Homophobia in Africa

Human rights are indivisible and the precondition for any true democracy. The right of any human being to choose their identity, including interpretation of their own gender, and thus to diversity and non-conformity in general, is equally important. Whether the rights of marginalized or minority groups such as homosexuals are protected is therefore a good test of the democratic nature of any nation.

Homophobia is a global problem. 80 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, mainly in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, and homosexuality carries the death penalty in several countries (mainly in the Middle East and Africa). Read more of this post

The power of land administration: Zambia

Land is a very important means of subsistence, status and identity for many Africans.  But due to the power politics of both the colonial and post-colonial periods, where the issues of land administration and domination have figured prominently, many African countries have ended up with a very uneven distribution of land ownership. Zimbabwe and South Africa are obvious examples that are relatively well reported in the news. Less well known, however, is the case of Zambia where land distribution has proven equally problematic. Read more of this post

Pre-colonial Africa

Before Africa was colonised, the continent was characterised by a large degree of pluralism and flexibility.

The continent consisted not of closed reproducing entities, equipped with unique unchanging cultures, but of more fluid units that would readily incorporate outsiders (even whites) into the community as long as they accepted its customs, and where the sense of obligation and solidarity went beyond that of the nuclear family. Read more of this post

Democratisation in Swaziland must come from below

The repression and persecution of the democracy movement in Swaziland has increased. “Repression in Swaziland has historically come in waves, and the appointment of the acting Prime Minister was a message to the democracy movement that it would be increasingly pressurised”, says Morten Nielsen from Africa Contact.

On the positive side, there has been a attitudinal change in Swaziland that can be seen in the strikes by 10-20.000 women in the textile industry in 2008, as well as in the of the steady progress of the democracy movement.”These strikes violate all gender and cultural norms in Swaziland”, says Morten Nielsen, “and the democracy movement is gathering strength. The regime is worried”. Amongst other things, this change in attitude is due to the increasingly repressive nature of the regime and because the Swazi economy is “in free fall”, he claims. Read more of this post

History and politics in Swaziland

Swaziland, the last autocratic monarchy in Africa, is a country in an almost constant state of crisis. The repeated human rights violations and harassment of the Swazi democracy movement by the Swazi regime, the huge inequalities between a small Swazi elite and the poor majority, and an Aids prevalence rate of over 40% should make newspapers and governments around the world react. Read more of this post