Category: AIF Issue 39

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Creole rising

West Africa: new languages Pidgin and creole emerged to serve trade, but what of their longer-term use and acceptance? By Simon Akam When I lived in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, my house had a collection of books on the shelves on one wall. There were copies of the Sierra Leonean government gazette, for my landlord […]

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Between a rock and a hard place

Swaziland: monarchical abuse Childhood links to the motherland seem to require a certain patriotism, yet the country is troubled by a self-serving ruler By Bheki Mashile From a young age I came to admire the notions of “for God and country” and, of course, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what […]

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Unpacking white privilege

South Africa: race relations When white ‘allies’ want to make a difference will there still be space for their contribution? By Rian Malan The great struggle of my life thus far has been to come to terms with and, if possible, escape the consequences of being white. The need is, of course, particularly acute for a […]

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Re-education for reconciliation: participant observations on ingando

Rwanda: ‘re-education camps’ A Canadian academic is ordered to pay attention, keep quiet and learn the country’s official history By Susan Thomson In the midst of my doctoral fieldwork, the Rwandan government ordered me to undergo “re-education”. I was just over halfway finished when the executive assistant to the minister of local government told me […]

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How inclusive is Rwanda’s reconciliation project?

Rwanda: the official truth The RPF government’s version of history is a tool of power rather than a story shared by all By Filip Reyntjens In 1994 a new government came to power in Rwanda after the country had seen a genocide that claimed the lives of about three quarters of the Tutsi ethnic minority. […]

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Titanic struggle

Nigeria: many identities A country of many ethnicities artificially brought together faces many challenges, not least its own development By Osita Agbu Historically Nigeria was an artificial creation of the British colonial government. It was designed to be exploited for its natural resources to feed the British industrial sector. Peoples of different nationalities in this […]

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Righting wrongs

Morocco: recognising Tamazigh The five-year-old constitution seeks to restore the language, culture and traditions of a marginalised group By Celeste Hicks Although Morocco largely avoided the turmoil seen in other North African countries during the Arab Spring protests five years ago, it did not escape unscathed. A popular protest movement known as the “February 20th […]

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‘Foreigners’ in their own homeland?

Côte d’Ivoire: Ivoirité versus inclusion Citizens must decide whether a constitutional amendment is required to deal with ethnicity and citizenship By Richard Chelin In October 2016 Côte d’Ivoire will hold a referendum on constitutional reforms. While President Alassane Ouattara perceives this as an opportunity to modernise the constitution, opposition party members have condemned the move […]

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Glaring inequality

Africa: market-dominant minorities Though the economies of many African countries are dominated by minorities, politicians often choose to accept the benefits By Brian Klaas Between “Brexit” and Donald Trump, 2016 seems to be a year of political rewards for those who demonise minorities and disparage immigrants. And while the rhetoric has turned ugly—against Eastern Europeans, […]

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Migration, identity and belonging in contemporary Africa

Africa: migration The lived experiences of migrants in Africa tell stories of isolationism and segregation within host countries Africa’s long history of migration and population movements is well documented. Since the pre-colonial era, people have moved across the continent for a range of reasons, including the need to seek protection and a desire for socio-economic […]

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Ethnic conflict in the political marketplace

South Sudan: a brutal war The concerns of the political elite revolve around ‘political budgets’ and the price of loyalty When people organise to fight they often frame the reason, and whom they count as friends or enemies, based on ethnic identities. It’s a useful lens, but it is applied perhaps too often. Ethnicity is […]

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