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Long Reads

Our full journal articles are published in the quarterly journal and can be accessed through Taylor and Francis (and on our archive page of this site). However, on we post long reads (up to 4,500 words) on a range of historical and political-economic issues on the continent.

We welcome submissions on focused, thoughtful and controversial issues about African political economy and the wider impact of international development on Africa’s development, history and politics.

Ruth First’s visit to Ibadan and its aftermath, 1968

This post is a chapter from a joint memoir that is being written by Selina Molteno and Robin Cohen about their period in Nigeria, September 1967–September 1969, which was framed by the Nigerian Civil War. The chapter tells a personal story and also provides some more general insight into those tumultuous years. They were both working at the University of Ibadan, Selina in African Studies, and Robin in Political Science and describe the visit that Ruth First made to Nigeria, and the friendship that developed.

Poetic Injustice: The Senghor Myth and Senegal’s Independence

The mythification of ‘poet-president’ Léopold Sédar Senghor has blurred our understanding of his real legacy. Recalling that he was both a poet and a president is a fact, but associating both, while refusing to recognize the authoritarianism he displayed, Florian Bobin argues, creates a dangerous historical myth.

Omar Blondin Diop: Seeking Revolution in Senegal

For nearly fifty years, one figure has embodied revolutionary politics in Senegal: Omar Blondin Diop, a young activist and artist who died in 1973 while imprisoned at Gorée. Our understanding of liberation movements in Africa tends to focus on struggles in colonial settings, yet Florian Bobin argues that sixty years after Senegal’s independence, Blondin Diop’s life, work, and legacy helps reveal what revolutionary politics looks like in a neo-colonial state.

Dimitri Tsafendas – Exposing a Great Lie in South African History

In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas knifed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Shortly after, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Declared unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in the history books as a deranged murderer. Harris Dousemetzis exposes one of the great lies in South African history and shows that Tsafendas was an extraordinary man, with deeply held communist and anti-racist politics.

From Johannesburg to London: student-worker struggles

In 2015 and 2016 students at South African universities campaigned under the banner #FeesMustFall for the abolition of tuition fees. Little public attention however has been paid to the alliances of students and workers in parallel #EndOutsourcing campaigns for fair labour practices for all university workers. Heike Becker asks what were the trajectories of the student-worker movements for insourcing of all workers at public institutions of higher learning? And what did they have in common with similar campaigns that arose at the same time also at universities in the United Kingdom?