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Palgrave Macmillan

Contemporary Africa

Challenges and Opportunities

ISBN 9781137438911
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series African Histories and Modernities

The challenges facing Africa today have changed little since the end of colonial rule. Once the optimism that characterized the African struggle for independence dissipated in the 1960s, statesmen of the continent's respective nations were quick to realize how many unsettling issues had developed during the period of European colonial rule. For the most part, these new statesmen focused so much on retaining their political power that they focused little attention and resources to the socioeconomic welfare of their subjects. As a consequence, sixty years after independence, African nations still find it difficult to face a number of challenges: to establish meaningful democratic-governing institutions that could permanently eradicate graft, unwarranted patronage and corruption; to configure self-reliant economies capable of redressing the poverty gap and adapt to the developmental needs of the people of the continent; and to establish concrete social structures centered on the advancement of gender equality, the protection of women's rights, and the promotion of education and healthcare. Many researchers and policy analysts have emphasized the consequences of bad political leadership on the continent, limiting the discussion to one about power and the powerful. This volume shifts the focus to the plight of the powerless, poor, and destitute millions on the continent who continue to search for opportunities despite the accumulated negatives of bad colonial, political, and economic policies. For these millions, the day-to-day challenges of dealing with the negative effects of debt-ridden and corrupt societies, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, population growth and poor family planning, ineffective attention to human and environmental rights issues, and the flight of many of their brightest sons and daughters remain their plight. The collection's strength lies in its approach to contemporary African challenges with a twenty-first-century framework—namely, the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDG)—while also presenting important issues from various African perspectives. Unlike the pessimistic emphasis on corruption and conflict articulated by many scholars, the studies gathered here constitute a more balanced view of African agency, both positive and negative, in the face of global pressures.

Toyin Falola is the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published and edited more than 100 books.

Emmanuel M. Mbah is Associate Professor of History at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. His research focuses on colonial and postcolonial African conflict, identity, and ethnicity as well as the place of Africa in transatlantic and global interconnections.

Introduction: Change and Continuity in Contemporary Africa; Toyin Falola and Emmanuel M. Mbah


1. Mau Mau Inventions and Reinventions; Mickie Mwanzia Koster

2. Race and Social Islands in Kenya's Urban Spaces; Brillian Besi Muhonja

3. The Second World War and Africa's Socio-Economic Infrastructures: a Case Study of the Nigerian Railroad System; Tokunbo A. Ayoola

4. The Cold War and the Emergence of Economic Divergences: Africa and Asia Compared; S. U. Fwatshak


5. Africa's Debt Burden and HIPC Initiative: Cameroon, from Challenges to Opportunity; Augustine Ayuk

6. The Impact of Family Planning Programs on Poverty Alleviation in Cameroon; Consoler T. Teboh

7. Music and the Politics of Culture in a South African Zulu HIV/AIDS Experience: Implications for 'Post-Apartheid' Discourse; Austin C. Okigbo

8. A Parallel Evolution: The Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, Apartheid, and American Civil Rights; Myra Ann Houser

9. The Migration of Professionals from Africa: Assessing the Impact of 'Brain Drain' from the Continent; J K Mapulanga-Hulston

Conclusion: An Africa that Works; Toyin Falola and Emmanuel M. Mbah

Tokunbo Aderemi Ayoola, University of Manchester, UK

Augustine E. Ayuk, Clayton State University, USA

S. U. Fwatshak, University of Jos, Nigeria

Myra Ann Houser , Howard University, USA

Jackie Mapulanga-Hulston, Curtin Law School, Australia

Besi Brillian Muhonja, James Madison University, USA

Mickie Mwanzia Koster, University of Texas at Tyler, USA

Austin C. Okigbo, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

Consoler T. Teboh, Saint Cloud State University, USA


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