Are there old correct movements in Africa?
Five to eight / protest movements in Africa: Anger that gives courage
Two weeks until New Year's Eve. You probably can't wait to kick the bin in 2020. Me too. Only: This year wasn't that bad. In many places it was even encouraging.
Don't worry, I didn't drink or swallow anything to try to gloss over the situation. I only believe that we - wrapped in the medial German loop of RKI numbers, Hard but fair and throwing out unconventional and non-thinkers - miss a lot. There was a lot going on out in the world this year. Also and especially on our neighboring continent.
Not that the prognoses for Africa are particularly rosy. The simultaneity of pandemic (s), climate change and the crisis of the growth model is still heard as a dream of the future for us, in Africa it is a reality. In addition, there is a political backlash in many countries. Corona came as if called to some heads of state to harass civil society or to organize a questionable re-election.
Feminist revolt against killer squads
Which would be of encouragement. Because the anger against old, incompetent patriarchs is growing, the demand for a halfway functioning community grows louder, the protest is more creative, the political demands are becoming more radical in the best sense of the word. Examples?
Here are two of my personal favorites for 2020:
First the Feminist Coalition from Nigeria, an association of women entrepreneurs, bloggers and IT developers. At the beginning of October, young Nigerians once again took to the streets against a special unit of the police, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which for years had been shooting young men like a killer squad for "suspiciously" expensive clothing or smartphones would have. The protests would probably have fizzled out this time too, had the Feminist Coalition not organized ambulances, food, protective masks (against corona and tear gas), legal aid and an emergency call center for the demonstrators with a global online donation campaign.
#EndSARS became a mass movement across ethnic and religious rifts and shook the country up, the police unit was disbanded, but it was about more: a state that gives its citizens accountability. Happy end? No. We're not in Hollywood here. The protests have largely stalled after an army massacre with at least twelve dead demonstrators.
Activists have had their passports confiscated or their accounts blocked. But there are now discussions on the Internet about the establishment of political parties, campaigns for electoral reform and the mobilization of young voters, and ways out of the dramatic social inequality in the country. And the Feminist Coalition has also initiated something: the networking between a civil rights movement in the global North and the global South, between Black Lives Matter and #EndSARS. This has not happened since the days of Martin Luther King Jr.
Climate activism at twenty past twelve
Second place on my list: Power Shift Africa (PSA). Not an NGO, nor a protest movement, but a think tank in Kenya's capital Nairobi. power stands here above all for energy generation. PSA's young scientists advise Africa's still small climate protection groups, reveal where words are followed by deeds in the energy transition in African countries, where cheating or lying is being done. PSA founder Mohamed Adow recently had a few clear words for the West.
Adow comes from a community of cattle herders in northern Kenya whose herds are being decimated due to climate change and the increasing frequency of droughts. For his relatives, it is not two to twelve in terms of climate policy, but twenty after. He does not find it particularly comforting that politicians in the USA, Europe and China are being gripped by the urgency of the climate crisis as long as foreign banks and energy companies want to finance CO2 polluters in his country.
PSA is part of a coalition of conservation groups that have been blocking the construction of a gigantic coal-fired power station on the Kenyan coast for years. A few weeks ago, Chinese and American investors finally withdrew from the project, to which one can call out "Merry Christmas" from the bottom of their hearts.
I could drag you further through the world of our African neighbors - to the Sudanese democracy movement, which is currently fighting for the survival of its revolution alongside the climate and corona crisis. Or to the anti-corruption protests in Mali this year. The point is: here in the mild, mid-latitudes of Europe, we are just getting a delicate foretaste of what it means to stand on shaky ground and deal with uncertainty and three and a half crises at the same time. Before our view of Africa comes together again completely on refugee boats and migration protection, it is worthwhile to take a closer look and listen to the neighbors. Maybe one or the other can be learned.
In this sense: Happy Holidays - even if they will be much bitter this year.
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