Wednesday, April 02, 2014

New Edited Book by Ridwan Laher and Korir Sing’Oei: Indigenous People in Africa

Book Overview:
Decolonisation in Africa did not lead to an era of extensive restitution of land to indigenous peoples whose ancestral homelands were forcefully seized by European colonialists. Since independence most African nation-states have failed to remedy the ongoing dislocation of indigenous communities. Instead the view adopted - either through express policy or benign neglect - is that the imperatives of a modern developmental state is incompatible with the recognition of indigenous property systems. Consequently, most post-colonial African states actively block or stifle claims of past appropriations while asserting contemporary land grabs. This undemocratic injustice is manipulated by 'new' political and economic elites in much the same manner - and often with the same violent outcomes - as it was during the era of European colonisation.

This is the troubling context of indigenous life in post-colonial Africa. It was against this backdrop that the decade-long struggle for recovery of Endorois land in Kenya ensued. Though that struggle continues, what is significant for indigenous rights in Africa and elsewhere is that the Endorois case led to a groundbreaking decision by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). The decision provides a critical and provocative space to evaluate the place and meaning of customary based property rights systems in Africa.

The Endorois case establishes a new and vibrant continental narrative on the relationship between the post-colonial African nation-state and indigenous peoples. This space will no doubt prompt reflective discussions about the character and content of the post-colonial nation-state: its developmental aspirations, the context and substance of indigeneity and indigenous rights, the role of ancestral land and natural resources, the purpose of culture and language preservation, gender equity imperatives, environmental conservation, democratic representation and citizenship, among others.

This volume is an attempt to provide this intersectional and reflexive space.  The thinking behind the book began in Lamu in mid-2010. It was a time when growing community resistance emerged towards the Kenyan government’s plan to build a second seaport under a trans-frontier infrastructural project known as the Lamu Port- South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). The editors agreed that a book that draws community activists, academics, researchers and policy makers into a discussion of the predicament of indigenous rights and development against the backdrop of the Endorois case was timely and needed. 
Assembled here are the original contributions of some of the leading contemporary thinkers in the area of indigenous and human rights in Africa. The book is an interdisciplinary effort with the single purpose of thinking through indigenous rights after the Endorois case but it is not a singular laudatory remark on indigenous life in Africa. The discussion begins by framing indigenous rights and claims to indigeneity as found in the Endorois decision and its related socio-political history. Subsequent chapters provide deeper contextual analysis by evaluating the tense relationship between indigenous peoples and the post-colonial nation-state. Overall, the book makes a peering and provocative contribution to the relational interests between state policies and the developmental intersections of indigeneity, indigenous rights, gender advocacy, environmental conservation, chronic trauma and transitional justice.
Table of Contents:
Professor Michelo Hansungule, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.
About the Editors:
Ridwan Laher, PhD, is an independent political consultant and research associate at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa. He is the 2006/07 Nelson Mandela Chair and Professor for African Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India and former chief research specialist at AISA.
Abraham Korir Sing’Oei studied law and international public policy at Nairobi, Pretoria, Minnesota and Tilburg law schools, and is a human rights attorney in Kenya focusing on land and resource rights issues. He is co-founder of CEMIRIDE and co-litigated the Endorois case at the ACHPR.

Ridwan Laher and Korir Sing’Oei

Indigenous peoples as equals under the African Charter: The Endorois Community versus Kenya
Cynthia Morel

Historical development of indigenous identification and rights in Africa
Felix Ndahinda

The Impact of Dominant Environment Policies on Indigenous Peoples in Africa
Melakou Tegegn

Gender and indigenous peoples’ rights
Soyata Maiga

Constitutional reform and minority exclusion: The case of the Bajuni and Lamu county
Paul Goldsmith

Advocacy for indigenous peoples’ rights in Africa: Dynamics, methods and mechanisms
George Mukundi Wachira and Tuuli Karjala

A challenging nexus: Transitional justice and indigenous peoples in Africa
Laura A. Young

The past is never just in the past: Indigenous peoples and a framework for confrontation and redress
Ridwan Laher

Ridwan Laher and Korir Sing’Oei
Price: R285
To Order Contact
Africa Institute of South Africa
P.0. Box 630
Tel: +12 304 9700
Fax: +12 323 8153

Orders Worldwide
PO Box 721
Oxford OX1 9EN
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 58 9756
Fax: +44 (0) 1865 412 341
US Tel: +1 415 644 5108

Comment: It took us much longer than we anticipated and planned but there it is ready for orders and reviews. 



cosmicyoruba said...

Congrats Ridwan. This is an important book and the contents look promising.

Ridwan said...

Slm and thanks Cosmicyoruba.

At the very least we hope that it will deepen the debate/discourse around indigeneity and indigenous rights.

I trust you are well.