Bonny Ibhawoh (McMaster Univ.) and Christian Williams (U. Free State) on historicizing refugees in Africa. Looking at children evacuated from the Biafran War to Gabon and Ivory Coast, Ibhawoh discusses the politics of “refugee” labeling. Williams’s biography of a woman born in a SWAPO camp in exile in Tanzania shows how displaced people are agents of history, not just faceless victims. The interview ends with lessons for refugee crises today.
Professor Amidu O. Sanni (Lagos State University) on his work for the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project and preservation of West African intellectual heritage. He discusses the importance of Ajami sources (African languages written in Arabic script) for historical and cultural analysis and suggests possibilities for future research and training initiatives.
Toyin Falola (History, Texas; President, African Studies Association) on Yoruba history and culture; language policy in Nigeria; creativity and decolonization; forms of community action in “hyper-modern” times; and the meaning of Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election.
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.
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.
Prof. Nwando Achebe (MSU History) on her recent book The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe. Achebe describes key aspects of King (or Eze) Ahebi’s life; reflects on the value of oral history and multidisciplinary methods; and discusses Igbo gender, culture, and power during British colonial rule.