government set up the Farlam Inquiry which cost the people of South Africa R153 million. But it failed not only to ask the right questions—who gave the order to issue guns to the police? Who ordered them to shoot to kill? But also to address the material conditions that give rise to the community’s resistance. The toxic collusion between Lonmin, the South African police and the ANC government comes from the top: as a Lonmin director at the time, now President, Cyril Ramaphosa called the labour dispute a ‘dastardly criminal act’ requiring ‘concomitant action,’ supporting a position which - with 800 police already on the ground in Marikana...

The Editorial Working Group of Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) is pleased to announce the 2017 winner of the Ruth First prize. The prize is awarded for the best article published by an African author in the journal in a publication year. This year, the prize was awarded to Papa Faye for his article The Politics of Recognition, and the Manufacturing of Citizenship and Identity in Senegal's Decentralised Charcoal Market. The ROAPE Prize Committee commented on Faye's article: ‘the fieldwork contribution was impressive, as was the broader engagement with literature on identity politics and recognition. The paper’s discussion of how national policies (however they were conceived) were shaped within the local political economy was sensitively done, and very interesting.’ The article shows how state politics of (re)allocation of rights and resources to social groups within a society (recognition) are constructive of distinct abilities to shape the fate of the political...

African Farmers, Agrarian Transformation and Critical Agrarian Studies By Ray Bush The new page on roape.net Critical Agrarian Studies engages with the most important issue of our time: namely, how can we deliver food availability and accessibility at an ecological and financial cost affordable for Africa’s poor and in a way that is sustainable for the planet. This raises challenging empirical and theoretical issues of power dynamics in the production, distribution and exchange of food and over what types of food will be prioritised in a democratically organised global food regime.  It raises issues in the framework of world food systems on how food is managed by transnational as well as national corporate and economic actors and processes, and how their power and legitimacy can be challenged by social movements and rural resistance to among other things, contract farming, agribusiness, water, land and other asset privatisation. The...

My students make me much more optimistic about the future of Africa’s political economies. Unwilling to accept the criticism with which academics attack almost every actor involved in African development including politicians, businesspeople, international organisations and multilateral institutions, my students don’t just want to stand on the side-lines and analyse the problems, rather they want to get onto the pitch and find ways to change the world. This mission is particularly strong among my students from African countries, who see development, not as an abstract concept, but as a concrete and tangible future they want for their societies. Inspired by our students, this year, Thandika Mkandawire and I decided to ask our African Development course students at the LSE to write critical and thoughtful blog-posts about the most pressing issues concerning economic and social development within African countries. We then asked students to vote on the...