At times of economic and political crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, urban dwellers display a large degree of creativity in their survival strategies by developing social networks and constructing imaginative and original practices and ideas. This volume views the urban neighbourhood from two different perspectives and explores the importance of these creative processes. The first approach considers the neighbourhood as a geographical domain in which people are engaged in a variety of activities to advance their material and immaterial well-being, making use of their ‘wealth’ of opportunities, assets and diverse forms of natural, physical, financial, human and social ‘capital’. The second angle sees the neighbourhood as not necessarily geographically located or bounded but as having been created and defined by human beings. These neighbourhoods may take on the form of self-help organizations, associations or churches, or may be based on gender, generational, ethnic or occupational identities. As the contributions from all over Sub-Saharan Africa show, the two approaches do not necessarily exclude each other.
This book provides a rare opportunity to follow the daily life on and around plantations and towns in the first years of the German colonial presence in East Africa, as seen through the eyes of a Danish master farmer working for the German East Africa Company. There are few memoirs and personal letters from these years, and existent letters are primarily by explorers, colonial officials, missionaries or the occasional settler. Lautherborn's material provides one of the very few entry points into the daily business of colonial expansion and consolidation in the early years of German East Africa as seen through the eyes of a practical man trying to do a job in a complex and changing world.
This book is a bilingual (Maninkakan [ Malinké] - French) presentation of narratives by an old blacksmith, Bala Kanté. The narratives are strikingly coherent in the sense that they use use indigenous models for historic causation to recount of the changes Mali has gone through in the 20th century. Though the narratives often recount well-known oral traditions, Bala Kanté embeds them in an argument which is highly original. Hence, the texts are of great interests for both historical and literary research. Moreover, the book contains archival material about the Sobara region where Bala Kanté lived most of his life and which marginal but unique history may be a prerequisite for Kanté's unique oeuvre.
Recognizing that land rights are ambiguous, negotiable and politically embedded, these case studies explore the long-term processes and recent changes in contemporary rural West Africa affecting the conversion of control over land into social and political capital and vice versa. They point to the colonial origins of what came to be viewed as ‘customary’ tenure and to the legal pluralism characterizing pre-colonial tenure arrangements. Furthermore, they show the spiritual and ritual importance of land that can be converted into political power and economic prerogatives, a dimension neglected by much of the recent literature. Analyses cover forest and savannah, state and segmentary societies, facilitating comparison and insights across the Anglo-Francophone divide.
Symptomatic of an emergent shift away from prescriptive and deterministic accounts of change in South Africa, Predicaments of culture in South Africa posits an open-ended and speculative approach to the question and agency of culture. The key question, posed by Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, ‘what does it mean to be a South African?’ is shifted from its familiar ontological and epistemological habitat, ‘what is identity?’, the better to embrace its ethical and political rider, ‘what are identities for?’, and its more pragmatic possibility, ‘what can identities do?’ These qualifications – Bhabha’s – form the building blocks that skew and enrich existing presumptions about South Africa’s history, its present moment and its future.
Jamal challenges and qualifies the conflicting and contiguous drives of fatalism, positivism and relativism, which are the dominant claimants upon the South African cultural imaginary. It is this critical non-positionality that forms the distinctive trait of an inquiry which, in eschewing allegiance and closure, opens up the debate about what it means to be South African and the role of culture therein.
‘In hindsight, and with the hither side of the future before us’, Jamal’s driving assumption is that ‘world society is advancing towards yet another age of ignorance;
an age beyond suspicion and irony, in which thought, whether self-critical or not, is no longer the agent of reason’. Jamal calls for an urgent reappraisal of the absence of love – of lovelessness – which he sees as the infected root of South Africa’s inability to create a positively affirmative cultural imaginary.
This volume contains the full Qadi Records of Brava (1893 – 1900). The importance of these records for those studying Southern Somalia and the Swahili coast cannot be overestimated. The register is like a daily journal of events in a typical Swahili town. The information in the records covers a wide range of issues: Slavery, the role of women and their usage of the court system in the 19th century, the role of the Ulama, trade, inheritance, et cetera. The register is signed and stamped by the Italian Commander/governor in Asmara, Eritrea where it was taken and authenticated and bears the Official Stamp of the Royal Italian Government. This volume contains both the Arabic original and a translation into English.
Skin Tight: Apartheid Literary Culture and its Aftermath traces the responses to the emergent paradigm of South African literary studies from the 1970s onwards. Embedded in the influential critical texts of the field, it claims, are hidden narratives - of land, race, gender, desire and embodiment. This volume explores these submerged dimension's of South African literary history and the influence they continue to exert well into the post-apartheid era. It suggests that significant continuities exist between late-apartheid and post-apartheid literary culture, and positions these against the interpretive horizon of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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 European-African 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.
This book is about the politicking and strife over land between various stakeholders on the African continent, including Madagascar. It is about attempts to control land tenure ‘from above’ and about local manoeuvring ‘from below’. The contributing authors analyse the intricate relations between the central government, the local government and grassroots level institutions.