African Interest

African Interest

  • A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts by James Copnall

    A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts by James Copnall

    Ksh 3499

    Brief Summary A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts: Sudan and South Sudan's Bitter and Incomplete Divorce. What happened after Africa's biggest country split in two? When South Sudan ran up its flag in July 2011, two new nations came into being. In South Sudan a former rebel movement faces colossal challenges in building a new country. At independence it was one of the least developed places on earth, after decades of conflict and neglect.  The '"rump state'," Sudan, has been debilitated by devastating civil wars, including in Darfur, and lost a significant part of its territory, and most of its oil wealth, after the divorce from the South. In the years after separation, the two Sudans dealt with crippling economic challenges, struggled with new and old rebellions, and fought each other along their disputed border. Benefiting from unsurpassed access to the politicians, rebels, thinkers and events that are shaping the Sudans, Copnall draws a compelling portrait of two misunderstood countries. A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts argues that Sudan and South Sudan remain deeply interdependent, despite their separation.  It also diagnoses the political failings that threaten the future of both countries. The author puts the turmoil of the years after separation into a broader context, reflecting the voices, hopes and experiences of Sudanese and South Sudanese from all walks of life.  

  • The Politics of Trade and Industrial Policy in Africa

    The Politics of Trade and Industrial Policy in Africa

    Ksh 2999

    Brief Summary The Politics of Trade and Industrial Policy in Africa: Forced Consensus? This book maps the process and political economy of policy making in Africa. It's focus on trade and industrial policy makes it unique and it will appeal to students and academics in economics, political economy, political science and African studies.  Detailed case studies help the reader to understand how the process and motivation behind policy decisions can vary from country to country depending on the form of government, ethnicity and nationality and other social factors.  

  • Curse of the black gold by Ed Kashi

    Curse of the black gold by Ed Kashi

    Ksh 5199

    Brief Summary Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. Featuring images by world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi and text by prominent Nigerian journalists, human rights activists, and University of California at Berkeley professor Michael Watts, this book traces the 50-year history of Nigeria's oil interests and the resulting environmental degradation and community conflicts that have plagued the region.  Now one of the major suppliers of U.S. oil, Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world. Set against a backdrop of what has been called the scramble for African oil, Curse of the Black Gold is the first book to document the consequences of a half-century of oil exploration and production in one of the world's foremost centers of biodiversity.  This book exposes the reality of oil's impact and the absence of sustainable development in its wake, providing a compelling pictorial history of one of the world's great deltaic areas. Accompanied by powerful writing by some of the most prominent public intellectuals and critics in contemporary Nigeria, Kashi's photographs capture local leaders, armed militants, oil workers, and nameless villagers, all of whose fates are inextricably linked.  His exclusive coverage bears witness to the ongoing struggles of local communities, illustrating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. The publication of Curse of the Black Gold occurs at a moment of worldwide concern over dependency on petroleum, dubbed by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman as "the resource curse." Much has been written about the drama of the search for oil-Daniel Yergin'sThe Prizeand Ryszard Kapuscinski'sShah of Shahsare two of the most widely lauded-but there has been no serious examination of the relations between oil, environment, and community in a particular oil-producing region. Curse of the Black Gold is a landmark work of historic significance.  

  • Political Parties in Africa Ethnicity and Party Formation

    Political Parties in Africa Ethnicity and Party Formation

    Ksh 4499

    Brief Summary This book examines the effects of ethnicity on party politics in sub-Saharan Africa. Sebastian Elischer analyzes political parties in Ghana, Kenya, and Namibia in detail, and provides a preliminary analysis of parties in seven other countries including Tanzania, Botswana, Senegal, Zambia, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Benin.  Elischer finds that five party types exist: the mono-ethnic, the ethnic alliance, the catch-all, the programmatic, and the personalistic party. He uses these party types to show that the African political landscape is considerably more diverse than conventionally assumed. Whereas ethnic parties dominate in some countries, non-ethnic parties have become the norm in others.  This study also finds a correlation between a country's ethnic make-up and the salience of political ethnicity: countries with a core ethnic group are prone to form non-ethnic parties. In countries lacking a core ethnic group, ethnic parties constitute the norm.  

  • Art of Unlearning by Chief Nyamweya

    Art of Unlearning by Chief Nyamweya

    Ksh 1999

    Brief Summary ART OF UNLEARNING is a masterfully illustrated 130 page graphic novel about a young adventurer known as Gituma, son of the dictator King Ego, who discovers his father’s role in a notorious genocide.  He is unable to outrun his traumatic past and realize his creative potential until he is challenged by three wise teachers who hold the keys to unlock his mind from the past. Unlearning is simply an inverse vision of learning. Whereas the traditional view of learning was about accumulating information, unlearning recognizes the abundance and ubiquity of digital information and therefore emphasizes instead how we can discover our innate potential or passion and share it. Passion is the rocket fuel behind all learning pursuits. Unleashing this energy is the purpose being The Art of Unlearning. To illustrate this better, consider the very delivery of this book to you. It has meant consuming volumes of books and articles on such diverse subjects as: crowdfunding, exponential technologies, spirituality, and the similarities between dark-room photography and ink illustration. It has meant sitting still and integrating remarkable experiences with human beings all around the world. It has meant failing forward and living simply in rural Eldoret with my parents for the many months of creation, a time I cherish all the more now that my Dad is far away recovering from cancer treatment. It has meant appreciating nature. It has also shown me the power of community. Most of all, I ‘found’ my number one crazy nut fan — and the love of my life, Sarah. Passion is the true power of the polymath. In this series of Blog Posts about The Art of Unlearning, I will explore the bliss and inevitable blisters of finding a new learning path for a new generation of digital natives who are negotiating the most transformational period in human history without a map. But wait! We do have a map, dumbo! Comics and graphic novels have been raving for decades about a post-singularity and post-scarcity humanity who having achieved energy abundance, universal connectivity and near-omniscience. Without the arousal of survival anxiety which so animates us at present, how will these beings flower? Will they be a boundlessly creative and generous community untethered from ignorance, disease and war? Science fiction writers have also explored the unsettling potential dangers of making human labour redundant to the goals of capital, as has been done to our environment already.  

  • Businesswomans Fault by Okanga Ooko

    Businesswomans Fault by Okanga Ooko

    Ksh 1599

    Brief Summary Angela Mukami is brand manager at AMMA Advertising Agency, a firm owned by iron-lady Atieno Mary. Thoth comes to her with a cockeyed and odd proposition. Intrigued by the proposal that requires her to betray her boss, Angela lets herself into king-sized load of trouble. Thoth, crippled blogger and genius, has a reputation. As an organiser of grand schemes for the cartel-run Government. And in Nairobi, Kenya, corruption is King. His email marketing monitoring company is a side-show. He has a plan.  He wants to expand his business into a full marketing force and he wants an existing advertising agency to take over. But in his grand scheme, he picks on the wrong turkey. He had swindled his way to fame. He thought he knew the ropes; and women. Maybe he did. But he didn't know Atieno, otherwise he'd have realised that he was just another fly stumbling into the deadly web of a woman who was beautiful to look at; but lethal to mess with. Atieno Mary, too, has a reputation. She is ruthless, strong-willed never-say-die woman who has built her advertising agency from nothing into a million-shilling-making brand. Deep within this desirable woman burns the violent fires that could destroy a man.  So no one messes with her. To begin with, she was born in Eastlands and she still maintains connections with Eastlands’ underworld. She throws the spanner into the works and into a nightmare of intrigue and stark terror as the plot hots up evermore the furious pace, and ends up with an almost underplayed, infinitely deadly double-take climax on the very last page.  Set against the restless background of Nairobi’s corporate world, Businesswoman’s Fault is the story of scandalous corruption and organised blackmail, punctuated by betrayal and gruesome murder, peopled by shrewd businessmen, corrupt Government technocrats, shady conmen and Okang’a Ooko's own particular brand of nasty businesswomen.  Businesswoman’s Fault is a collection of eight stories that zip along at a breakneck speed and points to the reason why Okang’a Ooko has gained such reputation for explosive and non-stop action. He is Kenya’s new master storyteller and his new thriller hits his peak, must be read at a sitting.  

  • Beautiful Shards of the Maiden Pot by Evelyne Ongogo

    Beautiful Shards of the Maiden Pot by Evelyne Ongogo

    Ksh 899

    Brief Summary Evelyne Ongogo is a Kenyan teacher, writer and one of the notable poets today. Her other collections of poetry include: “Dichol and Other Poems” and “The Eye of the Rising Sun.” In this text, Ongogo capitalizes on the use of song tradition and narration to confront, dissect, question, satirize and address various issues in the current social-political and economic dispensation. Such issues include: sexuality, religious hypocrisy and theft, alcoholism, love, modernity, traditions, plight of women and male chauvinism among others. The complexity of these issues, their influence on human character and how we should handle them are presented in 37 long poems in which Ongogo wears different masks to create characters and contexts that matter in her quest to argue her case as a woman, a conservatist, a parent, a believer and a lover. Her anger and critical attitude in most poems define her as a rebel or activist of some sort. It is also important to note that most of these poems are basically versified conversations in the sense that responses to issues raised in one poem are provided in another.  

  • Kisumu by Okanga Ooko

    Kisumu by Okanga Ooko

    Ksh 1599

    Brief Summary Pandpieri, Kisumu. 1970s. Otis Dundos is a shy, awkward and curious kid. In the ‘80s as a man-boy he tries to fit in. But he is more an archetype than flesh-and-blood youth. Performing with Nico Opija and KDF in Kondele gives him a beginning and a journey into music. As guitar student hitting all the required notes, Otis is the haunted genius.  And KDF in Kondele is a training ground for demonology. He is desperate to leave Kondele's dingy clubs to reach for the future. He seems to realize he is not accomplished until he moves to Nairobi. But the cold, cold heart of Nairobi’s nefarious pop culture schools him into becoming a more spoiled artist. Returning to Kisumu with a new band, accompanied by queasy bandmates in the ranks of villainous neer-do-wells, he spirals down into the heart of Kisumu’s darkness, encountering up surging whirlpools of struggle, survival, greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.  How does he wind down the hysteria; somewhat, and make a fairly good case for an extraordinary achievement back-masking in heavy benga music? That’s not the issue, the issue is that as famous as he is, Otis Dundos has more problems than a normal Kisumuan. Providing a catharsis through comedy, lancing the Kenyan lakeside city’s moral boil with satire, KISUMU tells the story of ordinary men and women trying to live the Kenyan African dream. It is a story of humble beginning, awkward and misdirected fumbling and miraculous accomplishment.  

  • Being Maasai Ethnicity and Identity in East Africa

    Being Maasai Ethnicity and Identity in East Africa

    Ksh 2699

    Brief Summary Everyone “knows” the Maasai as proud pastoralists who once dominated the Rift Valley from northern Kenya to central Tanzania. But many people who identify themselves as Maasai, or who speak Maa, are not pastoralist at all, but farmers and hunters. Over time many different people have “become” something else. And what it means to be Maasai has changed radically over the past several centuries and is still changing today. This collection by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and linguists examines how Maasai identity has been created, evoked, contested, and transformed from the time of their earliest settlement in Kenya to the present, as well as raising questions about the nature of ethnicity generally.  

  • Land and Sustainable Development in Africa

    Land and Sustainable Development in Africa

    Ksh 2499

    Brief Summary This book links contemporary debates on land reform with wider discourses on sustainable development within Africa, including chapters and in-depth case studies on South Africa and Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Botswana and West Africa.  The book traces the development of ideas about sustainable development and addresses a new agenda based on social justice.  

  • The History Of Islam In Africa

    The History Of Islam In Africa

    Ksh 3799

    Brief Summary The history of the Islamic faith on the continent of Africa spans fourteen centuries. For the first time in a single volume, The History of Islam in Africa presents a detailed historic mapping of the cultural, political, geographic, and religious past of this significant presence on a continent-wide scale. Bringing together two dozen leading scholars, this comprehensive work treats the historical development of the religion in each major region and examines its effects. Without assuming prior knowledge of the subject on the part of its readers, The History of Islam in Africa is broken down into discrete areas, each devoted to a particular place or theme and each written by experts in that particular arena. The introductory chapters examine the principal “gateways” from abroad through which Islam traditionally has influenced Africans. The following two parts present overviews of Islamic history in West Africa and the Sudanic zone, and in subequatorial Africa. In the final section, the authors discuss important themes that have had an impact on Muslim communities in Africa. Designed as both a reference and a text, The History of Islam in Africa will be an essential tool for libraries, scholars, and students of this growing field.

  • Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy in Kenya

    Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy in Kenya

    Ksh 1099

    Brief Summary The essays presented in his new book, Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy in Kenya, underpin the two basic recommendations that he made to the Building Bridges Initiative. They amplify, illustrate and justify in greater detail the need for Kenya to introduce constitutional reforms at this stage in favour of parliamentary government (as opposed to the current presidential system), and proportional representation in the election of legislators at all levels. On Kenya specifically, the essays touch repeatedly on its immediate post-independence experience that saw the elimination, as elsewhere in Africa, of parliamentary government and its replacement by an autocratic presidentialism, the resistance to one-party rule in the 1990s, the betrayals after the 2002 General Election that were won by Narc, and the electoral crisis thereafter. Lessons in favour of the two basic constitutional reforms are drawn from that diversity of experiences, and theories. Prof Nyong’o is both a statesman and an intellectual. That is a rare combination of skills in Kenya today compared with where the country (and Africa generally) was in the immediate post-independence period. In those days, Africans debated their most fundamental political and economic development policies against the backdrop of the contours of thought charted by their leaders in government or out of it. One thinks of Tom J. Mboya, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkurumah, Leopold Senghor, Dunduzu Chisiza, Frantz Fanon and many others. It became normal for the first generation of African leaders to commit their thought and policy goals to paper and to invite debate. The goals of African independence, African identity, national unity, African socialism, strategies of achieving pan-African unity, economic development, inequality, non-alignment in international affairs — all these were subjected to vigorous public debate. These essays should strengthen the public debate on constitutional reforms now underway in Kenya. In that context, one of the ideas I have fully shared for long with Prof Nyong’o is that of the need to replace the presidential system of government with a parliamentary one because the latter is better suited to an ethnically polarised society like ours. A parliamentary system is no panacea, as he states at one point, but it is far better suited to our politics than the highly divisive majoritarian-based presidentialism.   "

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