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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.

Introducing ROAPE’s new publisher ScienceOpen: An interview with Stephanie Dawson

From January 2024 all ROAPE’s work will be available on ScienceOpen with no paywalls. There will be equal access for all researchers, activists, and readers, wherever they are based in the world, and for the foreseeable future. Here, ScienceOpen CEO Stephanie Dawson discusses why ScienceOpen exists, how it differs from the corporate publishing landscape, and what ROAPE readers can expect from next year, in terms of how they will be able to access and engage with ROAPE journal content.

Raiding wages – Kenya’s proposed housing levy

The Kenyan government has proposed a compulsory housing levy from workers salaries to support contractors to build affordable homes for the working class. As incomes are squeezed and living standards collapse, Ambreena Manji and Jill Cottrell Ghai argue that the case for asking workers to bear the cost of housing development has not been made.

Hotel Rwanda – learning from history, not Hollywood

Jos van Oijen writes about the release of Paul Rusesabagina – the ex-hotelier of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ - from prison in Kigali at end of March. He argues that with very few exceptions, the media use the Hollywood movie, Hotel Rwanda, as factual information. Yet the story is largely fictional. Van Oijen argues that journalists (and many researchers) are as ignorant about genocide today as they were in 1994.

The roots of cowardice of today’s subaltern intellectuals

In this blogpost, Yusuf Serunkuma slams the cowardice of intellectuals today, who display self-censorship and contentment with the status quo, in contrast with an earlier generation of activists and subaltern scholars. Serunkuma argues that this did not happen overnight, rather it has taken years of manufacturing conformity and consent.

50 years since the murder of Omar Blondin Diop

Fifty years ago, on May 11, 1973, young Senegalese revolutionary philosopher Omar Blondin Diop died in detention under suspicious circumstances in Dakar. Our understanding of liberation movements in Africa tends to focus on struggles in colonial settings, yet Florian Bobin argues that over sixty years after Senegal’s independence, Diop’s life, work, and legacy reveal what revolutionary politics looks like in a neo-colonial context.

Who are you really (originally)?

Using Fanon’s work, Benjamin Maiangwa, Gillian Robinson and Ethan Oversby ask if questions of origin and geography are racist and discriminatory, with harmful and belittling connotations. Does the question ‘where are you from’ contain in it white supremacy, entitlement, and racism. Surely, the authors ask, no-one should have to constantly affirm their existence.

Amílcar Cabral’s life, legacy and reluctant nationalism – an interview with António Tomás

In ROAPE's latest tribute to Amílcar Cabral, Chinedu Chukwudinma interviews António Tomás, who wrote Cabral’s biography in the 21st century. Tomás speaks about Cabral’s political development, as well as his abilities as a teacher, revolutionary diplomat and leader. But he also discusses his insecurities, shortcomings and the myths surrounding national liberation in Guinea-Bissau.

The return of recession, debt and structural adjustment

ROAPE’s Peter Lawrence argues that there are strong echoes across Africa of the recession of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The reappearance of recession, debt and structural adjustment to the continent reminds us of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism. Based on his editorial in the forthcoming ROAPE issue 174, Lawrence concludes that there are alternatives to the continent’s enduring entrapment in a global financial system that works for the global financial corporates that dominate it.

Restitution of looted artefacts – a Marxist approach

Elias Aguigah looks at the restitution of looted objects from Africa by colonial troops and plunderers. Aguigah discusses the debates which have located restitution in broader political questions around identity, representation, and memory politics.  However, these debates ignore the crucial political-economic context, or only pay superficial attention to these issues by reducing centuries of colonialism to art theft. Aguigah provides an alternative framework for understanding restitution.  

Remembering Cabral

In the final essay to mark the fiftieth anniversary of national revolutionary leader Amílcar Cabral’s murder in 1973, first published in the ROAPE journal thirty years ago, Basil Davidson provides a personal portrait. Davidson’s piece contains fascinating detail and insight on Cabral’s principles of organising, as well as how Cabral and his comrades started their successful anti-colonial struggle in the early 1950s, all of which retains its relevance in the context of ongoing struggle and revolt across the continent today.

The geopolitics of debt in Africa

Massive exposure of some African economies to Chinese-owned debt is making it difficult for Beijing to sustain official narratives that suggest equality with African countries. Tim Zajontz, Ricardo Reboredo and Pádraig Carmody show that the response of the Chinese government to political “backlashes” over debt has been to emphasise alternative vectors of engagement with the continent. The deepening African debt crisis is directly linked to inter-capitalist competition at the expense of the working people of the continent.

Amilcar Cabral’s thought & practice: some lessons for the 1990s

In the second of three essays to mark the fiftieth anniversary of national revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral’s murder in 1973, first published in the ROAPE journal thirty years ago, Shubi Ishemo celebrates Cabral’s original contributions to revolutionary theory and practice. He argues that Cabral importance as a thinker is found in his creative application of Marx’s method to understand the local and international economic, social, and cultural realities of imperialism and fight that system. His ingenious approach remains relevant in the neo-liberal era.  

Reading Cabral in 1993: Killing a man but not his work

In the first of three essays to mark the fiftieth anniversary of national revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral’s  murder in 1973, first published in the ROAPE journal thirty years ago, Lars Rudebeck celebrates Cabral’s extraordinary writing, speeches and interviews. The piece includes reflections on personal conversations Rudebeck held with Cabral at various points. While celebratory, Rudebeck also perceives in the writings and politics of Cabral inadequate attention to the post-colonial situation and the question of how to democratise power over the economy and transform the relations of production.

The secret of the failure of liberation – a tribute and celebration of Amilcar...

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of national revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral's  murder in 1973, over the next four weeks, ROAPE will be re-posting a collection of essays paying tribute to Cabral. The collection was first published in the ROAPE journal thirty years ago, and reflects on the extraordinary achievements of Cabral and his organisation PAIGC (the Partido Africano de Indendencia de Guine e Cabo Verde).

Braving the high seas to Europe and North America – the many killers of...

Yusuf Serunkuma writes that a migrant worker dies many times, and has many killers. They die in their home countries - where they are structurally, violently uprooted -  they then die on the journeys to either Europe or the Middle East and then, they finally die in dehumanising working conditions if they ever arrive. Serunkuma exposes the hypocrisy, racism and murder at the heart of the global north.