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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.


This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Books & arts

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‘Stokely – A Life’ starts strong, crashes hard

Ahjamu Umi

2014-03-19, Issue 670

The new biography does a great job of demonstrating the intellect, selflessness, commitment and absolute courage that characterized Kwame Ture’s work in the US in the 1960s. But the author fails to research, analyze and critically assess the value of Ture’s work in Africa, whose influence continues to this day.

From Pidgin English to Camfranglais

Review of ‘Camfranglais, A Glossary of Common Words, Phrases and Usages’ (2013) by Jean-Paul Kouega

Peter Wuteh Vakunta

2014-02-12, Issue 665

Kouega’s seminal work, ‘Camfranglais, A Glossary of Common Words, Phrases and Usages’, is a succinct study of the emergence and structure of a new linguistic code in Cameroon—Camfranglais

Zanzibar Revolution revisited: A short review essay

Amrit Wilson (2013), The Threat of Liberation: Imperialism and Revolution in Zanzibar. Pluto Press, London. XII + 175 pp.

Abdulaziz Y. Lodhi

2014-02-12, Issue 665

With its eight chapters and more than a dozen rare photographs of Zanzibar, this book is a well-researched study by a respected author of long-standing. It outlines the dramatic history of Zanzibar and its anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles

Tragedy of a music icon and the shame of a nation

Bashir Goth

2014-02-12, Issue 665

The great Somali musician Maxamad Saleeban Tubeec is ailing in Germany and is in dire need of money to undergo surgery. The Somali people and government should help – for this man’s contribution to the nation is immense

New book points towards a new Swaziland

Peter Kenworthy

2014-02-05, Issue 664

The new book are many more or less thinly veiled criticisms of the fictional Soshangane society - and by extension Swaziland - and the absolute monarchy that controls everything from the economy to the definition of culture

‘Long Walk’ humanises Mandela

But do we lose sight of the man who was Madiba?

Robtel Neajai Pailey

2014-01-08, Issue 660

The movie serves up a series of perfectly punctuated snapshots of the late stateman’s life. But it lacks the kind of psychological depth befitting a man who was larger than life

QUNU, a poem

Charles Mwewa

2014-01-08, Issue 660

The route to time-warmed freedom is still long And is a thousand Mandela’s resilience strong The aura of the splendid Cape Mountains Just lay few metres away from Qunu’s fountains For here, the great’s remains have been buried And here, his scepter of freedom’s is carried In these terrains of bigoted Apartheid, he walked And here, the towering figure of history has talked To a people, but all the people of his homelands For to one brother as to one sister all make bands And here forever the light of the night has risen In his long walk to freedom, injustice has fallen Mourn all nations, if not this peace we butcher For yourselves, not the dead, and your

Colonial languages

Márcio André

2013-11-28, Issue 656

Languages I wish I could talk to you in languages Touch you in Wolof Kiss your body in Lingala Love you in Bambara I wish I could talk to you in my own voices And with my music Those sounds which burn in our soul So, smiling in Chokwe Play with you in Swahili I dream of venting my being In Fula, Mandang And after that, loose myself in the between, in your Yoruba Remember in Umbundo Come in Kimbundo But, oh no, I only speak Portuguese Colonial languages And the post-colonial conditions And freedom? Which language to speak? Which chant to sing? Can silence translate it? Can space contain it? *Translated from Portuguese by Alyxandra Gomes

How NATO hijacked the uprising in Libya for its own purposes

A review of 'Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya', by Horace Campbell. Monthly Review Press. £10.50 (paperback)

Peter Arkell

2013-11-28, Issue 656

There is almost universal confusion, even ignorance, over the true nature of the NATO intervention in Libya two years ago, carried out in the name of protecting the people against their own government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

‘The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the quest to end poverty’

Beatrice Fantoni

2013-11-21, Issue 655

Nina Munk’s ‘The Idealist’ comes with a heavy dose of discomfort. In fact, it’s almost all uncomfortable, all the time. And that’s a good thing if you like ambiguous endings.

A causal model of Chinese exceptionalism: A review of ‘Capitalism From Below’

Chambi Chachage

2013-11-21, Issue 655

Victor Nee and Sonja Opper’s (2012) book on Capitalism From Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China is an ambitious attempt at explaining, theoretically and empirically, the country’s economic miracle. It is also a bold attempt at prescribing a model for replicating such a success in other reforming countries.

The more things change…

Rosa Parks

2013-11-21, Issue 655

Jubilee, freedom, celebration Fifty years to restore, renew, rebuild Union Jack down Kenya flag up Fifty years lost to excuses To lip service not public service To me not we To kneejerk reactions not pro-action To bodyguards not public guards To greed not needs Hallow the fiftieth year Day of Atonement is nigh

Song for Celestine

Natty Mark Samuels

2013-11-14, Issue 654

To Celestine Edwards and to Tower Hamlets Council, for their Black History Walks. PART I I He looked like dignity, The day I saw him speak in Victoria Park. I was sinking in drink, Approaching the brink; The day I stepped out of the dark. Spoke against human trafficking, And enslavement by booze. Made me think again, Regenerating my brain; Like a prophet bringing good news. II Woke up that day in a Methodist Mission, Just another impatient sailor. Heard he'd been a seaman too, Sailing out from Dominica. I'd been drinking excessively again, While waiting for another ship out. Fighting with the feared killer - A yellow fever bout. Walking down Whitechapel Road, Memories of Ira Aldridge. He performed at the Pavilion, Black butterfly on thespian ridge. From whatever part of the Black world, We all had crosses to bear. Ira bore his on the world stage, In Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. III So I wandered around, What else is there to do? When not destination-bound. Past Wiltons the old music hall, Where the actors blacked up; I never sat in a Wilton stall. I meandered amongst the drifters, Africans, Jews, Russians; Chinese, Irish and Lascars. Tramped the many alleys, By West India Docks; Trodding with the ghosts of slavery. Through the streets of migrants and refugees, Choked with frustration; Constructed by poverty. I had too much time to spare, Lashed by loneliness; Trapped in alcohols' snare. IV Waking that day, Seemed like any other. A day to wait, To dissipate, Twenty fours of slow replay. Between the horse and the ass, No one hears the mule bray. We woke, ate and left. Exodus of the ex-men. En route to vomit, Some to pickpocket, Hands swift and deft. Those sagas of survival; Who will talk of the men bereft? Passed by St. Botolphs, Aldgate. Popular amongst us blacks. I should have gone in, Joined in the singing - But I was in a state. Head down I plodded on, Hoping that God would wait. Must have gone east of there - Outside the Ragged School. First schooling for many of us. Children given care, Who'd known wear and tear. God bless you Dr Barnado; Wish I had a penny to spare. Then I found myself before him, Overcome with awe. Never sobered up so quick! Life lost it's whim, Potential slim. I stepped out of the park, A new stride in my limb. PART II I I researched the man, Eager to know of him. Of how he retained dignity, Went onward with his plan. So I asked the temperance people, The abolitionists too. Asked a priest from Cheltenham, A sailor from Newcastle. Spoke with anti-lynching activists, Bought papers he edited. Heard him speak when I could; I knew his itinerary lists. So what follows is what I learnt, Snapshots of a savant. It's good to have a saviour, When you're about to get burnt. II One of nine children Born in Dominica School days in Antigua After Methodist School Stowed away at twelve Time to search and delve As well as Europe To North America Onto it's Southern neighbour And he read and read Role model par excellence For a life not making sense Spoke in Edinburgh In Sunderland as well Chimes of Celestine's bell Then south to London To reside in Bethnal Green Speaking in Glasgow and Aberdeen He continued to lecture Survived as a labourer And a penny pamphleteer III Co-wrote a life story - From Slavery to Bishopric; Life of Walter Hawkins. Evidence of his brilliance, His talents polymathic. Edited two newspapers - Lux and Fraternity. Fought lynching, Alcohol abuse, And state brutality. Preached in Plymouth and Bristol, The 'Negro Lecturer'. One summer in Liverpool, Spoke about the lives, Of Black and White America. In his early thirties, He studied for a degree. Went to Kings College, Of London University; Majoring in Theology. In his mid-thirties, He dreamed of being a doctor: But his body said no. Conquered by exhaustion, Returned home to his brother. Constant lecturing, Teaching of the Bible. The body can only take so much. His dream collapsed; The hope of London Hospital. He passed away in Dominica, Cared for by his brother. As far as I know, He left no child; Neither wife, partner or lover. I remember him as strong in body - That legendary laugh. I eulogise Celestine. Seems everyone wanted him, As a member of their staff. Self-educated man, Who loved to read and read. Man on a mission, Spreading knowledge, The scattering of seed. I put away the bottle, And took up books. I observed the great eagle, Helping others; The starlings and the rooks. Never meant to go there that day, Into Victoria Park. He held his head high, Gently reasoning; Devoid of rant and bark. Celestine, Celestine, I say your name with pride. My great conductor, Who took me on a journey; Who gave me a ticket to ride. © Natty Mark Samuels, 2013. African School.

New book to shed light on India’s Africa policy

2013-10-17, Issue 650

The book, among the few in French, details New Delhi's ambitions in the continent and seeks to make African leaders and public opinion aware of the new “Indian reality” that is currently taking shape in the continent

Exclusive institutional theory of market inclusivity: A review of ‘Why Nations Fail’

Chambi Chachage

2013-10-17, Issue 650

The authors’ bold attempt to provide a theoretical framework for explaining the great divergence in living standards between the prosperous and poor countries in the world, unfortunately, fails to take account of the historical context of uneven relations between particular societies

Infectious mosquito bites and a collapsing giant

Ba Afrika

2013-10-17, Issue 650

In the glaring rays of the Rising Sons and Daughters of the Global Poor and Dispossessed Revealed stinging Infectious Mosquitos On the flesh of an Unjust Marauding and Violent giant As years increased and High levels of Global Deceptions Larceny and Injustices are revealed Attacking Mosquitos multiplied Weakening and overwhelming The giant and its surrogates Till they were no more Collapsed by Mosquitoes Whose bites can only Be healed by Truth Justice and Reparations.

Aspects of highly effective literary translations

A pedagogical perspective

Peter Wuteh Vakunta

2013-10-17, Issue 650

Effective translators must be like the texts they handle — at once bilingual and bicultural. The meaning of a text is to be found within its cultural, historical and literary contexts.

In defense of nationalist historiography of colonialism

Chambi Chachage

2013-10-10, Issue 649

An examination of the nationalist struggles in India and those in Africa reveals a historiography that is splashed with personalities. But these did not simply emerge as elite phenomena

Divided n united

Rosa Parks

2013-10-03, Issue 648

Bang bang bang! Rang out the shots Stand up if you’re Muslim Bang bang bang! Confusion galore Humans were no more Bang bang bang! Rang out the shots On blacks n whites n coloureds On Muslims n Christians n others On rich n middle class n poor On Kenyans n foreigners On males n females On adults n children n the unborn Bang bang boom! The death bell rung Dividing the divided Uniting the divided

Dark Girls: A review

Ama Biney

2013-09-26, Issue 647

‘Dark Girls’ is a much needed candid film to expose the psychological scars of slavery and colonisation on the psyche of African people, scars that exist on account of the global white supremacist paradigm that promotes European forms of beauty

Biko Agozino’s ‘Today na Today’

Chika Ezeanya

2013-08-15, Issue 643

In his new collection of poems in pidgin English, Agozino invests efforts in eschewing the haughtiness, detachment and pretensions of the ivory tower language in order to better address issues the way they are in Nigeria

Is Africa really rising?

Ama Biney

2013-07-31, Issue 641

Is Africa really rising? For whom does it rise? It rises for neoliberal and neo-colonial African governments selling off large tracts of land to outsiders for food or bio-fuel jatropha while their people go hungry and landless Ask the widows of the Marikana miners ‘is Africa rising’ or those in the Unemployed Peoples Movement, Abahlali, or those living in the black townships of South Africa and across the rest of Africa Is Africa really rising for the women and young girls who have been raped in the Congo? It rises for a small African middle class whilst the 99 percent remain in the rural areas as farmers, unable to get subsidies like their European counterparts whose governments intervene on their behalf Africa rises for those with forked tongue who ‘talk left and walk right’ Africa is rising for the charismatic Christian preachers engaging in what they call ‘prosperity preaching’ to congregations obliged to pay one tenth of their miserly wages as tithes so the preacher can wear designer suits from Italy Africa is rising for the continued exploitation of its enormous wealth by MNCs, tax evaders and those who engage in illicit wealth appropriation in a continued (not new) scramble for Africa Africa is rising for a tiny black elite who believe in NEPAD and market fundamentalism alongside their governments committed to such policies Africa is rising for those African women who equate economic freedom with the means to purchase Brazilian and Korean weave, false eyelashes and nails in their aspirations to resemble an African Barbie doll Africa is rising for those few countries who have recently discovered oil: Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast – but will their people say the same in 20 years and not meet the same wretched fate as the peoples of the Niger Delta of Nigeria? Let us not be deceived. Africans can only rise if the vast majority rise in Pan-African consciousness, towards a socially just economic system that destroys neoliberal capitalism and ALL forms of oppression Africans can only rise when we cease self-loathing and return to Ubuntu and self-love African people can only rise in realising this vision.

‘The Hard Road to Reform'

The Politics of Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement, Edited by Brian Raftopoulos

Timothy Scarnecchia

2013-07-31, Issue 641

The authors examine the past four years of the coalition government through diverse critical lenses. There is no sugar coating

Angola wins, but German magazine wonders: Where is Angola?

Safia Dickersbach

2013-06-12, Issue 634

It would be very interesting to find out which hidden agendas "ART" is pursuing with its lopsided coverage of Angola's success in Venice

Adichie’s Americadabra

Biko Agozino

2013-06-06, Issue 633

Adichie appears to be trying to demonstrate that all novels are full of lies but that readers prefer delightful lies to inconvenient truths. That is why novels sell millions of copies while boring scholarly tomes manage a few hundred copies in sales

'Today na today'

Biko Agozino sings from abroad in Naija creole

Emmanuel Boyinta

2013-05-30, Issue 632

With the release of his latest poetry book, entitled ‘Today na Today’, an anthology of poems written in Naija langwej (pidgin English), a waning subsector of Nigerian literature gains a vent

‘The post-colonial state in Africa’

Okello Oculi

2013-05-30, Issue 632

Crawford Young succeeds brilliantly and seductively in inciting a yearning for “another history” of governance in Africa in the last 50 years

Ken Harrow’s ‘Trash: Garbage In Garbage Out’

'If you consider your friend to be an animal he considers you to be shit' (Tshi proverb, Ghana).

Biko Agozino

2013-05-16, Issue 630

‘His detailed plot summaries of the movies in the book are so well written that readers may no longer need to see the films after reading his book’

Where is homeland?

Nick Edgeworth

2013-04-25, Issue 627

The collection of poems tells a story on many levels. It is an autobiographical account of a black child growing up within the private fostering system. But the story extends back to the lives of the poet’s African grandparents and outwards to the experiences of other immigrants to the UK

When artists die...

Okachikwu Dibia

2013-04-18, Issue 626

Upon the death of an artist society loses sorely. But their works provide a continuing reflection on how to refine ourselves

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