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Cape Town Water Musings: the Politics of Environmental Crisis and Social Inequality

Cape Town's water crisis is caused by both global environmental politics and local mismanagement. It is also a matter of social inequality in neoliberal post-apartheid South Africa. In this personal look at the crisis, Heike Becker writes about how the water shortage has exposed the country's deep racial and class inequalities.

Questioning Power?

Heike Becker reports on the important Rosa Luxemburg conference in Berlin, which focused on Africa. However, the conference left her feeling profoundly uneasy. How can an event that claims to “question power” on the continent ignore the popular movements, mostly of young people, against authoritarian regimes, against enduring racism, austerity, and myriad forms of social inequality? Whose power, she asks, is not questioned?

Revolution 2.0: Thomas Sankara and the Social Media Generation

Thirty years after his murder, Heike Becker writes how Thomas Sankara’s words and his legacy have come to life again with the massive mobilization of Burkina Faso’s youth from 2013 onwards. In the 21st century young Africans with their smartphones are at the forefront of an alternative globalisation from the south.

What is the Point of African Studies?

Heike Becker writes about the recent European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) in Basel, Switzerland, the 7th of the now well-established bi-annual gatherings of the European African Studies network AEGIS. Becker observes that epistemological queries were key to the conference, with important questions raised about how knowledge of the continent is produced.

Genocide and Memory: Negotiating German-Namibian History

Heike Becker discusses calls for reparations for the German colonial genocide in Namibia between 1904-1908. These negotiations are complicated and contested. In New York at the beginning of January, representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama people filed a class act legal claim suing Germany for the genocide.

Namibia, Genocide and Germany: Reinhart Kössler interview

For roape.net Heike Becker interviews the German scholar and activist of Southern Africa Reinhart Kössler. Reinhart unpicks the frustrations of national liberation, the reproduction of the same patterns of inequality and social cleavage in the new states, Germany's colonial genocide in Namibia and solidarity and activism in Europe.

South Africa’s May 1968: Decolonising Institutions and Minds

South African writer and academic Heike Becker looks at South Africa's extraordinary student movement that in 2015 brought down symbols of colonialism and exploitation, fought against fee increases in higher education and called for the end of racism and of neo-liberal outsourcing practices of support services at universities. She asks if this was South Africa's 1968.

Namibia’s Moment: Youth and Urban Land Activism

Heike Becker explores the development of an extraordinary new protest movement in Namibia. Affirmative Repositioning is a movement of urban youth, which took off from a spectacular and audacious occupation of a piece of land in an affluent suburb of Windhoek in November 2014.

Home in a Time of Covid

Ambreena Manji argues that we need a better understanding of home, labour and inequality in the pandemic and that feminist thought is central to a just future. Focusing on the Global South, she argues that women have borne the brunt of the violence directed towards the homes of working people.

Africa and the Pandemic: Clampdown, Survival and Resistance

Last week ROAPE and BIEA organised a webinar on the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa. Activists and researchers from around the continent discussed the impact of the measures taken against the coronavirus by the ruling classes. In this blogpost we introduce the full video recording of the meeting with all of the speakers, Tafadzwa Choto, Femi Aborisade, Gacheke Gachihi, Lena Anyuolo, Gyekye Tanoh and Heike Becker.