The Development Set

Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots
I have traveller’s checks and pills for the trots!

The Development Set is bright and noble
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.


Amilcar Cabral on Decolonization and Culture (and Sudan)

“A people who free themselves from foreign domination will not be culturally free unless, without underestimating the importance of positive contributions from the oppressor’s culture and other cultures, they return to the upwards paths of their own culture. The latter is nourished by the living reality of the environment and rejects harmful influences as much as any kind of subjection to foreign cultures.More

Islam: An African Religion

The history of Islam in Africa is rich, substantial, and full of contradictions. While some would agree that Islam has a large positive heritage in Africa, others would disagree. In either case, it cannot be denied that Islam is now entrenched in many African cultures – almost inseparably – but also has a history of influencing many negative trends and forms of oppression, such as slavery, racism, and sexism. … More

Culture, Religion, and Colonization in Africa

From my personal experience, I interacted with many informed African sisters and brothers – from the motherland and from the diaspora – who really seem to be very conscious and educated of history and social forces, but can’t get beyond the brittle and one-directional view of history when it comes to Africa.

They usually pause the dilemma as such: either Africa had its own history, its own systems of governance, its own culture and spirituality, or we should simply submit to the alienating argument that Africans learned everything through interacting with outside groups.… More

‘Hizbullah’ and ‘Jesus Inside’ on the Road

In Arusha, Tanzania, the Dala-Dala (mini-buses), just like in many African towns, are important members of the urban scene. They weave through the town’s centre and sides, packing passengers to the limit, transporting them from place to place all day. They keep the socioeconomic pulse pumping, the streets noisy and colourful and the urban network tightly connected. Also, as in many African towns, each Dala-Dala likes to distinguish itself by colourful decorations and inventive/witty comments and nicknames, written in large letters on the back of the vehicle.… More

Empathy is a National Duty

“We may not be deceived by the wealth to be seen in the cities of India… It comes from the blood of the poorest… I know village economics. I tell you that the pressure from the top crushes those at the bottom. All that is necessary is to get off their backs.” 
– Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, 1944

People of the centre – in Sudan – are not only unable to understand the suffering of the people of the margins, but are even unable to imagine their own inability to understand.… More

CUSH Manifesto on culture and politics

It is said that Dr. John Garang DeMebior called it, “the most comprehensive treatise of its kind.”

In my previous article I mentioned the CUSH Manifesto briefly, and said that it would be called for to return to it with a bigger summary, within the topic of “the political role of culture”.
“The paper homework of this alliance has been done in what has come to be known as the Congress of United Sudan Homeland (CUSH). In… More

Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Friend or Foe?

The business of national economic development is always multi-faceted with blurry lines, with politics, economics, technology and ecology interacting all the time. There is even a peculiar additional complexity when we deal with strategic national resources such as water. This complexity amplifies when there are other stakeholders to the same resource but outside the national borders. Such, it seems, is the story of the recent Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.… More