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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 615: Fighting FGM, freeing Mali and the pursuit of justice

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

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Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Books & arts

Highlights from this issue

Due to an unforeseen technical problem, we were unable to publish Pambazuka News on Thursday, January 31, 2013. The inconvenience to all our subscribers and readers is sincerely regretted.

The Editors


Mali: African solution to an African Problem

Omoyele Sowore of SaharaTV interviews Prof. Horace Campbell on the crisis in Mali

Horace G. Campbell


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The jihadists in Mali are a real threat to freedom, peace and security in the country and region. But French military intervention will not solve the problem. The regional bloc ECOWAS must take the lead in the search for a political solution.

Eliminating the scourge of female genital mutilation

Recent successes inspire hope

Ruth Njeng’ere


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A world without FGM is within sight. But more efforts are needed to ensure worldwide legislation against the practice and increased education to attain that goal.

Free Imam Baba Leigh and Ba-Kawsu Fofana

Imam Baba Leigh disappears, Ba Kawsu exiled

Alagi Yorro Jallow


cc K N
Religious leaders and journalists are being persecuted in the Gambia under the dictatorship of President Jammeh. Yet, they have critical roles to play in cultivating a positive culture of understanding, harnessing the energies of citizens towards social and economic development in the genuine interests of the greater good

Will Ramaphosa make a difference in ANC?

William Gumede


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Whether Cyril Ramaphosa, the new ANC deputy president, can make any difference in the troubled ANC government will depend heavily on how much power, support and freedom President Jacob Zuma, gives him.

America in default of its creed for racial equality

An open letter to President Obama

Justice for Blacks


cc G S
In the quest to end racial discrimination at the World Bank, Justice for Blacks presents an open letter to President Obama beseeching him to honour in deeds the promissory note that the founding fathers of America issued in 1776 that all people are created equal and should receive equal treatment

MLK, the national football league and the dearth of black head coaches

Judson L. Jeffries


cc Z F
Until the ranks of the head coaches and upper management in the US National Football League have been thoroughly integrated, Dr. King’s dream will remain a work in progress

For workers, a thinner slice of pie

Farooque Chowdhury


cc Kevin
In a global examination of the survival of capitalism in crisis, the recent International Labour Organisation report shows that workers globally continue to be extremely exploited and capital continues to exact greater profits for the minority whilst finding new ways to justify this heinous system

Clan federalism tears Somalia apart

Mohamud M Uluso


cc A W
Clan politics, rivalry and hatred have ruined the social bond, moral principles and trust among Somalis who share a language, culture, territory, history and religion. Now, three political manifestations - secession, clan based federalism and a unitary decentralized political system - divide them and are an obstacle to the recovery of the lost nation.


February 2013 Issue of the Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter


The February 2013 issue of the Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter is now available: Please help us distribute it, and consider contributing in the future. You can also like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter!

Comment & analysis

West is taking people for imbeciles

Belgian MP stands up against war in Mali and exposes neo-colonial plot

Laurent Louis


In this candid and charged speech to parliament, the Belgian MP condemns the West’s growing military interventions and regime destabilization under the pretext of preventive war on terror. The real agenda is capitalist plunder.

The Taliban of Timbuktu

Karima Bennoune


The war in Mali is not just about preventing terrorism; it’s a fight to defend a secular, tolerant society

Why the fight in Mali is needed

Stefan Simanowitz


Following disastrous occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is public anxiety around British military involvement in Mali. Concerns centre not just on the dangers and cost but also on possible ulterior motives and potential unintended consequences.

African regional organizations: Contributions to the debate on re-positioning

Jeggan C. Senghor


Numerous initiatives have been set up to catalyse development in Africa over the decades. One of the oldest is the Economic Commission for Africa established by the UN over 50 years. There is hardly any evidence of ECA’s impact. It needs revamping.

Nigerian politicians and the craze for recognition

Uche Igwe


Why are Nigerian politicians so obsessed with awards when most of them have nothing to show in terms of quality service delivery to the citizens who elected them?

Why President Biya’s Vision 2035 is a pipedream

Samba Tata


In slightly over two decades, Cameroon is supposed to be an emerging economy with a vastly better quality of life for all citizens. But at present the government is not doing the right things to achieve that goal.

Advocacy & campaigns

Constitution emboldens citizens to take part in budgeting

George Jaramba and Salim Changani


Fahamu is carrying out a participatory budgeting project in two counties in Kenya. In Kwale at the Indian Ocean coast, citizens are in the process of drawing up budgets for their priorities in public spending

Jailing of Somali journalist and alleged rape victim a blow to fighting sexual violence

Office of the United Nations High Commisssioner for Human Rights


Journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, who did not even publish any article based on his interview, was jailed for one year along with Lul Ali Isman, the young woman who had alleged she had been raped by members of the security forces

Rights violations follow government directive on refugees

Lucy Kiama


Many refugees and asylum seekers have complained about arbitrary arrest and harassment by security officers

Who are we? What do we want?

Statement of the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity on identity and resistance

Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity



This statement was delivered at a public education forum organized in response to a comment made Dr. Rinaldo Walcott who was one of the panelists at the event.

Rinaldo Walcott is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. His areas of specialization are cultural studies and cultural theory; queer and gender theory, and transnational and diaspora studies. He is the author of Black like Who?: Writing Black Canada and the editor of Rude: Contemporary Black Canadian Cultural Criticism. (See video)


The Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity (NPAS) called this public education event because we believe that identity matters. As Afrikan people, our individual and collective identities are consequences of our history.

We cannot speak of Afrikan history without speaking of the ways in which the Western/colonial world has tried to interrupt it. For this reason, topics of enslavement and ongoing colonial violence remain heated discussions. Tonight, we encourage fruitful discussions on these things in relation to how we understand ourselves as Afrikan people. We also want to share NPAS’ vision of Afrikan identity and struggle.

We believe that as Afrikan people, our identities matter because they are shaped by rich naming practices, creation stories, ethics, relation to the land and traditions of liberatory struggle, resistance and celebration and revolution.

Our identities matter because they reach across the oceans and borders that separate us to find a global oneness. Our identities matter because out of diversities in sexuality, gender, gender identities, ethnicity, age, producer class status and ability. We remain a single people.

Our identities matter because they continue to survive and facilitate the lives and experiences, as well as organizations and liberatory strategies and tactics, which we build in opposition to and that imagine and move beyond the violence inflicted by enslavement, genocide, global colonialism or imperialism and capitalism.

Our identities matter because our history expresses a tendency towards and necessitates anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-heterosexist politics.

Lastly, our identities matter because, being shaped by the present world and the foundation of the past, they have equipped us with the insight, courage, inspiration and imagination necessary to create the liberated and just future.

NPAS asserts that our identity as Afrikan people informs our histories of liberatory struggle, resistance, survival and achievement. In the present stage of the struggle, we view the parallel institutions of enslavement and colonial genocide as running counter to our transformative conceptions of the world. These institutions have attempted to divide our people; to sever us from our Indigenous homelands and values; to make us ashamed of our Afrikaness ; and to instigate internal violence and rivalries.

But these institutions of domination have also offered us instructive lessons. From enslavement and genocide we’ve learned that a world shaped by white supremacy, labour theft and exploitation, sexual violence, environmental warfare, and state violence is one that seeks to destroy us and the broader humanity. Therefore, we stand in permanent opposition to this world. We continue to survive in spite of the forces that oppress us. We strive to recognize and resist all forms of oppression, including those in which we remain complicit.

We endeavour to root our identities within the legacy of revolutionary ancestors, histories, people, and ideologies. The preceding approach to liberation will ensure our active, careful[3], and successful resistance to and healing from colonialism, capitalism, white supremacist doctrine, and all forces of oppression that disconnect us from our personhood.

In short, if who we are is Afrikan people, then what we want is the full and complete emancipation of our people - a liberation that necessitates and entails the liberation of all peoples. This orientation is the foundation for both the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity and the approach to Pan-Afrikanism through which we continue to organize, resist, and reaffirm our value as Afrikan people.


[1] Delivered at the “Who am I? What am I doing?: Identity, Pan-Afrikanism and White Domination” public forum at the University of Toronto (Canada) on January 19, 2013.

[2] Members of the working-class and peasantry and the revolutionary petty bourgeois who have committed Cabralian class suicide and become one with the people.

[3] Not simply in the sense of 'cautious/prudent', but also in the sense of 'with care' - it is absolutely indispensable that we strive to learn to care deeply enough about liberation to live for it, whether or not we're ready yet to talk about those things and people we're willing to die for. we'll die someday anyway, and until then there's work to do.

Books & arts

Africa and the drug problem

Review of ‘Africa and the War on Drugs’ by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig/, (London: Zed Books 2012)

Lansana Gberie


The undoubted merit of this book is in its providing of historical depth to understanding the drug menace. But readers should beware of the danger of substituting one’s irritation with some of the awkward policies of western governments with concern for the African predicament.

African-Caribbean Communist defied racism, sexism and class oppression

Review of ‘Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment’ (2011), edited by Carole Boyce Davies, Ayebia Clarke Publishing (241 pages)

Abayomi Azikiwe


This book makes a tremendous contribution to the literature on left, feminist and Pan-African struggles during the 20th century

Fahamu - Networks For Social Justice

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