Africa Archives - ROAPE
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Africa Tag

Introducing a new collection on neoliberal restructuring in Uganda, the editors argue in this blogpost that the country has been a hotspot for capitalist restructuring, transformation, contradiction and crisis, past and present. Uganda has undergone an unprecedented political, socio-economic, cultural and ecological transformation, brought about by neoliberal capitalist reorganisation since the 1980s. Rather than seeing a post neoliberal world they argue that there is much more to come....

Outsourcing is a key pillar of neoliberalism and it has devastated working conditions in public services and universities across the world. In Africa such practices have been part of the long-running restructuring of economies and states. Yet, the continent has also been at the cutting edge of campaigns against outsourcing. In South Africa, for example, in recent years the campaigns to decolonise higher education, end privatisation and scrap fees have also demanded and secured an end to outsourcing...

The revolutionary left in Sub-Saharan Africa (1960’s-1970’s): a political and social history to be written   Background The reason for this symposium stems from the following observation: while the revolutionary left movements of the 1960s and 1970s in Europe, the United States, Latin America and elsewhere have been the subject of abundant literature, similar movements that emerged during this period in Africa are still unknown. There are two main reasons for this ignorance: firstly, it was often an underground history with actors operating in hiding, and secondly, it is also a long-concealed history, either because of defeat (political and sometimes military), or of a certain form of self-censorship due to the subsequent reconversion of former revolutionary actors within the ruling elite or other reasons of ‘disavowal’ of this left-wing activist past. The symposium is therefore meant to help reveal the invisible, forgotten and retrospectively compressed history of these...

Adam Rodgers Johns explores the commercialisation of football in Africa. He argues that at the professional level the continent’s most popular sport provides us with fertile grounds for the analysis of capitalism in Africa. By Adam Rodgers Johns The trend towards the commercialisation of football is not limited to the most powerful and competitive leagues in Western Europe but affects all regions of the world, including Africa. In recent years, the commercialisation of elite level professional football has affected the world’s most popular sport at unprecedented levels - from ownership, sponsorship, ticket sales to TV licensing. There are numerous ways in which Africa is linked to the global business of football. For example, the huge popularity of European, specifically English football, has significant commercial implications in terms of broadcasting revenue, merchandise and gambling. There are a number of examples from the African continent where there has...

Mpumelelo Tshabalala discusses a symposium that marked the 60th anniversary of the All Africa People’s Conference which was hosted at the University of London last month. The symposium created the space for reflection on the historical significance of the 1958 AAPC and on how it can be used to understand and shape where Africa is today. Tshabalala also raises some important questions about race and politics at the event. By Mpumelelo Tshabalala On Thursday, 6 December 2018 the All Africa People’s Conference’s (AAPC) 60-year commemorative event took place in one of Senate House Library’s grand, parliamentary styled rooms.  The symposium was incredibly rich, evident in the effort made to set and comprehend the context of the original conference in 1958. Further to the presented content, accompanying the programme was a list of the AAPC’s delegates, fraternal delegates and observers, a 1958 map of the continent and information...

In an interview with roape.net Helen Batubo, an activist and worker in Nigeria, describes her experiences at the ROAPE workshop in Dar es Salaam in 2018. She argues that there are possibilities of influencing many other activists through these activities.  Such events are crucial, she says, in ‘calling us to revolt.’ Can you please introduce yourself for readers of roape.net? I was born in 1962, in Okrika, an island in the Niger Delta. I was the only daughter and became somewhat of a Tom boy to survive with my many brothers.  My dad was my mum’s second husband, but we generally depended on my mum for our upbringing due to his drinking.  My primary schooling was delayed by the Nigerian civil war and I later also saw the violence of the Niger Delta militants/gangs first hand. I have suffered my share of sexism and was nearly...

Nick Bernards argues that placing African labour in capitalism requires that we think seriously and in historical perspective about the politics of irregular forms of work. In his contribution to ROAPE’s debate on capitalism in Africa, Bernards points out that the kinds of work performed by African workers have often been key reference points in global debates about governing irregular forms of work. These debates are often shaped in powerful ways by the unfolding and contingent relationships between the state and various segments of working classes on the continent. By Nick Bernards The exploitation of ‘free’ wage labour – in Marx’s double sense of those workers ‘free’ to sell their labour to whom they choose and ‘free’ of any other means of reproducing themselves – is a core characteristic of capitalist relations of production. On more than a few readings, it is the defining trait of...

Exposing the illusion of the green economy, Simone Claar argues that while the idea of greening capitalism might provide a clear conscience to regions in the North for addressing the ecological crisis, it perpetuates the exploitative relationship between the North and South. Through the green economy framework capitalism, development, and imperialism are ‘green-washed’ as capital invests in new environmental fields like renewable energy or clean cooking. Such a strategy will only ‘greenwash’ capitalism in Africa, leaving its exploitative and destructive nature unchanged. ...

In a powerful defence of Marxist political economy John Saul argues that ‘facing down the hulk of capital that presently bestrides the world was never going to be easy.’ Though as ‘powerful and ill-intentioned as capitalists’ might be ‘as they destroy the world, environmentally and morally’, everything, in Africa and elsewhere, continues to depend on the struggle of the oppressed. In this contribution he blends his on-going work on Africa with a more general analytical and theoretical consideration on progressive political economy. The fruitfulness of this approach is exemplified in his forthcoming book, Revolutionary Hope vs Free-Market Fantasies: Towards the Revival of Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa (to appear in 2019). There readers can see a more elaborated model of the method of both learning and communicating – in exploring the juxtaposition between theory on the one hand and ‘practice’, in the chapters 'southern Africa...

Recently the World Bank published a paper on poverty in Rwanda. The aim of the paper was to deal with the debate started in 2015 by Filip Reyntjens, and which continues on roape.net, on the reliability of Rwandan poverty statistics. Despite the objectives, when properly calculated, the evidence presented by the World Bank actually strongly supports the claim that poverty has increased in Rwanda. Yet the selective and even misleading presentation of supporting empirical evidence by the World Bank is, to say the least, disturbing. Our Rwanda experts ask if the World Bank is guilty of a worrying level of leniency and incompetence, or outright complicity in the manipulation of Rwanda’s official statistics. In September 2018, the World Bank published a paper entitled ‘Revisiting the Poverty Trend in Rwanda 2010/11-2013/14’, the stated aim of which was to resolve [i.e. shut down?] the debate initiated three years...