Africa’s Youth And Conflicts: A Sub-Saharan Spring?


Recent travels to Chad, Cameroon and Mali confronted me with the conflicts in these countries as well as in the Central African Republic, and the youth’s involvement in them. How are we as researchers to analyse the conflicts and protests, what questions and fields of study should we explore? Are we observing a Sub-Saharan spring?

Opposed youth groups in CAR
In Cameroon I worked on a project with researchers from CAR. Since 2013 CAR has entered a new cycle of violence. Seleka and anti-Balaka are opposed groups of mainly youth who fight in a rhythm of vengeance. The government controls the capital city Bangui, but other parts of the country are under control of the diverse ‘rebel’ groups. Both sides are mainly filled with young (wo)men.

Salaries cut in Chad
In Chad I met young men who had just been released from prison where they had been tortured on accusation of disturbing the order. Since January this year Chad has entered a new period of protests and strikes. It was not acceptable for most people that salaries were cut by half and indemnities were not paid. Families could no longer pay for the school fees of their children and some families could only afford one meal a day. It was another period of scarcity in a long sequence of protests in, what is in fact, bankrupt Chad since November 2015. Youth are raising their fists against the regime, but they have little power as the oppression is far more powerful. Since a month now the internet has been cut down again. (This research done in Chad from 2014 to now about youth movements/hardship gives more insight.)

Read more: http://www.ascleiden.nl/mirjam-de-bruijn/africas-youth-and-conflicts-sub-saharan-spring

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Sjoerd Hofstra ~ Sierra Leone In The Years 1934-1936.


This category contains photographs made by researcher Sjoerd Hofstra (1898-1983). Most of the photographs were made in Sierra Leone in the years 1934-1936. His daughter, Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, has kindly agreed in making his photographs available with a CC-BY-SA license. Uploading and categorizing was done by staff members of the African Studies Centre Leiden (the Netherlands).

Four boys looking/listening. Sierra Leone, 1935. Collection Hofstra. Panguma (surroundings). Photograph: Sjoerd Hofstra

Seated company and military chapel standing behind, Kailahun May 1934. Front row from left to right: Sjoerd Hofstra, three chiefs, the assistant District Commissioner, the band master, the D.C. of Kailahun, an old English trader, two chiefs and a civil servant.

Panguma. Sierra Leone, 1935. Panguma (surroundings). Collection Hofstra. Photograph: Sjoerd Hofstra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more: https://commons.wikimedia.org/Sjoerd_Hofstra

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Fenneken Veldkamp ~ Farewell Interview With Ton Dietz As Director Of The African Studies Centre Leiden


Ton Dietz, a human geographer, will retire as the director of the African Studies Centre Leiden and as a professor of African Development at Leiden University on 1 September 2017. On this occasion, we did a ‘farewell’ interview with him.

You have been the director of this Centre and a Professor of African Development at Leiden University since May 2010. What was a highlight for you during your directorship?
‘The best highlight – there were many – was the news that Chibuike Uche had been appointed as full Professor at the African Studies Centre, last April. Many things were combined in that: 1) It was the first official Professor we got as African Studies Centre. That was possible because of our successful merger with Leiden University. 2) It’s a subsidy for the next three years from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acknowledging the importance of what the African Studies Centre did and does for the Ministry. 3) The Chair was named after Stephen Ellis. And Stephen Ellis has been our most important, most influential scholar, who unfortunately died in 2015. And finally, it was very important to have a first African Professor as a member of our staff, and a Professor in a very important field: the Governance of Finance and Integrity in Africa. Which makes it clear that the political economy aspects of the study of Africa have become very much at the heart of the African Studies Centre, next to all the other things we are doing. The fact that Chibuike Uche has been appointed to this Chair for me is in fact a dream come true of what I see an African Studies Centre should be.’

In your inaugural address ‘Silverlining Africa’ in January 2011 you were optimistic about Africa, almost in a provocative way. You said:
‘Not long ago, the continent was seen as lagging behind, a sick place full of violence, hunger and disease, and either a threat to world stability or a disposable place to avoid. Now its image has shifted to one of hope, which is making Africa a hotspot in the new geopolitical reality of a multi-polar world.’
In the meantime, we have seen tremendous outbursts of violence, the Ebola virus epidemic and, recently again, millions of Africans threatened with starvation. Has the image, and reality, shifted to that of a sick place again? 
‘As you rightly say: it was deliberate intention to provoke, because so many of the people who dealt with Africa, particularly in the media at that time, were still so much overwhelmed by this negative atmosphere, while the examples of things that did go well or were nice, were just minor experiences. I decided to try to flip the coin. In the 2000s it was already clear that Africa’s economies were experiencing high growth rates, that there clearly was a growing middle class. So it was not a story that was cooked, it was real.

Read more: http://www.ascleiden.nl/farewell-interview-ton-dietz

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Marja J. Spierenburg ~ Strangers, Spirits, And Land Reforms : Conflicts About Land In Dande, Northern Zimbabwe


This book describes efforts by the Zimbabwean government to enforce land reforms on African farmers in northern Zimbabwe. These efforts compounded rather than alleviated the problem of land scarcity for black small-scale farmers, a problem government now allegedly seeks to redress through invasions of white-owned farms. The book describes the similarities between the post-Independence land reforms and those attempted by the Rhodesian regime.

Afrika-Studiecentrum series, ISSN 1570-9310 ; vol. 3

Read the book (PDF): https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/18548

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Roel Coutinho ~ Guinea-Bissau And Senegal 1973-1974


In 2016 professor Roel Coutinho (on Dutch wikipedia) MD donated 752 photographs and slides made by him in the course of his medical work in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal in 1973 and 1974, during the final year of the war of independence waged by the PAIGC (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde) resistance movement against Portugal. The digital images are located in Category:Guinea-Bissau and Senegal 1973-1974 (Coutinho Collection). The physical collection is part of the Library of the African Studies Centre, Leiden (the Netherlands).

The donation includes images of daily life, dance and parties, hospitals, further medical interest, PAIGC soldiers and weapons, open air people’s shops and schools, and pictures of the later first President (Luís Cabral) and later first Prime Minister (Francisco Mendes) of Guinea-Bissau. The metadata for this collection were collected and organised including captions in Portugese by Michele Portatadino, MA African Studies, Leiden University. The photographs were digitized by GMS Digitaliseert in Alblasserdam. Harro Westra did the technological set-up. Hans Muller finalised the upload to Wikimedia Commons using the GLAMwiki Toolset. The project was initiated by Jos Damen and sponsored by the African Studies Centre, Leiden University.

Imam takes care of a leper, Sara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed escort carries the wounded to the Senegalese border

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pounding rice, Guinea-Bissau

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Research Dossier Leiden University: ‘Africa Reconsidered’


Africa is a continent in transition, with developments occurring at breakneck speed. African Studies scholars from different academic disciplines of Leiden University have conducted research for many decades. Their close links with African partners and their emphasis on fundamental research have enabled them to generate insights that benefit both African and Western societies. Leiden University created a new research dossier ‘Africa reconsidered’ on its website, for which many ASCL researchers were interviewed.

Read the new research dossier ‘Africa reconsidered‘ in English.

Lees het wetenschapsdossier ‘Afrika heroverwogen‘ in het Nederlands.

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