African Intellectuals: Rethinking Politics, Language, Gender by Thandika Mkandawire

By Thandika Mkandawire

In comparison with Asia or Latin the USA, Africa has skilled a lot larger charges of emigration of its intelligentsia to North the United States and Europe, and common displacement in the continent. This infrequent evaluation of the historical past, destiny and destiny roles explores their courting to nationalism and the Pan African venture; the indigenous language of African intellectuals; girls intellectuals; and the function of the increasing African educational diaspora.

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But somehow, Algerian intellectuals managed to live with them. Technically qualified people were invariably found slots in the bureaucracy or the economic establishment. Critical thinkers could be kept busy ruminating about new problems facing State and society within the limits of acceptable discourse, or at any rate of what was considered acceptable. All university graduates were sure to get jobs, along with the prestige associated with the executiveclass posts set aside for them. As for freedom, well, had not the entire nation just fought for and won that?

In these ‘second thoughts’ on nationalism, some have sought to co-opt Fanon to the project. But Fanon’s critique of ‘bourgeois nationalism’ is itself delivered from an alternative nationalist standpoint. Fanon’s criticism of nationalism never degenerated into the kind of ontological pessimism akin to the Afropessimism of the 1990s. Mkandawire | 2 Others criticized African scholarship for its combativeness and for its ‘victimology’. This position was articulated most eloquently by Achilles Mbembe.

Fourth, academics themselves shared the nationalist ideology and aspirations. This meant that African intellectuals had to make hard choices. 17 In any case, few found the moral case for intellectual freedom in the context where basic freedoms – freedom to live – were severely constrained. The visceral populism of most African intellectuals tended to persuade them to accept, albeit grudgingly, the option that democracy would have to wait. In the ‘developmentalist’ logic it always appeared immoral to ask for freedom to think and express oneself when people were denied basic rights such as the ‘right to food’.

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