Stephen Ellis & Gerrie ter Haar ~ Africa’s Religious Resurgence And The Politics Of Good And Evil

Charles Taylor – Former President of Liberia

Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, can be found every workday sitting in the dock of a small, bright, ultramodern courtroom in The Hague. Taylor is accused of responsibility for some of the gravest crimes imaginable— atrocities committed in Liberia’s neighbor to the northwest, Sierra Leone, during that country’s 1991–2002 civil war. The crimes include authorizing mass recruitment of child soldiers, mass rape, and hacking off the hands of hundreds of people. Yet Taylor is known as a man who devotes considerable attention to religious matters. His example serves as a reminder that combining the practice of religion with the use of extreme violence is not as unusual as one might think.

The ex-president does not dispute that these crimes actually occurred. Nor does he deny that equally terrible things happened in his own country during the war that was fought there, off and on, between 1989 and 2003. But the charges against him concern Sierra Leone, not Liberia. And he maintains that the atrocities perpetrated in Sierra Leone were none of his doing. It is the first time an African head of state has ever stood trial before an international tribunal. Taylor is appearing before the Special Court for Sierra Leone—a hybrid body created jointly by the state of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. The case is being heard in the Netherlands rather than West Africa for security reasons: Taylor still has a few influential friends in the region.

Most of the time Taylor, born in Liberia in 1948, resembles nothing so much as the benign patriarch of a wealthy family. He wears a dark business suit, a silk tie, and lightly tinted glasses. He has a chunky gold watch on his wrist. He chats affably with his lawyers. Yet not only is he standing trial for war crimes; his eldest son, Charles Taylor Jr., better known as “Chuckie,” currently awaits trial in Florida on charges of torture. Taylor’s speeches, in the days when he was Liberia’s head of state (1997–2003), were full of extravagant references to Jesus. He once declared to a mass rally that Jesus Christ was the true president of Liberia, and he is often described as having been a Baptist preacher. It is also reported that he joined the Nation of Islam during the year when he was held in a Massachusetts jail awaiting extradition to his home country. (Taylor had escaped to America from Liberia in 1983—apparently with $900,000 of government money in his possession—after a dispute with the country’s military dictator. Detained by us authorities at the request of the Liberian government, which wanted to try him for embezzlement, Taylor escaped from the Plymouth House of Correction in 1985.)

Read more: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/ASC-071342346-186-01.pdf?

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The Nigerian-Biafran War

May 30 2017 marks the 50th birthday of the declaration of independence of the republic of Biafra, leading up to a 30-month civil war between federal Nigerian troops and the (Igbo) secessionists. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Library, Documentation and Information Department at the African Studies Centre in Leiden (ASCL) has compiled a web dossier on the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970), also known as the Biafran War.

Far from being an exhaustive or even representative overview of the record of scholarship that has appeared on this topic, this dossier is an attempt to highlight different discourses reflected in the ASCL Library’s collection. After the introduction, section 2 presents a selection of publications on the war, ranging from a 1967 propaganda leaflet by the Nigerian government of information (Unity in Diversity) to a 2016 article on ‘the tensions in Nigeria-Biafra war discourses’.  A highlight of this section is a collection of student essays on the civil war written in 1971 at the Toro teacher’s college. The cahiers were donated by their teacher, Aart Rietveld. Noteworthy is also the civil war chapters in the textbook series on civics and history for primary schools.

The third section deals with fictional accounts, personal narratives and poetry on the Biafran conflict, illustrating how much more literature there is than the (rightly famous) writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Adichie and Achebe.

Sections 4,5 and 6 capture the conflict through the biographical lenses of key actors. Writings by and about the two political protagonists, General Gowon (Nigerian head of state 1966–1975) and General Ojukwu (president of Biafra 1967–1971), give an insight into the federal and Igbo perspectives of the conflict. The third person chosen for this biographical section is the Yoruba nationalist Obafemi Awolowo, who was active as Federal Commissioner for  Finance in Gowon’s cabinet during the war. Chinua Achebe portrays Awolowo as the architect of the starvation policy meant to crush the Igbo defence: “It is my impression that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general. […] In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation […].”(There was a country, p. 233). This view contrasts strongly with the almost hagiographic accounts of “the man of courage , wisdom, reason and vision” (according to Moses Makinde).

The dossier is concluded with a selection of  web resources and is introduced by former LeidenASA fellow Jays Julius-Adeoye, who recently published ‘The Nigeria-Biafra war, popular culture and agitation for sovereignty of Biafra nation’ in the ASCL working paper series.

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ASC ~ Education For Life. Akiiki Babyesiza ~ Introduction

On the occasion of the international conference ‘Education for Life in Africa’, organized by the Netherlands Association for Africa Studies in The Hague on 19 and 20 May 2017, the ASCL Library has compiled a web dossier on this theme. The conference is dedicated to Goal 4 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): ‘Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’.

The web dossier contains recent titles from our Library catalogue (from 2013 onwards), divided into six thematic sections. Each title links to the corresponding record in the online catalogue, which provides abstracts and full-text links (when available). The dossier also contains a number of relevant websites. African textbooks present in our Library (for example, on history and on religion), have not been included in this web dossier. They can be searched in our catalogue using the keyword textbooks (form) combined with a keyword such as ‘history’, ‘Islam’ or ‘Christianity’.

The dossier is introduced by Dr Akiiki Babyesiza, an expert in higher education, specializing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Babyesiza has been working for CHE Consult (Berlin), a consulting company in the field of strategic higher education management, since May 2017.

Introduction
Africa is the youngest continent, with half of its population under the age of 15. An inclusive and equitable education sector from pre-primary to higher education that can offer opportunities for this rising young population is at the core of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

In recent decades, the multilateral initiative Education for All and the education related goals of the Millennium Development Goals have led to substantial changes in the field of education in Africa. Yet, the goal of universal primary education has not been achieved and a high proportion of the world’s out-of-school children are African. While access to primary, secondary and higher education has increased, many other challenges persist with respect to equity and quality. Some of the challenges are connected to how and what children learn at school. One important aspect is the language of instruction, which is usually not the pupils’ mother tongue. Often, the lack of educational success is connected to a lack of proficiency in the language of instruction. Another issue is the role of pedagogy and whether students learn to apply knowledge or just to repeat it. This is, of course, also connected to the quality of the education and training of teachers. Moreover, inequities remain between rural and urban areas with respect to the distribution of schools, particularly secondary schools and higher education institutions.  And there are inequities with regard to gender, ethnicity, disability and refugee status.

These challenges are exacerbated in situations of war and violent conflict, where educational institutions can worsen as well as mitigate conflict. Students can be marginalized by language, teaching content and the politicization of teaching staff. At the same time, educational institutions that offer peace and civic education for students and accelerated learning programmes for former child soldiers can have a positive impact in post-conflict situations.

Whether in times of war or in times of peace, there is need for a more holistic view of education – from pre-primary education to higher education and technical vocational education and training. The higher education sector, for example, has long suffered from neglect due to the strong focus on primary education in international development debates. Due to the social rates of return theory adopted by the World Bank, higher education institutions in Africa were perceived as an unnecessary luxury. These days, politicians and development actors have embraced the interconnectedness of the different educational sectors. Teachers are taught at higher education institutions, so there cannot be successful primary and secondary schools without quality tertiary education. While the number of higher education students in Sub-Saharan Africa doubled between 2000 and 2010, the rate of youth enrolled in higher education is only around 6% (26% is the global average). Furthermore, many scholars, practitioners and politicians believe that the development of a knowledge economy/society, with higher education institutions at its centre, is key to local and global sustainable development.

Access to education and enrolment: http://www.ascleiden.nl/content/education-life ~ scroll down a little for the web dossier.

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Prophecies And Protests ~ Ubuntu And Communalism In African Philosophy And Art

During my efforts to set up dialogues between Western and African philosophies, I have singled out quite a number of subjects on which such dialogues are useful and necessary. Recently I have stated in an essay that three themes in the African way of thought have become especially important for me:
1.1 The basic concept of vital force, differing from the basic concept of being, which is prevalent in Western philosophy;
1.2. The prevailing role of the community, differing from the predominantly individualistic thinking in the West;
1.3. The belief in spirits, differing from the scientific and rationalistic way of thought, which is prevalent in Western philosophy (Kimmerle 2001: 5).

In these fields of philosophical thought there are contributions from African philosophers, which differ in a very characteristic way from Western thinking. Therefore in a dialogue on these themes a special enrichment of Western philosophy is possible. In the following text I want to clarify this possibility by concentrating on two notions, which have a specific meaning in the context of African philosophy. To discuss the notions of ubuntu and communalism means working out some important aspects of the second theme. The community spirit in African theory and practice is philosophically concentrated in notions such as ubuntu and communalism. But the concept of vital force, which is mentioned in the first theme, will play a certain role, too. We find the stem –ntu, which expresses the concept of vital force in many Bantu-languages, also in ubuntu. For a more detailed explanation of ubuntu, I will depend mainly on Mogobe B. Ramose’s book, which gives the most comprehensive explanation of the philosophical impact of this notion (Ramose 1999). The concept of communalism is explained in the context of the political philosophy of Leopold S. Senghor and other political leaders of African countries in the struggle for independence (Senghor 1964). A vehement critic of that theory is a Kenyan political scientist, V.G. Simiyu (Simiyu 1987). For a philosophical evaluation of this controversy I will refer to the articles and books of Maurice Tschiamalenga Ntumba, Joseph M. Nyasani, and Kwame Gyekye, dealing with the relation between person and community (Ntumba 1985 and 1988; Nyasani 1989; Gyekye 1989 and 1997).

Read more

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Where Global Contradictions Are Sharpest ~ Research Stories From The Kalahari ~ Contents

The ‘Bushmen’ or ‘San’ of the Kalahari could well be called an iconographic people. Partly as a result of this, over the years abundant social research has been carried out among the San. Keyan Tomaselli and his research team from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa form part of that tradition; however, in this book Tomaselli is also able to reflect critically, and not without a touch of irony, on the way the San have been represented over the years. Hardly ever has there been a researcher who so uncompromisingly and aptly illustrates the many ethical contradictions in doing fieldwork among the San, and at the same time manages to reconstruct and represent the actual fieldwork experience and the San people so vividly that you almost taste the dust of the Kalahari and smell the raucous world that is depicted.

Note on the Author
Keyan G. Tomaselli is Professor in Culture, Communication and Media Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. He is a Fellow of the University and serves on the advisory board of !Kwa ttu – The San Cultural and Educational Centre. He is Old World book review editor of Visual Anthropology, and has published on visual anthropology in this and other publications such as Appropriating images: The semiotics of visual representation (Intervention Press, 1999). Other journals in which Tomaselli has published include: Visual Studies, Cultural Studies, Journal of Film and Video, Research in African Literatures, etc. He is published in translation in Italian, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic, amongst others. Tomaselli is editor-in-chief of Critical Arts: A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies.

Contents
Acknowledgements, Acronyms, A Note on Pronunciation
Starting Off – Different people, different communities – Specifically, what are we doing?
Chapter 1. Negotiating Research with First Peoples
Chapter 2. Reverse Cultural Studies: Field Methods, Power Relations and 4X4s … 
Chapter 3. ‘Dit is die Here se Asem’: The Wind, its Messages, and Issues of Autoethnographic Methodology in the Kalahari
Chapter 4. ‘Op die Grond’: Writing in the San/d, Surviving Crime 
Chapter 5. Psychospiritual Ecoscience: The Ju/’hoansi and Cultural Tourism
Chapter 6. Textualising the San ‘Past’: Dancing With Development
Chapter 7. Stories to Tell, Stories to Sell: Hidden transcripts, negotiating texts
References

© Keyan G. Tomaselli, 2005
Cover photograph: Frederik J Lange (Jnr). Taken between Witdraai and Welkom, Northern Cape, June 2005.
Coverdesign: Ingrid Bouws, Amsterdam
Editing: Saskia Stehouwer

Published by Rozenberg Publishers, Amsterdam, 2005, ISBN 90 5170 481 X

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Where Global Contradictions Are Sharpest ~ Acknowledgements, Acronyms, A Note On Pronunciation

Acknowledgements
The research on which this book reports is greatly indebted to The Protea Hotel, Upington, for sponsorship of accommodation on the way to and back from the Kalahari. Riann and Jeannne de Klerk, Bill and Kathy Fisher, and Kathleen and Willie Burger provided other accommodations in Upington at one time or another. Thanks to the Molopo Lodge for dealing with our often-idiosyncratic requests, like students having to study and write exams during fieldtrips.

To Bronwyn Spicer, who worked as my editorial assistant on this book, my abiding and enduring appreciation. Thanks to Kamini Moodley, the project’s research manager, who worked hard and diligently behind the scenes, and also assisted with copyediting. In field trip and research management Kamini was preceded by Vanessa McLennan-Dodd, and Chantel Oosthuysen. My thanks also to Catherine Dunphy for copyediting. Nelia Oets was a superb camp provider, translator and co-researcher. Nelia was always ready to volunteer her 4X4 for our visits to the Kalahari and assisted in many other roles. Our research team could not have accomplished as much as it did without her consistent and systematic support – both in material resources and intellectually. Thanks to all my students and research affiliates who contributed to the project over the ten-year study period. All have been an inspiration to me and have provided significant depth to the analysis. (A second strand of this project has been conducted in Zululand, not reported on here.) Contributors are listed in Table 1 in Chapter 2 together with the their publications and thesis titles. A special mention must go to Mary Lange who acted as facilitator, translator, and advisor and who brought a unique empathy to our research relations with our hosts. Arnold Shepperson was an ever-present intellectual source in both this and other of our publications on the topic. Thanks to all our partners in the Kalahari, Belinda Kruiper, Roger Carter and all those who engaged in discussion with us. Paul Rodda provided computer support.

The research was partly funded by the University of Natal’s Research Fund, now the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The National Research Foundation also funded it: Social Sciences and Humanities. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at are those of the author and not the Foundation. An UKZN-based Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowship enabled Matthew Durington to join the project for 18 months. His critique of an earlier draft of Chapter 2 proved very helpful. The research was started while I was a Fulbright researcher in the African Studies Center, Michigan State University, 1990-1, working on its African Media Program.
Other organisations which facilitated aspects of our research at one time or another include the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution; Documentary Educational Resources; the Working Indigenous Minorities Group; the South African San Institute; the Nquaa Khobee Zeya Trust, the Kuru Development Trust; and Rob Waldron.

I must also mention Jake Homiak whose early support via the Smithsonian’s Human Studies Film Archives underpinned the early stages of the research. Others on whom my students and I have drawn include John and Lorna Marshall, Cynthia Close, Fiona Archer, Nigel Crawhall, Meryl-Joy Winschutt, amongst many others. I am also deeply appreciative of the sustained support and encouragement for our autoethnographic turn offered by Norman Denzin of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Thanks also to Frans Prins, Bob Hitchcock, Garth Allen, Megan Biesele, Dave Wiley, amongst many others, who have liaised with me and some of my students on our work.

Chapter 1, ‘Negotiating Research with First Peoples’, is revised, adapted and updated from Shepperson, A. and Tomaselli, K.G. (Eds) (2003), ‘From one to an-other: Auto-ethnographic explorations in Southern Africa’, Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies, 4(4). Chapter 2 is a very extensively updated, totally revised and much elaborated version of my earlier article, ‘Blue is hot, red is cold: Doing reverse cultural studies in Africa’, first published in Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies, 1(3), 2001. Chapter 3, ‘Dit is die Here se Asem: The Wind and its Messages’ is adapted from Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies, 3(4), 2003. Chapter 4, ‘“Op die Grond”: Writing in the San/d, Surviving Crime’, is revised from Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15(3), 2003. Chapter 5, ‘Psychospiritual Ecoscience: The Ju/’hoansi and Cultural Tourism’, and Chapter 6, ‘Textualising the San “Past”: Dancing with Development’, are revised from Visual Anthropology, 12(3/4), 1999. Chapter 7, ‘Stories to Tell, Stories to Sell: Resisting Textualisation’, is adapted, revised and updated from Cultural Studies, 17(6), 2003. My thanks to the various publishers for permission to rework these articles into this book.

Keyan G. Tomaselli, August 2005

Acronyms

  • CCMS Culture, Communication and Media Studies (University of KwaZulu-Natal) (Howard College Campus, Durban)
  • CKGR Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • IGWIA International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs
  • CPA Community Property Association (Based in Andriesvale)
  • CRAM Cultural Resources Auditing and Management Project
  • JFP Jesus Film Project (Based in Kimberly)
  • LIFE Living in a Finite Environment Program
  • NNDFN Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (Based in Windhoek)
  • NNFC Nyae Nyae Farmers’ Cooperative (Based in Baraka)
  • SABC South African Broadcasting Corporation
  • SASI South African San Institute (Based in Kimberley)
  • SBB Safaris Botswana Bound (Based in Maun, operating in KD/1 Area)
  • SI Survival International
  • SIM Serving in Mission
  • SACOD Southern African Communications for Development
  • SWAA South West African Administration
  • SWAPO South West African People’s Organisation
  • WIMSA Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (Based in Windhoek, Namibia)

A Note on Pronunciation

All !Kung and San languages have clicks, which are additional consonants. The most commonly used clicks are:
 Alveolar click made by sucking the tongue against the ridge behind the upper front teeth.
//  Lateral click made at the side of the mouth.
!   Palatal click made by clicking the tongue on the roof of the palate.

For further information on language see Dickens and Traill (1997); Dickens (1992); Barnard (1992: xix-xxii).

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