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Related Resources - African Political Ephemera and Realia Project

Online Collections

Aluka is a subscription resource (link to UO access) for primary sources related to Africa. Continually growing, Aluka contains “Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa,” a collection of textual and visual material that documents the anti-apartheid and independence movements in the region.

Digital Innovation South Africa is a free collection of material documenting the political struggles in South Africa from 1950 up through the first democratic elections of 1994. There are a wide range of resources in this collection, including poetry, oral histories, sheet music, photographs, posters, and legal documents.

African Posters from the Herskovits Library at Northwestern University is another free resource. The posters document elections in Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, as well as public health issues, liberation movements, and women's rights.

Suggested Readings

For an overview of African politics, Alex Thomson, An Introduction to African Politics (Routledge, 2000; 2nd ed. 2003) provides a thematic approach coupled with specific case studies; the appendix lists multi-party elections in Africa from the independence era to 1999. Those interested in election results should consult Elections in Africa: A Data Handbook, Dieter Nohlen, et al., eds. (Oxford University Press, 1999), which provides not just results, but numbers of registered voters and votes cast, lists of political parties, concise overviews of the political situation, and a bibliography for each country. Matthias Basedau, et al., eds., Votes, Money and Violence: Political Parties and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa (Nordic African Institute, 2007) and Michael Cowen and Liisa Laakso, eds., Multi-party Elections in Africa (Palgrave, 2002) are both important contributions to the study of political parties and elections in Africa.

For material culture studies in Africa, a good starting point is Mary Jo Arnoldi, et al., eds., African Material Culture (Indiana University Press, 1996). Lisa Gilman, “Purchasing Praise: Women, Dancing, and Patronage in Malawi Party Politicking.” Africa Today 48(4): 43-64 (link to UO access) discusses political rallies and the role that compensation (including cloth) plays in party politics in Malawi. Clara Henderson and Lisa Gilman, “Women as Religious and Political Praise Singers within African Institutions: The Case of the CCAP Blantyre Synod and Political Parties in Malawi,” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 8 (2004) 22-40 (link to UO access) provides a cultural context for understanding chitenje and includes images of Malawian women wearing these cloths. Berit Sahlström, Political Posters in Ethiopia and Mozambique: Visual Imagery in a Revolutionary Context (Uppsala, 1990) is an important comparative study of political posters in Africa, while Judy Seidman, Red on Black: The Story of the South African Poster Movement (South African History Archives, 2007) is a survey written by the curator of posters at the South African History Archives.


Last revision: 10/09/2011
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