Africa’s Grand Narratives

As if peace, prosperity, and progress can be wished into being with scented narratives, Afro-optimist narratives such as the “Africa Rising” stories have been zeitgeist in the last few years. A simple Google search of the phrase “Africa Rising”, at the time of writing this article in November 2014, turns up over 21 million references. But irrespective of la chanson du jour, Africa is neither hopeless nor hopeful. It simultaneously carries potential for hopelessness and hopefulness. When it comes to the task of building strong states, citizens and leaders of African countries have a choice to make, of what to carry into the future and what to leave in the dump of history.

A great excerpt from a great piece by Atta Addo over at the London School of Economics. I hesitate to call this a ‘must read’ as it is simply necessary for anyone interested in doing any work “in Africa”.

For more on re-writing the grand narrative of Africa, see a previous post: “How (not) to Write about Africa

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