This paper seeks to examine the challenges that face the university press in Africa in general and South Africa in particular. It will start by examining the state of the university press in Africa, the state of the university press in South Africa, the challenges that face university presses, such as the declining purchasing of scholarly monographs by university libraries since the budgets of most university libraries are now spend on subscribing to expensive journals and serials, poorly paid academic staff that does not purchase scholarly books, poor teaching and research infrastructure where the course pack has replaced the monograph in the classroom, a generally under-developed market, a weakly developed reading culture, short print-runs which are not economically viable, lack of distribution hubs such as bookshops and lack of intra-Africa book trade. Whereas in the past scholarly publishers could sell between 1000 and 1500 copies of a monograph, today they sell between 200-300 copies. Since publishing small print runs is not economically viable due to economies of scale, scholarly publishers are caught between a declining market and high costs involved in publishing small print runs. It will further examine the role that research institutes and science councils play in scholarly publishing and lastly it will examine the opportunities that new modes of communications offers to scholarly publishers.
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ASC Working Paper 100 / 2012
Michiel O.L. van den Bergh ~ Bridging The Gap Between Bird Conservation And Sustainable Development. Perceptions And Participation Of Rural People In Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region
The Sahel is a loosely defined and not well demarcated region; it comprises the semi-arid transition region between the Sahara Desert to the north and wetter regions of sub-Saharan Africa to the south (CSELS 2010; UNEP 2007; Agnew & Chappell 1999).[i] The Sahel region is often defined by means of the number of days of the growing season or by the average annual amount of precipitation. Alternatively, the boundaries have also been drawn using latitude and longitude (Agnew & Chappell 1999). However, the boundaries are gradual and arbitrary, changing in time following weather patterns (e.g. droughts), climate changes, and land-use changes and concomitant land-cover changes (Ton Dietz, director ASCL, pers. comm. 2015). Agnew & Chappell (1999: 300) argue that “it is normally taken to be the arid West African countries from Senegal to Chad, but some also include Sudan to the East” (Figure 1.1).
The Sahel region constitutes one major ecoregion[ii] of the African continent (Brito et al. 2014). Different habitats can be found in the region, including large flat plains, gallery forests and sand dunes. The plains are mostly used for grazing and extraction of commodities (i.e. food, medicine, fodder and wood), and some smaller areas are also used for cultivation (increasing in area from north to south in the region) (Lykke et al. 2004). Traditional land-use practices such as nomadic pastoralism and agroforestry, as well as modern forestry rules, are adapted to the arid climate and erratic rainfalls (Zwarts et al. 2009; Mortimore & Adams 2001; Boffa 2000). However, this dynamic equilibrium is in jeopardy from increased agricultural and pastoralist activities, but also from overhunting, unsustainable extraction of natural resources and water overexploitation (irrigation and hydroelectric dams) (Adams et al. 2014; Brito et al. 2014; Zwarts et al. 2009).
Most, if not all, Sahel countries’ economies are strongly dependent on natural resources, but at the same time they are depleting their natural capital, making them exceptionally vulnerable (Cohen et al. 2011). Furthermore, agriculture and animal husbandry in the Sahel are highly vulnerable to climate change (Dietz et al. 2004). The region is home to a population of 100 million, and UN demographic projections for 2050 are 300 million. This rapid population growth coupled with environmental degradation and, at the same time a high dependence on the environment, is cause for grave concern. In 2012, 18 million people in the West African Sahel were suffering from malnutrition (Potts & Graves 2013). Indeed, the Sahel is sometimes labelled as one of the poorest and most environmentally degraded areas on earth (Brandt et al. 2014; CSELS 2010; Lindskog & Tengberg 1994).
The African continent is a winter ground for a quarter of the more than 500 bird species breeding in Europe, which includes between 2 and 5 billion individual birds. Especially the continent’s northern savannas, including the Sahel region, serve as a wintering ground for migrant birds. Indeed, the Sahel is an important area for migrant European birds, both for those species that spend their winter here, and for those species wintering further south on the continent that use this region as a staging area. These migrant birds are highly vulnerable to environmental change in the Sahel (Vickery et al. 2014; Zwarts et al. 2009; Jones 1995). Thus, environmental degradation in the Sahel is threatening the survival of both birds and people (Brandt et al. 2014; Ouédraogo et al. 2014; Cresswell et al. 2007).
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[i] “Due to the large contrast in the yearly rainfall, the West African landscape gradually changes from north to south, within a distance of 600-700 km from Sahara desert to humid woodland” (Zwarts et al.2015).
[ii] “Ecoregions are relatively large units of land containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities and species, with boundaries that approximate the original extent of natural communities prior to major land-use change.” (Olson et al. 2001: 933)
ISBN: 978-90-5448-155-3 ~ © Michiel van den Bergh, 2016
Michael Weldeghiorghis Tedla ~ The Eritrean Liberation Front: Social And Political Factors Shaping Its Emergence, Development And Demise, 1960-1981
In the second half of the twentieth century, Eritrea was an arena of uninterrupted armed conflict that went on for about three decades. The conflict was basically rooted in history and geography. But it was also aggravated by outside intervention for many years. Ethiopia being supported first by the US, Israel, and latter on by the USSR, and the Eritrean nationalists by socialist oriented Middle Eastern and Asian countries and organizations turned Eritrea into a proxy battle field between opposing forces during the Cold War era.
The protracted Eritrean war of independence started in 1961 under the auspices of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF (1960-1981) was the first, and largely Muslim-based, armed resistance movement that emerged to contest Ethiopian rule over Eritrea. Formed in 1960, the ELF carried out political and military activities for the subsequent twenty years in an attempt to gain independence. This armed resistance movement was, however, unable to accomplish its stated goals of achieving independence. Rather, the task of achieving de facto independence was realized by its offspring organization in 1991. This study is, therefore, an attempt to reconstruct the history of a socio-political movement that has been important in the recent history of Eritrea: the Eritrean Liberation Front. In the following sections an attempt is made to outline the fundamental research problem and the motivation for my interest in undertaking the intended study, research questions, scope of the study, theoretical framework, methodology, relevance of the study, and organization of the thesis.
Problem Statement and Rationale
In 1950, the UN passed a resolution that federated Eritrea with Ethiopia, without any form of plebiscite. Within few years, Ethiopia dismantled the pillars of the federation that guaranteed Eritrea’s limited autonomy one by one without hesitation. Throughout the federal period, Eritreans protested against Ethiopia’s violations of the Eritrean autonomy. As it became quite difficult to organize and agitate inside Eritrea, the task of organizing a movement to promote the Eritrean cause fell on the Diaspora. Frustrated with the system, a new breed of Eritrean nationalists founded the underground Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM)[i] in Port Sudan in 1958. The ELM sought to terminate Ethiopian rule through a coup d’état. But before the ELM could attempt a coup, the war for independence was launched in 1961 under the auspices of the ELF.[ii] After that the country lapsed into a cycle of political disorder, violent conflict and human suffering in the three decades that followed.
The founders of the ELF were Eritrean political exiles and students in Cairo, Egypt, who drew inspiration from the Algerian revolution.[iii] The initial ELF leaders, who were living abroad, came mainly from Muslim backgrounds and this had a profound impact on the membership and mobilization of the ELF. Consequently, during the early years of the first decade of its history, the movement favoured Muslims over Christians.[iv]
In the 1960s, the movement nevertheless grew steadily as it started to attract support from diverse segments of the population and from the Diasporas. The fighters (also called Tegadelti in Tigrinya, one of the most widely spoken languages in Eritrea) were individuals who came from diverse economic, social, educational, gender, and age backgrounds and came to be marked by their devotion to the success of the struggle. Some of the early fighters received training in Syria, China, Cuba, and Iraq; whilst the rest were trained in the liberated areas. Within the next ten years, the ELF became a serious threat to the Ethiopian rule in Eritrea. The impact of its existence was felt beyond the boundaries of Ethiopia, especially when Ethiopian planes were subjected to subversive activities. In 1970, there was a major breakaway from the initial movement. Three splinter groups emerged and latter coalesced to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which became a strong rival to the parent Front. The ELF remained a viable organization for the next ten years, but in the 1970s a series of armed clashes between the two dominant movements occurred. These clashes were typically exemplified by a struggle for dominance. Finally, in 1982, the EPLF superseded the ELF and other smaller groups as the most effective armed resistance to the Ethiopian forces, and defeated the ELF in the process. The ELF fighters fled to Sudan, and many went on to Europe and North America, while some members opted to return to Eritrea and join the rival nationalist movement, the EPLF.
In May 1991, the EPLF took control of the whole country from Ethiopia and Eritrea achieved its de jure independence in 1993 after holding a UN observed referendum, in which 99.8 percent of Eritreans voted for sovereignty. The EPLF transformed itself into the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) in 1994 and has been leading the country since its independence.
The ELF, emerging years before its rival the EPLF, and having been in a position of prominence in military terms with regard to the latter, nevertheless was superseded and destroyed in a relatively short period of time. This calls for investigation into the reasons why one movement, from the outside looking stronger, so spectacularly failed not only to achieve its aims but even to maintain itself as an organization, while a seemingly weaker front, the EPLF, not only managed to outflank and supersede its rival but also went on to occupy the whole of Eritrea. The Eritrean example, in this manner, offers a unique comparative example of two movements with different strategies and with very different fortunes. Although it is beyond the scope of the study to address the ELF from a comparative dimension, it is important to at least note that the Eritrean example may hold general lessons on the variables that affect the viability and strength of national-revolutionary movements.
In my previous career as a junior researcher and archivist at the Research and Documentation Centre (RDC), the acting national archive of Eritrea, from 2004 to 2012, I was confronted with a large amount of archival materials concerning the movement in question. Despite the availability of such bulky serviceable source materials, the history of the Eritrean struggle for independence remained by and large incomplete and undeveloped.[v]
This absence of well researched publications and analysis poses a challenge in developing a broader understanding of the dynamics of the Eritrean politics prior to the independence of the country. This experience instilled in me the desire to study the nature and development of the ELF using the idea of writing history from the stand point of those former ELF fighters. In this study,special attention has been given to its origin, development, and demise of the movement, and the how and why questions have also been investigated thoroughly.
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[i] Ruth Iyob, The Eritrean Struggle for Independence: Domination, Resistance, Nationalism, 1941-1993 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 98-101; see also Dan Connel and Tom Killion. Historical Dictionary of Eritrea (2nd ed.) (Lanham, Toronto and Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2011), Connel and Killion, 218-20.
[ii] Ruth, 103; see also Redie Bereketeab, “Eritrea: The Making of a Nation 1890-1991” (PhD. diss., Uppsala University, 2000), 183-184.
[iii] John Markakis, National and Class Conflict in the Horn of Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 113.
[iv] Redie, 185
[v] Bairu Tafla, “Interdependence through Independence: The Challenges of Eritrean Historiography,” in New Trends in Ethiopian Studies, ed. Harold G. Marcus. (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1994), 500.
Ojok: An exemplary case of suffering and quests for well-being by wartime children in Gulu Municipality I will call this child Ojok (not his real name) to ensure anonymity. In 2004 when I met him, Ojok was a fifteen-year-old boy (1989) who was born in Kitgum four years after the beginning of the then twenty-year-old insurgency in northern Uganda. When telling his life history, he related how, whenever he asked his mother who his father was, he provoked anger, tears and fear. His mother, like a substantial number of women in northern Uganda, had been raped by a group of men in the rebel army. When she went to report the case to the state army, instead of being helped she was detained for weeks and subsequently raped frequently by a group of state soldiers. She managed to escape to one of the camps in the neighbouring Gulu district, but was already three-months pregnant with Ojok – a child-of-rape. Statistics are unavailable but it is well-known that as a consequence of any armed conflict, there are a substantial number of children with a similar life history. Ojok serves as an ‘archetypal case’. A substantial number of children such as Ojok were neglected till they died of malnourishment or abandoned in public hospitals and camps in Gulu. Ojok was lucky to survive till his age.
When Ojok was two years old, his mother got married to an ex-combatant with the Lords Resistance Army, who had escaped, and had settled in a camp in Gulu where she lived. In this marital union they had three children, aged 13, 9 and 7 years respectively in 2004. Although they were a relatively stable family, Ojok’s stepfather succumbed to HIV/AIDS when his youngest child was five years old. Before his death he had introduced his family to his patrilineal kin, but made it clear that Ojok did not belong to the family. According to Ojok, they had been living together in good peace with his stepfather’s kin even after his death. However, two years later, he also lost his mother to HIV/AIDS. Being the eldest in the family of four orphans, automatically Ojok assumed the responsibility of caring for his siblings, including providing for food, healthcare needs and where possible educational costs. He had to drop out of school in order to do leja leja (casual farm labour) and other income generating activities to meet all these expenses. One weekend in April 2004, he was summoned by his stepfather’s kin for a meeting. In this meeting he was told that he did not belong to the family and was subsequently ordered to vacate their land together with his siblings. To confirm their determination, the entire kinship group uprooted all the crops Ojok had on his farm and demolished the children’s house. Ojok together with his siblings left for Lacor night commuters’ home where they lived at the time of interviews in July 2004. He still worked at the hospital premises and other neighbouring places, but had a lot of medical complaints.
When Ojok was asked about his experiences in a one month recall he mentioned malaria, cough and diarrhoea. For malaria he bought chloroquine from a grocery shop for 100 Uganda shillings (approximately 0.043 euros), but for cough he and his siblings used mango and guava leaves. The nurse gave him some yellow tablets for diarrhoea. For his siblings, he bought chloroquine when they had malaria.
According to the night commuters’ shelter nurse where Ojok lived together with his family, “he is always taking Panadol for his headache, which never recovers”. Sometimes, the nurse gave him a higher Panadol dosage, say three instead of two tablets, but still he complained of headache. At night, Ojok presented another challenge to the people at the night commuters’ shelter. If he was not tossing around on his mat he was always having violent nightmares. Therefore, the nurse gave him a dose of Valium each evening. However, in the recent past, the nurse complained, “even if Ojok took five Valium tablets, they did not work! The administration was considering giving him oxazepams and perhaps other very strong tranquilizers”. Assessing Ojok holistically, it is clear that underlying his persistent complaints is a web of all sorts of social and psychological issues.
The main objective of this exemplary case is to show the complexity of the effects of armed conflict on children’s lives, including their illness experiences and quests for therapy. The content in Ojok’s story signifies a child facing uncertainty, having relatives dying of HIV/AIDS and the direct effects of the breakdown of social networks leading to complex healthcare issues in wartime. Ojok as I mentioned, is a synecdoche or archetypal case of a substantial number of children living in a situation of armed conflict. And for the armed conflict in northern Uganda which had lasted more than twenty years at the time of this study Ojok’s experiences could only be a tip of the iceberg of the magnitude of problems in conflict and post conflict northern Uganda which are intertwined with health and healthcare issues.
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ISBN 978-90-5448-095-2 © Grace Akello, 2010 – African Studies Collection, vol. 25
Mirjam de Bruijn ~ ‘The Telephone Has Grown Legs’: Mobile Communication And Social Change In The Margins Of African Society
Inaugural Address – September 2008
My phone at home in the Netherlands never stops ringing nowadays and on the display I often see the Malian, Chadian or Cameroonian country codes. And in the evenings there are always ‘missed calls’ from African numbers too. This was unimaginable when I started doing my PhD research in central Mali in the early 1990s. For the people at home then, I was far away. People’s understanding and experiences of distance are very different today.
At breakfast I often speak Fulfulde to Ahmadou, a herder from central Mali who tells me how he is sitting under the trees next to his cows. The costs of communication have apparently dropped so much that he can afford just to call to greet me, the owner of a part of his herd.
We met in 1990 and became like a brother and sister sharing life in the Fulani cattle camp where his father hosted me and my husband. Ahmadou is his eldest son and married two wives and has today 7 children. After the death of his father in 2006, he became the head of his family and clan.
The telephone has given him the chance to change his life, as was apparent when he asked our family to support his political campaign. We agreed; after all it was the least we could do since he had herded our cows for so many years.
Ahmadou has big plans. He would now like to build a house in the city. In one of our phone conversations, he asked me to bring him a television on my next visit. His last call was to communicate his victory in the political campaign!
For 35 years, the people of Chad have been living in the midst of a civil war and with repressive state machinery. But even in the regions where war and hunger are a daily reality, people now have access to mobile telephony in spite of widespread deep-rooted poverty. Mongo, the country’s fifth largest
city, has had access to mobile telephony since 2005. I worked and lived in 2002/2003 in Mongo and met with Ousmanou who became one of my research assistants.
Ousmanou did some investigation on his own, being a literate, and together we developed a plan for a NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) to help impoverished children who live in the streets of Mongo. He is married and has four children. The mobile phone helps to continue our exchanges.
Ousmanou regularly sends text messages to keeps me updated of the recent ups and downs of his family and the city. The telephone has also been a good help to raise some funds for this NGO. However during the last upsurge of fighting in Chad (in 2008, and also before in 2006 and 2007), all telephone connections were cut, which led to a high degree of panic amongst our Chadian acquaintances (and us). With no way of contacting the outside world, their
lives were suddenly once again in the hands of the authoritarian regime of President Idriss Deby.
It will be clear that the way information from these ‘remote’ parts of Africa is being transferred to those in the West has changed with these new methods of communication. The growth of mobile telephony in Africa became possible after the liberalization of the telecommunications market and its
escalation has been astonishing. The unexpectedly high access to mobile telephones has risen from 1 in 50 persons at the beginning of the 21st century to 1 in 3 just a few years later in 2008. Even the inhabitants of remote rural areas in Africa are being introduced to the world of wireless telephony.
Ahmadou and Ousmanou live in marginal regions of the world where modern technology is sparse and where it is not easy to survive due to the difficult natural and economic circumstances of these harsh regions and their political instability. Government interest and investment in marginal regions are usually minimal as they are considered to be areas of little economic or social interest. But Ahmadou and Ousmanou do not see themselves as being marginalized at all. For them, these regions are part of their identity and their use of the mobile phone makes it clear that these marginal areas are not isolated at all, in spite of the absence of good infrastructure. On the contrary, these regions’ relations stretch as far as Europe.The margins cannot be demarcated geographically; they are social margins.
I am interested in the question if and how mobile telephony, a new communication technology, will change the social, political and economic dynamics in the social margins of our world in the coming years? Does it reflect a revolution in communication and development, or will nothing ultimately change at the end of the day?
Ahmadou and Ousmanou and their families in Mali and Chad have become part of these changes. I have been following them and their families since 1990 and 2002 respectively and will continue doing so. And I have recently started a project in the Grassfields area in Cameroon. In the coming years I will be following families in Mali, Chad and Cameroon and try to understand the new dynamics in their societies also through their eyes.
Here, therefore, I am not presenting a completed story but an initial exploration of possible changes in the social margins of Africa. To be able to look into change I will introduce my understanding of the social margins, elaborate on the concept of communication ecology and social relations in the margins. And then I will explore possible social changes that are the result of the new communications technology. I will thus introduce a current and important field of study within African Studies, where interdisciplinary collaboration can make a contribution to the study of mobility and migration, of poverty and of social conflict.
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‘If there is ever violence again in Rwanda, it will be because of land’. This is what a Rwandan friend told me in February 2011, just a few weeks after I returned home from my last period of fieldwork in Rwanda. I nodded more or less intuitively in response because this was in line with what other Rwandans had told me, and some had even said ‘when’ instead of ‘if’; it was only later that I would fully grasp the seriousness of his remark. It should be read in the context of Rwanda’s post-independent history in which ethnic violence dominated, leading to a civil war (1990-1994) and culminating in the 1994 genocide that targeted the Tutsi population.
With still about 90% of the population engaged in subsistence farming, access to land is of crucial importance in present-day Rwanda (Ansoms 2009b: 299). Land remains a scarce resource in a country that has the highest population density in Africa and where many people were displaced as a result of massive violence in the past. It is estimated that the average Rwandan cultivates 0.75 ha (Huggins 2013: 1) but most peasants have only about 0.5 ha and this is spread across several small plots (Huggins 2014a: 2).[i] Because of its importance and its increasing scarcity, land has become a growing cause of conflict in recent years (Musahara & Huggins 2005; Ansoms & Claessens 2011: 4). During my first fieldwork period in 2008, respondents tended to deny or downplay conflicts over land. Although they more or less confirmed that such conflicts did exist, they rarely admitted that they had been party to any conflict themselves and always stressed that the local authorities had been able to solve these conflicts. However, during my last fieldwork period in November and December 2010, it seemed that land disputes were omnipresent. It was at this time that land registration, which was introduced in the 2005 (and later 2013) Land Law, was being carried out in the research area and my research assistant and I were often confronted with land disputes. We witnessed them when watching the demarcation procedure during land registration. They were mentioned, often without any probing on our part, by many of the people we encountered: villagers who were queuing to meet the village authority, the authorities themselves and numerous other respondents. Sometimes people even called on us for advice about solving their problems. Most conflicts that came before local mediators also concerned land and, indirectly, these conflicts often had to do with land sharing between the Hutu population and returned Tutsi refugees that took place in 1996 and 1997.
The tensions and conflicts we came across were an indication of the state of social relations among Rwanda’s rural population, which were already strained following the 1994 genocide and the ethnically-related violence that occurred around the time of Rwanda’s independence.[ii] In addition, recent, but also older, land-tenure policies like the above-mentioned land registration and land sharing seem to have had a negative impact on social relations between Rwanda’s various ethnic and social groups. The central question in this thesis is: How do government policies concerning access to land and land tenure in rural post-conflict Rwanda influence local community relations (including ethnicity) and land conflicts?
The reason why I wanted to research land issues was because I am ultimately interested in Rwanda’s current social relations and the role of ethnicity in these relationships. Land access is thus used as a lens through which to look at present-day Rwandan society and its current social tensions.
This introduction is divided into four parts. The first discusses Rwanda’s recent history and examines the 1994 genocide that targeted the Tutsi population, the issue of land scarcity and conflict and genocide-related violence. The second section takes us to present-day Rwanda and considers the nature of the Rwandan government, its strong social-engineering policies and the role ethnicity plays in social relations and politics. The third part of the chapter presents a brief introduction to the research area, the research questions and some general remarks about the research itself. It does not, however, delve into the research methods used as these are described in Chapter 2. The last section discusses the way land access is related to social relations and authority in general and applies this to the Rwandan context, before finishing with an outline of the chapters.
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[i] According to Huggins, statistics on the average size of land holdings vary slightly and the average size decreased by 25% between 1990 and 2000. In a 2012 report used by Huggins (2013: 1), the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources estimated that the average size was 0.76 ha, which was higher than previous estimates.
[ii] This ethnic violence is described in more detail in Chapter 3.
ISBN: 978-90-5448-145-4 -© Margot Leegwater, 2015