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ROAPE Blog

ROAPE’s blog hosts short articles to highlight developments on the continent and comment on the dynamics of protest, shifting patterns of political economy and issues of historical concern for the journal. We welcome submissions for short articles between 800 and 1,800 words.

The Dakar Declaration – Pan-African cooperation & global solidarity

Scholars and activists from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, came together to draft the Dakar Declaration last year. The declaration condemns the constraints...

Student activists recall the uprisings of May 1968 in Dakar, Senegal

May 1968 in Dakar was a defining moment in the political history of Senegal. Dakar University students went on strike and blockaded the campus. The protests were violently suppressed, sparking a short-lived but intense nationwide revolutionary uprising against the ruling class. Over the last several years, videographer Yannek Simalla has been compiling a collection of filmed testimonies from activists involved in the protests. Here, he introduces his collection, the creative process behind its creation, and how memories of May 1968 inform us as much about the present of Senegalese society as they do the past.

Promoting hunger and impoverishment in Somalia

Mark Duffield and Nicholas Stockton write how the ecologically sustainable, communally managed subsistence pastoralism in Somalia has been displaced by militarised extractive ranching. Challenging mainstream accounts of the “drought” Duffield and Stockton argue the current crisis is the result of decades of bad development and relief interventions that have promoted impoverishment and hunger.

ROAPE’s 2022 Best Reads for African Radicals

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Panthers told their members and supporters that to be a good revolutionary you must make time to read for at least two hours a day. We realise with the almighty, soul-destroying pressures of work and neoliberalism, this will seem like an impossible luxury to many of our readers and supporters; but it’s a good objective for 2023, and the political and personal challenges to recalibrate the world, and our lives, for a just and socialist alternative. It’s in this spirit that we – members of ROAPE’s Editorial Group – offer the following list of our favourite radical reads over the last 12 months.

What happens to African digital publics when platforms fold?

The dramatic changes at Twitter provide a good moment to reflect on how platforms are entangled with material inequalities that shape the vibrancy of African digital publics. Scott Timcke and David Mastey take us through the major issues and argue that with the abrupt destruction of online public content our histories are at stake.

“Effectively operating as a firing squad” – the guilty must face justice for the...

As part of our dossier on South Africa’s Marikana massacre 10 years ago, ROAPE's Kate Alexander looks at which police officers were responsible for the killing. Alexander’s account highlights the role of the operational commander, Brigadier Adriaan Calitz.  Briefing his troops two days after the massacre, Calitz told them: “From the planning to the execution was 110%.”

Closing the open veins: international solidarity 10 years after the Marikana Massacre

Joseph Mullen introduces a pamphlet written for the 10th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre. The pamphlet is a guide to be used to educate those unfamiliar with the massacre, and as a call for internationalist, anti-imperialist solidarity with the ongoing struggle in South Africa. The full pamphlet (available in this blogpost) is a vital educational document for reading groups, activists and students.

ROAPE special issue – The climate emergency in Africa: crisis, solutions, and resistance

ROAPE is excited to announce a call for contributions for a special journal issue on the climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on the African continent. In this special issue, titled ‘The climate emergency in Africa: crisis, solutions and resistance’, we aim to underscore the urgency of current conditions, the roots of the crisis, and debates over solutions, highlighting the resistance of those struggling for climate justice.

Liberia’s Pan-Africanism: a reappraisal and interview with D. Elwood Dunn

Brooks Marmon introduces the work and life of D. Elwood Dunn. Dunn, a Liberian intellectual and former politician interviewed by Brooks, asserts Libera’s position in the pan-African, anti-colonial world in the 1970s. While Liberia was associated with moderate states in the 1960s, Dunn sees Liberia, under William R. Tolbert, as a progressive force helping to shape Africa’s post-colonial political trajectory.

More of the same: coups, imperialism and instability in Burkina Faso

Discussing the recent coup in Burkina Faso, ROAPE’s Bettina Engels describes the major instability in the country and the region. For several years there have been attacks by non-state groups across the country – with two million people displaced, and more than 4000 killed in the last 12 months. The current military junta is an expression of this wider breakdown, and the intervention of imperialist countries.

The garden and the jungle – coloniality, knowledge and development in Africa

Europe’s assault on the rest of us, who were exterminated and expropriated, millions who were enslaved and died resisting European occupation, continues today – recently, and graphically, re-stated by the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell. Eyob Gebremariam exposes the language and practice of coloniality, which sustains inequalities at the global level and has done for nearly 500 years of European empire-building.

Towards a just transition: breaking with the existing order

The action proposed by world leaders, their advisors, and corporate lobbyists at the climate talks (COP27) in Egypt are neoliberal, market-based, and focused on preserving a racist and capitalist global order. Introducing a collection of papers on the climate emergency in North Africa, Hamza Hamouchene, Ouafa Haddioui and Katie Sandwell denounce mainstream and top-down solutions for an environmental crisis engulfing the region, and continent.

‘A Curt Farewell’: decolonizing public space in Namibia

At the end of October this year a decision was made in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, to remove the statue of a colonial officer – the purported founder of the city. Heike Becker describes the extraordinary activist campaign to decolonialise public spaces in the country.

Demolition colonialism in Nairobi

Nairobi remains a monument to the colonial project of discriminatory citizenship, inequality and structural violence. For decades under British colonialism demolitions of ‘illegal’ housing became the norm. Mwangi Mwaura explains that current demolitions in the city are justified under the banner of cleaning-up and building the city to attract investments.

Student Power and Decolonization in the Congo

Drawing on material from his new book, Pedro Monaville discusses the radical politics and activism of Congolese students in the 1960s. He argues that despite their small numbers, their political influence was significant. While memories from this period might be fading, they can still help us to better understand what was lost, and remain a key component in the history of the present.