To relate the global crisis to Africa’s sustained socio-economic oppression entails exploration of the key mechanisms of domination, including trade and debt. But it is important first to forthrightly address the broader dynamic of Africa’s apparent trajectory of self-destruction.
The starting point is, necessarily, the grounding in development politics gained by communities, women, youth, workforces and churches on the one hand, and on the other, by nationalist political parties that still rule or strongly influence most African states (albeit sometimes merely as the media for the transmission of Washington-think). The contemporary context is the brutal socio-economic, gender, ecological, youth, public-health and disability crises that rack Africa.
Widespread Afro-pessimism – exemplified by banal, victim-blaming argumentation in an issue of The Economist, which entitled a cover story in mid-2000 ‘The Hopeless Continent’1 – should not allow the fading from memory of 1950s–90s struggles for national/racial/social justice. For in virtually all the anti-colonial projects of Southern Africa, and indeed the rest of the continent, could be found rhetorics of human dignity and promises that a fully fledged citizenship would be provided at independence. There was recognition of the simultaneous need to capture the state and nurture participatory democracy, ...