Author Ben Rawlence (Open Society Foundations Fellow) on his new book: City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. He describes working in Dadaab, Kenya, and discusses Somali refugees’ daily struggles, their personal lives, social relationships, trade, and Islam. The interview closes with reflections on the international dimensions of the conflict in Somalia and prospects for peace.
Susanne Klausen (History, Carleton U.) on the history and politics of women’s reproductive rights in South Africa. Our discussion of race, nationalism, and women’s sexuality focuses on her new book, Abortion Under Apartheid, the first full-length study of the history of abortion in an African context. The interview concludes with an assessment of the present and future of abortion rights in South Africa and internationally.
Ganiyu Akinloye Jimoh (Creative Arts, University of Lagos) on his work in Nigeria as a popular cartoonist, with the pen name “Jimga,” and as a cartoon scholar. Issues discussed include: political aspects of cartooning; visual aspects of the art; language and graphic styles; and the future of cartooning in Nigeria.
Professor Renfrew Christie (University of the Western Cape) on South African advances and challenges since 1994; educational transformations at UWC; his role as an anti-apartheid student activist, exposure of South Africa’s nuclear bomb and subsequent imprisonment, and nuclear issues today.
Lisa Lindsay (North Carolina) on her forthcoming biography of James Churchwill Vaughan—whose life provides insights into the bonds of slavery and family and the differing prospects for people of African descent in the 19th-century Atlantic world. Vaughan’s odyssey took him from slavery-ridden South Carolina to Liberia and finally Nigeria, where he was involved in the Yoruba Wars, led a revolt against white racism, and founded not only the first independent Nigerian church but also a family of activists. With guest host, Laura Fair.
Hikabwa Decius Chipande (PhD 2015 Michigan State) on the political and social history of football (soccer) in Zambia. He discusses becoming an historian; the game’s relationship with British colonizers, the copper mines, and postcolonial governments; and the archival research and oral interviewing process. Chipande concludes with insights from his extensive experience with sport development in Africa.
Menán Du Plessis (Stellenbosch University and U. of Kentucky) on her literary work, research on the Kora! language, and the significance of Khoesan linguistics to southern African studies. Du Plessis also considers digitization efforts and the impact of mass media and the Internet on endangered African languages.
Laura Seay (Government, Colby College) on becoming a Congo scholar; the genealogy and impact of her “Texas in Africa” blog; using Twitter for academic purposes and public discourse; and her book project titled “Substituting for the State” about non-state actors and governance in eastern DR Congo. Follow Laura on Twitter: @texasinafrica