Tebogo Motswetla, a leading African cartoonist from Botswana, on his journey of becoming a cartoonist; the 25th anniversary of his character “Mabijo”; applied aspects of his work; seTswana language dialogue; the creative process, censorship, and freedom of expression.
Abdilatif Abdalla is the best-known Swahili poet and independent Kenya’s first political prisoner. He discusses poetry as a political instrument and as an academic field; publication prospects for African poets; and how poetry enabled him to survive three years of solitary confinement, after which he spent 22 years in exile. The interview ends with Abdalla reciting his poem “Siwati” (“I Will Never Abandon My Convictions”).
With guest host Ann Biersteker.
Pius Adesanmi (Carleton University) on African literatures, public intellectuals, Sahara Reporters blog, social media and postcolonial writing, Yoruba and Anglophone literatures, ‘imposed transnationalism’ in the African literature classroom and ‘What is Africa to me’?
Photo courtesy of Pius Adesanmi
Brett O’Bannon (Political Science, Director of Conflict Studies, De Pauw University) on the causes and consequences of civil war in Côte d’Ivoire; the “Responsibility to Protect” as applied to conflict in Africa ; and monitoring herder-farmer relations in Senegal to anticipate the onset of wider-scale warfare.
Denis Goldberg reflects on his activism, hardships in prison, and the highs and lows of the antiapartheid movement. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1963 in South Africa’s Rivonia trial with Mandela and other leaders. He served 22 years in an apartheid prison. Goldberg’s autobiography is titled The Mission: A Life for Freedom in South Africa.
Dr. Chima Korieh (History, Marquette) on Nigerian experiences on the African homefront during World War II, agriculture and social change in the colonial era, the Biafran War and the politics of memory, and Igbo identity. The interview closes with a discussion of endangered archives in postcolonial Nigeria.
David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History at Emory University, on the making of the Transatlantic Slave Trade database, a landmark collaborative digital project he has co-edited for two decades. Eltis discusses the research process, online dissemination, and new directions for the initiative. This is the second part of a two-part series recorded at the Atlantic Slave Biographies Database Conference at Michigan State University in November 2013.
Paul Lovejoy, Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History at York University, discusses building an international database of biographical information on all enslaved Africans. He outlines this digital history project’s contribution to the study of slavery, race, and broader themes in global history. This is the first part of a two-part series recorded at the Atlantic Slave Biographies Database Conference at Michigan State University in November 2013. (Click here for Jessica Johnson’s Twitter timeline of the conference.)
David Gordon (Bowdoin, History) on his recent book Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History. Gordon explores how and why spirits and discourses about spirits inspired social movements and influenced historical change, from precolonial Bemba chieftaincies and 1930s Watchtower millenarianism to the postcolonial state’s humanism and Pentecostalism under Kaunda and Chiluba, respectively. Gordon closes by noting the effervescence of Zambian studies today. (Note: the interview was recorded via Skype.)
Barry Gilder, South African folk singer and ex-ANC intelligence operative, is the author of Songs and Secrets: South Africa from Liberation to Governance. In the interview, he reflects on freedom songs, exile, and armed struggle. Gilder performs his “Matola Song,” about a friend killed by an apartheid death squad. He ends with thoughts on democratic governance and on the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a think tank he co-founded in 2010.