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What does it mean for the people to truly govern?

Conflict continues to rage in Sudan, with more than 550 people killed in the fighting between the military government and the Rapid Support Forces. The humanitarian situation is dire, with very little international support and coordination offered. Sudanese people are largely being forced to rely on their own networks and goodwill for survival and escape. Contrasts to the swift humanitarian response to war in Ukraine are being drawn, showing yet again the hypocrisy of the West.

As Sudanese intellectuals like Kholood Khair have pointed out, this mess partly originates in how players like the US overestimated the reform-mindedness of Sudanese generals, rooted in beliefs that the Sudanese were not ready for democracy yet. This belief, a colonial hangover, haunts postcolonial democracy in Africa, where against this playbook the masses are deemed ill-prepared for self-government. Either that manifests explicitly, through authoritarian rule, elite capture of the democratic process, or the outsourcing of delivery to private actors.

Democracy in Africa has never looked more unstable. But this is not because Africans are particularly wayward, but because we inherited capitalist democracy, structured on a logic of competition, accumulation, and power. Rather than seeking answers in the leadership of strongmen or technocratic elites, we must ask and explore: what does it mean for the people to truly govern?

– Will Shoki, deputy editor


The Africanness of North Africa

As xenophobic attacks and anti-black rhetoric ramp up in North Africa, it is useful to highlight (or remember) the fluid, intertwined histories of the Saharan region.

Dancing the Twist in Bamako

Set in newly independent Mali, ‘Dancing the Twist in Bamako’ is neither propagandistically praiseful of socialism nor does it present it through a wholly negative lens.

Where are North Africa’s Jews?

A fascinating new graphic novel sets out to describe the effects of Nazi and collaborationist policies on the inhabitants of French-controlled colonies and protectorates of World War Two North Africa.

With respect

A new film by French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis uncovers how American jazz giant, Thelonious Monk, was disrespected by French media at the end of his European tour in 1969.

South Africa’s crisis of representation

South Africa has had formal democracy for 30 years, but more of its citizens are tuned out of the democratic process.