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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.

Celebrating Maina wa Kinyatti’s Kenya: A Prison Notebook

Written 25 years ago, Kenya: A Prison Notebook inspired generations and became a handbook in political education in Kenya and beyond. It chronicles Maina Wa Kinyatti’s arrest and detention by the Moi regime, and powerfully captures Kenya’s history. From a new collection on the book, Sungu Oyoo introduces a celebration of Kinyatti’s work by young activists and Gacheke Gachihi writes how his life was transformed by meeting Maina wa Kinyatti – the full text of the collection is available at the end of the blogpost.

Radical knowledge in dialogue with the people

ROAPE’s Peter Dwyer introduces two new members of the Editorial Working Group. Mabrouka M’Barek is a Tunisian activist who was deeply involved in the country’s uprising in 2011. Boaventura Monjane grew-up during Mozambique’s civil war and was inspired by the survival and resistance of the working people around him.

To radically transform the world

ROAPE’s Peter Dwyer introduces new members of the journal’s editorial working group. He welcomes a new generation, Leona Vaughn, Chinedu Chukwudinma and Njuki Githethwa, who are activists from the African diaspora and those implanted in Africa. In a personal, political and scholarly sense, Dwyer argues, they will irrevocably change ROAPE.

African Unity from Below: a view from South Africa

On Africa Day - the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963 - Sanya Osha celebrates a real unity of African people and communities living in South Africa. Osha argues that South Africa bears miracles within that it doesn’t even know it possesses. A pan-Africanism is evolving that is practical and realistic and unhampered by rigid presuppositions of state politics and ideology.

On Gladiatory Scholarship

In the sands of the arena, gladiators embodying colonial and decolonial modes of thought are locked in academic combat, exchanging blows of disciplinary conquest, identity and self-styled objectivity versus self-awareness and epistemic revolution. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, describing such a combat, reignites important questions and sets out to open our eyes to the battle lines, and the weapons that are available to defeat gladiatorial scholarship – the moment to learn to unlearn is upon us, he writes.

Colonial frameworks: networks of political and economic order

Christoph Vogel writes that the university is a site where colonial frames survive – whether in financial, linguistic, architectural, political or mental spheres. These frameworks are cross-cutting and create, shape and legitimise knowledge. He argues that Western raised and educated academics are trapped in self-made intellectual snares, complicating attempts to make sense of politics in most parts of the world.

Frantz Fanon and the Algerian revolution today

Sixty years after the death of the revolutionary Frantz Fanon and the publication of his masterpiece, The Wretched of the Earth, Algeria is undergoing another revolution. In the first of a two-part blogpost, Hamza Hamouchene provides a brief historical account of Fanon’s anti-colonial thought, his critique of the postcolonial ruling elites and the new popular movement (Hirak) engulfing Algeria.

Insurgency in Cabo Delgado: capitalist penetration in the periphery of the periphery

The insurgency in northern Mozambique is threatening a multi-billion investment in natural gas production. Sara Stevano and Helena Pérez Niño explain how the violence in northern Cabo Delgado is part of a longer script of capitalist penetration into periphery regions.

In their own words: African women speak

Introducing a new book on African woman, Zainab Haruna argues the collection is the first attempt to chronicle the diverse perspectives and experiences of African women. Haruna asks what does liberation for the African woman look like?

Issa Shivji’s revolutionary conception of human rights

Paul O’Connell celebrates Issa Shivji’s pathbreaking 1989 book. He praises a book that see the dominant human rights discourse as one of the main elements in the ideological armoury of imperialism. Shivji, he argues, articulated a revolutionary conception of human rights which we must return to.

Democracy as divide and rule

In a far-reaching long-read for ROAPE, writer and commentator Yusuf Serunkuma argues that ‘democracy’ in Africa is not just a language of (colonial) exploitation, it is the practice of exploitation itself. Our challenge today, is to understand the colonial nature of this democracy - divide and rule, shameless free markets, foreign aid, and loans & media bombardment - and the myriad, so-called good-intentioned crusaders who promote it.

Taking on Adam Habib: an interview with Sandy Nicoll

ROAPE speaks to the socialist and trade unionist, Sandy Nicoll, the Secretary of the trade union, UNISON, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) about Professor Adam Habib, the new head of SOAS. In a webinar with students from SOAS in March, Habib used the ‘n-word’ and then tried to justify himself. Nicoll's examines the context and the issues and explains why Habib must go.

Global capitalism and Africa after Covid-19

ROAPE’s Peter Lawrence writes how Covid-19 has hit capitalism when it was already confronting systemic problems. The pandemic has helped to connect the dots between environmental degradation and the development of global capitalism. Lawrence argues that only with organised pressure from below can a way through be found.

Samir Amin – a Marxist with blood in his veins

Following the publication of the special issue on Samir Amin, we post short interviews by the authors on the influence of Amin on their lives and research. The articles by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Francisco Pérez, Ndongo Sylla, Francesco Macheda, Roberto Nadalini, Fathimath Musthaq and Max Ajl are available to read until the end of the month.

Enduring Relevance: Samir Amin’s radical political economy

Introducing ROAPE’s special issue on Samir Amin (available to access for free until 31/03 - see links in blogpost), the editors, Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, Maria Dyveke Styve, Ushehwedu Kufakurinani and Ray Bush, argue Amin’s legacy provides a lighthouse for those who not only want to understand the world, but fundamentally change it, by combining rigorous scholarship with political commitment and action.