Reviews Archives - ROAPE
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Reviews

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. ...

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 a review of Hakim Adi’s Pan-Africanism: A History Mpumelelo Tshabalala celebrates a seminal work on the ideology and content of Pan-Africanism, that also describes the nature and extent of its organisational capacity. Tshabalala sees in the book how ‘Black people all over the world were able − despite state-sponsored repression, erasure, opposition and political assassinations – to network and organise around a Pan-African agenda.’...

Reviewing a major new book on Uganda’s neoliberal transformation, Daniel Lumonya writes that the volume is ‘a deep and comprehensive engagement with the dynamics of development in contemporary Uganda.’ Speaking at the launch of the book in Kampala in April, Lumonya was joined by one of the editors of the book and an audience of scholars and activists from Uganda. The launch was filmed for roape.net and the footage available in the blogpost....

Remi Adekoya reviews a powerful drama based on the consequences of Rwanda’s genocide. He celebrates a series that draws attention to European-owned mining consortiums still carting away the continent’s precious resources in collusion with corrupt local elites and warlords. Adekoya writes that the drama tells a story of a continent still seen by Western powers primarily as a source of wealth by any means necessary rather than a place where flesh-and-blood human beings deserving dignity and respect reside....

Benjamin Selwyn’s The Struggle for Development challenges the dominant view that argues human development can only be achieved through continued economic growth and industrialisation. In this review, Andy Wynne praises a book that aims at the total reconceptualisation of human development, to see development as a process of resisting and ultimately transcending capitalist exploitation....

Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is a masterpiece. In this review of the new edition of the book by Verso, Andy Higginbottom celebrates a classic that has lost none of its power. The book brings together in a broad narrative the history of the African continent from a perspective that is at one and the same time Pan-Africanist and Marxist. For all of those interested in Africa’s history and future, the book must be studied once more. Review of Walter Rodney (2018) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa  (London/New York: Verso) By Andy Higginbottom This book is a masterpiece. Walter Rodney wrote How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (HEUA) in his late twenties while a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The book brings together in a broad narrative the history of the African continent from a perspective that is at one and the same time Pan Africanist...

Walter Rodney’s posthumous book The Russian Revolution: A View from the Third World  sought to understand the significance of the Revolution in order to the strengthen liberation movements that Rodney was directly involved in. As Martin Empson explains in this review, these movements took place in the context of historical colonial exploitation or in underdeveloped economies, economies that Rodney argues had been depleted of their wealth, resources and population by Western capitalism. What emerges is a fascinating study of 1917 from a different perspective from the one that emerges from the debates and histories written in Europe and North America. By Martin Empson Walter Rodney was a leading revolutionary intellectual of anti-colonial and revolutionary movements in Africa and the Caribbean. Born in 1942, by the 1960s he was a leading radical voice in the emerging Black Power movements. His academic work in Jamaica's University of the West Indies...

Nataliya Mykhalchenko reviews a book that describes the devastating impact of tax havens and capital flight for Africa. The book details the intricate relationship between capital flight, global corporations, bank secrecy and the elites, i.e. the power-accumulation nexus. As a proportion of total wealth, Africa is the most afflicted continent in the world. For example, elites on the continent hold approximately USD 500 billion in financial wealth offshore, roughly 30% of total financial wealth held by Africans....

Remi Adekoya reviews a new book on the exploitation and underdevelopment of Africa. Extracting Profits by Lee Wengraf is a treasure-trove of facts and figures about Africa for anyone interested in the political economy of Africa’s past, present and future. However, Adekoya argues that for any systemic change to occur on the continent there must be a shift in the mind-set of those in charge, otherwise all that will be achieved is the replacement of one set of looters by another, only this time holding up different slogans....