Uprisings and Revolutions: Activists and Researchers Speak

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.

In a series of workshops held between 2017 and 2018 across Africa, ROAPE and partners, brought together activists and researchers to discuss radical political economy. The final workshop in Johannesburg was held on 26 and 27 November and co-hosted by the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg and the Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

More than sixty activists and researchers attended from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Chad, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Burkina Faso and Ghana. The workshop mapped resistance across Africa, debated youth and politics, explored the role of trade unions and the working class and the dynamics of struggle in rural areas on the continent. There was also a focus on alternatives to capitalism and the future of radical left politics and organisations.

The workshop paid specific attention to the relationship between popular mobilisations, revolutions and politics. A key question for those attending the workshop was how to sustain and develop the society-wide insurgent uprisings in Africa into a project that can change social relations as a whole. In debates on this question participants highlighted community organising and questions of organisational strategy and alliances as well as the engagement with authorities.

There was a series of interviews with participants conducted by Itumeleng Moabi and Cindy Morillas of the Centre of Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. Below is the entire set of interviews, which provide an extraordinary account of the struggles, politics and research of the activists and scholars who attended ROAPE’s final Connections workshop in South Africa last year  (the programme of the workshop can be accessed here).

The interviews are with Michael Akuupa, from the Nambia’s Labour Resource and Research Institute; Fatou Diouf from Senegal’s Confederation des Syndicats Autonomes; Gacheke Gachihi from Kenya’s Mathare Social Justice Centre; Soraya El Kahlaoui from Morocco’s L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales; Gavin Capps from the UK’s Kingston University; Grasian Mkodzongi from Zimbabwe’s Tropical Africa Land and Natural Resources Research Institute; Tafadzwa Choto from the Zimbabwe Labour Centre; Gyeke Tanoh from Ghana’s Third World Network; Tina Mafanga from the Tanzania Socialist Forum; Sabatho Nyamsenda from the Tanzania Socialist Forum; Natacha Bruno from Mozambique’s Observatório do Meio Rural; Kamadji Demba Karyom from Chad’s Fédération des Syndicats des Services Publics; Napoleon Webster from South Africa’s Forum for Service Delivery; Naome Chakanya from the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe; Orriel Joyce Fortein from South Africa’s Abahlali baseMjondolo; Moshibudi Motimele is a researcher at the University of Johannesburg.

The workshop was filmed by a team led by Mocke Jansen van Veuren, and roape.net will be posting these films in the coming weeks and months.


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