The book focuses on contemporary African cities, caught in the contradiction of an imperial past and postcolonial present. The essays explore the cultural role of colonial architecture and urbanism in the production of meanings: in the inscription of power and discipline, as well as in the dynamic construction of identities. It is in these new dense urban spaces, with all their contradictions, that urban Africans are reworking their local identities, building families, and creating autonomous communities – made fragile by neo-liberal states in a globalizing world. The book offers a range of scholarly interpretations of the new forms of urbanity. It engages with issues, themes and topics including colonial legacies, postcolonial intersections, cosmopolitan spaces, urban reconfigurations, and migration which are at the heart of the continuing debate about the trajectory of contemporary African cities. The collection discusses contemporary African cities as diverse as Dar Es Salaam, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Kinshasa – offering new insights into the current state of postcolonial African cities. This was previously published as a special issue of African Identities.
Among government officials, urban planners, and development workers, Africa’s burgeoning metropolises are frequently understood as failed cities, unable to provide even basic services. Whatever resourcefulness does exist is regarded as only temporary compensation for fundamental failure. In For the City Yet to Come, AbdouMaliq Simone argues that by overlooking all that does work in Africa’s cities, this perspective forecloses opportunities to capitalize on existing informal economies and structures in development efforts within Africa and to apply lessons drawn from them to rapidly growing urban areas around the world. Simone contends that Africa’s cities do work on some level and to the extent that they do, they function largely through fluid, makeshift collective actions running parallel to proliferating decentralized local authorities, small-scale enterprises, and community associations. Drawing on his nearly fifteen years of work in African cities—as an activist, teacher, development worker, researcher, and advisor to ngos and local governments—Simone provides a series of case studies illuminating the provisional networks through which most of Africa’s urban dwellers procure basic goods and services. He examines informal economies and social networks in Pikine, a large suburb of Dakar, Senegal; in Winterveld, a neighborhood on the edge of Pretoria, South Africa; in Douala, Cameroon; and among Africans seeking work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He contextualizes these particular cases through an analysis of the broad social, economic, and historical conditions that created present-day urban Africa. For the City Yet to Come is a powerful argument that any serious attempt to reinvent African urban centers must acknowledge the particular history of these cities and incorporate the local knowledge reflected in already existing informal urban economic and social systems.
Contemporary Africa is undergoing a period of unprecedented urban expansion, which is throwing up new challenges in the provision of essential services and contentious questions about ownership of urban spaces. This volume explores the interconnections between these processes, whilst avoiding the tendency to forget that cities are also embedded in deeper historical processes that are integral to the framing of entitlements. Histories of migrancy and the creation of urban 'stranger' communities are fundamental in deciding who lives where and what this means, materially and socially. The gated communities that are springing up are often layered across older forms of urban segregation and/or segmentation. Urban water and food supply, the management of urban land claims, inequality and popular culture are closely examined.
Governance has become an important concept in the politics of African development. It is therefore a crucial concept for social science analyses focusing on Africa. In public discourse Africa's future is being shaped by a combination of external interventions backed by African elites who cooperate with the donors, whose understanding of the importance of 'good governance' they share. This groundbreaking book disentangles the analytical aspects of governance from its political and normative connotations. The 'African exception' - the difference in 'development' between Africa and other regions of the South - can be understood by analysis focusing upon the specific forms of governance played out in politics and economics. The perspective of neo-patrimonialism is crucial but not sufficient here. The first section of the book explores African governance in two functional spheres: the political realm and the economic. Section two looks at new areas of governance in Africa: violent social spaces, HIV/AIDS and entrepreneurial urban governance.
From its modest beginnings in the mid-19th century, Dar es Salaam has grown to become one of sub-Saharan Africa's most important urban centres. A major political, economic and cultural hub, the city stood at the cutting edge of trends that transformed twentieth-century East Africa. Dar es Salaam has recently attracted the attention of a diverse, multi-disciplinary, range of scholars, making it currently one of the continent's most studied urban centres. This collection from eleven scholars from Africa, Europe, North America and Japan, draws on some of the best of this scholarship and offers a comprehensive, and accessible, survey of the city's development. The perspectives include history, musicology, ethnomusicology, culture including popular culture, land and urban economics. The opening chapter offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the city. Subsequent chapters examine Dar es Salaam's twentieth century experience through the prism of social change and the administrative repercussions of rapid urbanization; and through popular culture and shifting social relations. The book will be of interest not only to the specialist in urban studies but also to the general reader with an interest in Dar es Salaam's environmental, social and cultural history. James Brennan is a Lecturer in History at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His research interests include nationalism and urbanization in Tanzania, and he is currently researching the historical role of radio and other mass media in East Africa's political culture. Andrew Burton is an Honorary Research Fellow of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, based in Addis Ababa. He has published widely on East African urban culture; and his current interests are the history of youth, urbanization and delinquency in Eastern Africa. Yusuf Lawi is the former Head of the Department of History at the University of Dar es Salaam; and is currently Senior Lecturer in History and Deputy Director of the University's Centre for Continuing Education. He specializes in environmental and social history.
"This is a substantial contribution to the understanding of an important aspect of African Christianity; the place of dreams in daily life, and their significance as interpreted by a representative body of African Christians ..."--Andrew Walls.
This wide-ranging volume presents the most complete appraisal of modern African history to date. It assembles dozens of new and established scholars to tackle the questions and subjects that define the field, ranging from the economy, the two world wars, nationalism, decolonization, and postcolonial politics to religion, development, sexuality, and the African youth experience. Contributors are drawn from numerous fields in African studies, including art, music, literature, education, and anthropology. The themes they cover illustrate the depth of modern African history and the diversity and originality of lenses available for examining it. Older themes in the field have been treated to an engaging re-assessment, while new and emerging themes are situated as the book’s core strength. The result is a comprehensive, vital picture of where the field of modern African history stands today.
Rapid growth, unmanageable cities, urban crisis, macrocephali... The cities of west Africa are no longer ‘plannable’ – at least not using traditional urban development tools. Without negating the importance of participatory processes in city creation, it nonetheless seems crucial to return to city plans and models, to what cities convey, and how they are built. But to understand the city in all its depth and richness, we must also hit the streets. The West African City proposes a dual perspective. At the urban scale, it analyses historical trajectories, spatial development, and urban planning documents to highlight the major trends beyond the plans. At the second level – that of public space – the street is discussed as the city’s lifeblood. By innovating approaches and testing new methods, The West African City offers an unconventional look at Nouakchott, Dakar and Abidjan, the three study sites for this investigation. The city of today, in Africa or elsewhere, must re-examine its many social, economic, cultural, political, and spatial dimensions; for this, urban research has begun challenging its own methods. This book is also the companion of Chenal's MOOC African cities.