African Futures digests analyze and point to external debate on the possibilities of political change in Africa.

September 5, 2012

An African Lysistrata in Togo

On Saturday 25 August in Lomé Togo, a group of female civil society activists from the organization Let’s Save Togo or ‘Collectif Sauvons le Togo’ (CST) called on Togolese women to abstain from sex for one week to put pressure on men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe. The unhappiness with the current president […]

July 12, 2012

Did the June 23 Movement Change Senegal?

During the Arab Spring, the key to toppling oppressive regimes was mass mobilization against leaders like Ben Ali and Mubarak, whose families controlled state resources and institutions. Mass mobilization has rarely functioned this way in sub-Saharan Africa.  Although West Africa has experienced two regime changes in the last three months—in Mali and Guinea-Bissau—both were fostered […]

April 20, 2012

Scholars and Activists Launch “Making Sense of Kony”

The recent “Kony 2012” viral video has highlighted serious disagreement within and between the research, humanitarian, activist, and policy communities over whether the film is to be commended for raising awareness, or criticized for its misleading portrayal of the conflict. Its recommendations have been similarly debated. However, supporters and critics of the film have found common ground […]

March 30, 2012

Rights Groups and Scholars Discuss the LRA

The dramatically successful viral video “Kony 2012” continues to prompt debate within academic, NGO, and activist circles. Supporters argue that the video has helped to raise awareness of a brutal and overlooked conflict; opponents critique the video for simplifying the conflict and misleading viewers on key facts.  In the midst of the debate, several groups […]

March 20, 2012

Challenges to Popular Movements and Change in Sudan

On 4 March, Sudanese police dispersed a group of 100 students protesting in front of the presidential palace. The students had gathered to voice their frustration with negotiations between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, which have failed to address many of the human costs of the July 2011 secession of South Sudan. Particularly […]

March 12, 2012

Critical Reactions to “Kony 2012”

Adam Branch, a Senior Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Uganda, has posted a critique of the recent viral video “Kony 2012” on the UC Irvine-based blog “Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa.” Here’s a brief excerpt: My frustration with the group has largely reflected the concerns expressed so convincingly by those on-line critics who […]

March 5, 2012

In Wake of Unrest, Senegal Heads for Runoff

In a region plagued by conflict, Senegal has a history of robust democratic institutions, stability, and relative economic prosperity, attracting foreign investment and playing a key role in regional peacekeeping. However, an attempt by President Abdoulaye Wade to gain a third term in office has led to unrest and violence in the capital of Dakar […]

February 16, 2012

Police Brutality as Congolese Protest

Today marks the twenty-year anniversary of the 1992 Marche des Chrétiens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a non-violent protest against the authoritarian regime of Mobutu Sese Seko that was violently repressed. Two decades later, the Catholic church picked this symbolic date, Thursday 16 February, as a day of non-violent mass protest against the […]