Countdown to the Conference: Disrupting Africa


Disruption is a word I like a lot. Associated with disruption are other words I like almost as much: reinvention, reimagining, remaking, identity, shaping. Disruption, in the context of African development, conjures in the mind a wonderfully striking sense of agency—African agency. By using the word ‘disrupting’, we dare to describe the movements rocking the African continent in various fields—social media, the arts, academia, culture, technology—fields that contribute plenty to identity-shaping of peoples. We see people, every day, trying to craft newer, bolder definitions of themselves. We see them assert their rights with more certitude. We see important conversations on policy taking place in unexpected spaces. We see the reverberation in the responses by government and corporations to what goes on in these spaces—for instance, spaces like social media, or even in song, as with Falz’ This is Nigeria. We see change, or, at least, response. In talking about disruption, we envision the status quo meeting the progressive and we witness the result; the amalgam—usually a cocktail of compromise, adventure, and hope. We have a panel at our upcoming ADF Conference (on 15 March 2019 specifically) on Disrupting Africa, comprising creative writers, academics, activists—all engaging speakers, to dive into what kind of disruptions are occurring in the continent. We hope you’ll join us.

Look out, too, for our upcoming blog series on a Q&A session we had with Nanjala Nyabola on her book Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics in the coming days—a book, in my opinion, that is the epitome of disruption.


Stephanie Wanga

SOAS ADF Blog Editor


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