Traditional Authorities and Multi-Party Elections
This book offers a comparative ethnography of the contested powers that shape democratization in Ethiopia. Although multi-party elections have become the norm in Africa, relatively little is known about the significance of non-state actors such as traditional authorities in electioneering. Focusing on Ethiopia’s competitive 2005 elections, this book analyzes how customary leaders, political parties and state officials confronted and complemented each other during election time. Case studies reveal the contemporaneousness of traditional authorities in modern politics, but also how multi-party competition reproduces traditional relations of domination among ethnic groups. The book documents the importance of customary authority in selecting party candidates and providing legitimacy to political parties, but also their limitations in a country dominated by a semi-authoritarian party-state.
Political Elite Formation and Change in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature
In this book, Francis expands and redefines the approach to the problematic of a comprehensive framework for the study of political elites through an interrogation of political elite formation in the African context of the Provincial Legislature of KwaZulu-Natal. The result is an empirically rich and detailed study of the realization, accumulation and exercise of institutionalized political power. Political elite agency shapes, enables and undermines political institutions and is dependent on a multiplicity of currencies including social and political capital and patterns of culture, respect and institutional capacity. Studies of political elites must now consider not whether elite values, attitudes and patterns of political etiquette penetrate political institutions, but rather how they do so.
Mediating Conflict and Reshaping the State
This volume presents a wide selection of studies on the issues of law, land dispute and conflict (mediation) in Africa, reconsidering the role of state agents and other actors in these matters. The focus is on analyzing how citizens, state institutions and concerned (inter)national actors aim to find solutions to disputes, tension and conflict that are part of social life. The authors have approached the subject of Land, Law and Politics in Africa from a variety of disciplinary angles. The issues at stake comprise land access and land use, state politics and democratization efforts, the relationship between constitutional/state law and customary law, the challenges of urban and rural conflicts, border issues and the conceptions of (human) rights. On the basis of new empirical studies, the authors plead for a more holistic perspective on the above issues and on developmental policy in general.
The book has 15 chapters in four thematic parts, focusing on historical and cultural aspects of politics and authority; land law and land disputes; constitutionalism and politics; and conflict studies. The volume is also a tribute to the work of Gerti Hesseling (1946-2009), a Dutch Africanist with a successful career as a scholar of constitutional and land law, focusing on West Africa.
The Mpondo Revolts after Fifty Years
Much has been written about anti-apartheid resistance by the marginalized people of South Africa, as well as its violent repression by security forces in urban areas (e.g. Sharpeville massacre; Soweto riots). Very little attention has been paid to resistance by rural people. The Mpondo Revolts, which began in the 1950s and reached a climax in 1960, rank among the most significant rural resistances in South Africa. Here Mpondo villagers emphatically rejected the introduction of Bantu Authorities and unpopular rural land use planning that meant loss of land. The volume presents a fresh understanding of the uprising; as well as its meaning and significance then and now, particularly relating to land, rural governance, party politics and the agency of the marginalized.
Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2010
The Africa Yearbook covers major domestic political developments, the foreign policy and socio-economic trends in sub-Sahara Africa – all related to developments in one calendar year. The Yearbook contains articles on all sub-Saharan states, each of the four sub-regions (West, Central, Eastern, Southern Africa) focusing on major cross-border developments and sub-regional organizations as well as one article on continental developments and one on African-European relations. While the articles have thorough academic quality, the Yearbook is mainly oriented to the requirements of a large range of target groups: students, politicians, diplomats, administrators, journalists, teachers, practitioners in the field of development aid as well as business people.

Buyers of the print edition get free access to the online version of all yearbooks published so far. Go to
Politics and Society in Late Colonial Zambia
Building on the foundational work of the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, the essays contained in Living the End of Empire offer a nuanced and complex picture of the late-colonial period in Zambia. The present volume, based on untapped archival material and sources that have emerged in recent years, throws new light on some of the historical trajectories that the teleological gaze of nationalist scholars tended to ignore or belittle. By bringing to view the deep-rooted tensions underlying the Zambian nationalist movement, the painful dilemmas faced by chiefly and religious institutions, and the contradictory experiences of European and Asian minorities, Living the End of Empire draws inspiration from – and contributes to – a growing literature that is concerned with the study of social, political and cultural forces that did not readily fit into the then dominant narratives of united anti-colonial struggles.
Actors, Power and Mobilisation under Ethnic Federalism
Most governments in Africa, seeing the political mobilisation of ethnicity as a threat, have rejected the use of ethnic differences as an explicit basis for political representation. The one prominent exception is Ethiopia, which since 1991 has imposed a system of ethnic-based federalism that offers each ethnic group the right of ‘self-determination’. This book provides a detailed empirical study of this system at work in the complex multiethnic environment of southern Ethiopia. It finds that ethnic self-rule, in combination with the power politics of an authoritarian regime, has produced both intended and unintended outcomes. While arguably easing large-scale ethnic conflicts, it has led to ‘ethnicisation’ of local socioeconomic disputes and to sharper inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic divides, often to the disadvantage of historically marginalised groups.
Africa Negotiating an Emerging Multipolar World
With the end of the Cold War, the world seemed to move from a bipolar to a unipolar system, with the neoliberal West globally imposing its laws. However, it has been acknowledged that other actors, such as China, India and Brazil, have become increasingly influential, helping to lead to a new multipolarity at the global level. The question of what this emerging multipolarity means for Africa is important. Will Africa become crushed in a mounting struggle over raw materials and political hegemony between superpowers and fall victim to a new scramble for Africa? Or does this new historic conjuncture offer African countries and groups greater room for negotiation and manoeuvring, eventually leading to stronger democracy and enhanced growth? The chapters in this volume offer food for thought on how Africa’s engagements with the world are currently being reshaped and revalued, and, importantly—on whose terms?
Displacement and Struggle for Identity Against Two World Powers
Editors: Sandra Evers and Marry Kooy
This book examines the history and contemporary living conditions of Chagossians who were evicted from the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean to make way for a strategic U.S. military base. Initially part of colonial Mauritius, Chagos was integrated into a new colony named the British Indian Ocean Territory in 1965. In 1966, Great Britain transferred control of Diego Garcia, the largest Chagos island, to the Americans under a fifty year lease. The expulsions which followed were designed to satisfy the U.S. demand for an unpopulated territory. The Chagossians were thus forced to resettle in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where livelihoods are poor and marginalized. The Chagossians are currently engaged in a campaign seeking right of return to the archipelago and recognition as a people forced to live in diaspora.
Social scientists examining contemporary Africa take considerable pains to resist portraying Africa as nothing more than a land of victims unable to escape historical cycles of war, exploitation and tyranny. However, children are still frequently conceptualised as passive actors, mere extensions of adult societies and receptors of culture. The authors in this volume argue that children are dynamic contributors to the shaping of contemporary Africa. Through novel and unorthodox ethnographic research methods, each chapter provides insights into children’s perspectives on kinship, work, caring, health, migration and conflict, shedding light on children’s views and the vital roles they play in the emerging Africa of tomorrow.