The Hollywood action movie Black Panther captured the imagination of audiences around the globe. In several African countries, it quickly became the highest grossing film of all time. The tale is set in Wakanda, a technologically advanced African kingdom that avoided the shackles of colonialism and slavery by isolating itself behind a guise of poverty and deprivation. Although what it presents as “African”, in terms of narrative and images, is far from uncontested, the film catapulted Afrofuturism – a discipline or aesthetic that enlists science fiction and technology to imagine black identities and futures unconstrained by past and present circumstances – from the avant-garde circles of artists and intellectuals into the mainstream.
The current public debate on African migration to Europe is largely fuelled by visions of boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea, filled with desperate people in search of a better life. The narrative positions Africa as a “continent on the move” whose people are surging into Europe on a seemingly endless tide. Although media images of desperate African refugees fleeing to Europe do portray the daily reality and the often-tragic consequences of the treacherous crossing, the framing conceals more than it reveals.
This edition of Perspectives contributes to the ongoing debate on infrastructure development in Africa by sharing snapshots of experience from around the continent, exploring questions about democratic participation, the role of human and environmental rights, and economic transformation.
Activists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social movements across the world are facing verbal hostility from politicians, new laws and regulations that curtail their ability to operate, and outright violence. Africa is no exception.
When you write about Africa, make sure to always include sad and starving characters, advises Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana in his famously ironic essay “How to write about Africa”, which takes aim at Western prejudices. In the same way that everyday laughter has been excluded from all-too-familiar depictions of the continent, African humour and satire as a form of social and political engagement remains underexplored.
In post-war periods and in the aftermath of serious, systematic human rights violations, gender-based forms of violence are usually forgotten during the processing of the past and reconciliation phase. Yet, only when they are paid due regard can lasting peace processes be established. Given this, it is important to subject transitional justice institutions and approaches to a detailed review. The results: until now, transitional justice has, in many places, failed to address the gender dimensions but increasingly so the issues of inequality, hierarchies and violence patterns.
This study details these problems and presents the resulting challenges facing politicians and society.
Media plays a key part in the democratisation process in Somaliland, vital in efforts to improve all branches of the state and its democratic performance. This publication of papers presented at a 2013 conference on Press Freedom explores the opportunities and challenges of Somaliland's media development.
What frustrations are causing the youth to turn to the streets? How do they mobilise today? Are conventional politics and parties able to attract young people or do they seek alternative ways to engage? How does their political participation manifest? Have they been successful? Are the youth a political force?
What in your opinion is the state of the Somaliland and Somalia talks with regards to its timeliness, Somaliland preparedness, Process transparency, usefulness, the possible scenarios of its outcome? What are the complexities surrounding the Somaliland recognition and the way forward?
The articles in this issue of Perspectives seek to reflect on the extent to which African legislatures have taken steps that mark their shift from being the “weakest link” of government to stronger, independent institutions. In essence, we ask – do African Parliaments really occupy the privileged position accorded to them in representational democracies
The conferences focus was on the conflict resolution progress, and prospects for the Somalia state re-establishment. At the minimum, state re-establishment discussions delved into matters of national security, public service delivery, civil society and public participation in governance processes.
State building is often misrepresented as a technical matter of setting up new institutions then training people to do their jobs. However, establishing a viable state against the background of ethnically charged conflicts and a history of exclusion is a long-term process. It involves cultivating an inclusive political community that transcends ethnic, religious and cultural differences.
The 2009 Annual Conference titled, “Somaliland Facing Challenges of free and Fair Elections”, provided a useful forum to take stock of developments around Somaliland democracy within the previous year. It allowed discussions for Somaliland’s democratization process, the challenges of free and fair elections, and newly emerging issues.
As the six-year transitional period defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement draws to a close, Sudan is sliding into another crisis. The Heinrich Böll Foundation, which has been working both with civil society partners in Sudan and on Sudan-related issues in the German context for several years, has put together this publication in order to reflect on such scenarios.
Since Somalia's central government collapsed in 1991, internal strife and external military interventions resulted in one of the most serious humanitarian disasters of our time. Numerous attempts to make peace and create political stability have failed, but with the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and the election of a new president in January 2009, a window of opportunity has emerged.
As the 21st Century approached, there were various multi-faceted efforts geared towards a critical review of development in Africa. In the spirit of Africa taking ownership and responsibility for her development, there was ambition and optimism expressed in the common question “can Africa claim the 21st Century?”