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In: Crisis and Creativity
In: Land, Law and Politics in Africa


Political liberalisation in Africa has often been accompanied by a somewhat paradoxical obsession with autochthony, leading to more or less violent forms of exclusion of migrants. South West Province, one of the two provinces in the Anglophone region of Cameroon, provides an interesting case study to illustrate this striking phenomenon. In an area where a plantation economy was established during German colonial rule, massive labour migration has been encouraged from elsewhere in the country, particularly from the other Anglophone province, North West Province. Following large-scale settlement of northwestern migrants in the South West, the ‘autochthonous’ population began to resent their increasing domination in demographic, economic and political terms. When the government and its regional allies felt threatened by widespread opposition and federalist/-secessionist tendencies in the Anglophone region during the political liberalisation process in the 1990s, they started exploiting existing tensions between the ‘autochthonous’ and ‘allochthonous’ populations to boost South-West identity, promote various forms of ethnic cleansing, and thus split the Anglophone front.

In: Mobile Africa
In: Vanguard or Vandals
Exploring the Wealth of the African Neighbourhood
Editors: and
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.
In: Negotiating an Anglophone Identity