Category Archives: Regio Afrika

Stable instability: renewed turmoil in Ethiopia (part 1)

qilinto-burning1By Jan Abbink    Ethiopia in 2016 is seeing a new round of major turmoil: massive protests and demonstrations have led to severe state repression, with more than 600 people killed by security forces, thousands injured, and tens of thousands arrested (as of September 2016). The story gets somewhat repetitive, as many rounds of political and ‘ethnic’ clashes have occurred in the country since 1991 when the current regime took power.

This time, the protests of masses of unarmed students, youths, peasants and others started peaceful – i.e. there was no agenda of armed insurrection ‘fed by diaspora Ethiopians and foreigners’, as the Ethiopian government likes to assert. But early this month, the protests turned into a full-blown revolt, notably in the northern Amhara Region, populated largely by Amharic-speaking people that have felt regionally and politically marginalized for many years. Continue reading

Pregnancies, high-school drop-outs and personal struggles: The joys of anthropological fieldwork

DSC_0327By Laetitia Simorangkir     Now that I completed my thesis (on care arrangements in South African communities), I can really say that I love anthropology and do research. But there were times I did not like my work at all. In this blog I will explain why.

“Naoko told me that Salma had come to tell her that she was pregnant. Although the women were not related, Naoko seemed to take a parental-role towards Salma.” A fellow student, who reviewed the draft of my thesis, commented on this statement saying that I should explain more about the parent-child relationship: “Don’t leave it end so flatly. I want to hear what happens between them!”. When rereading my field diary, looking for more notes on these women, I realized I did not have that much information about them. And soon I remembered why. Continue reading

African-Americans returning to Ghana: A photo blog

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Plaque on the wall of the W.E.B Du Bois Museum

By Marije Maliepaard            My Master’s research is about African-Americans who return to Ghana after their ancestors got enslaved and brought to the Americas during the slave trade. My research group themselves have not physically lived in Africa before but they do have the feeling they return. A famous African-American and Pan-Africanist who also returned was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was one of the founders of the American civil rights organization for ‘colored’ people, NAACP. Eventually, he settled in Accra, Ghana, but passed away three years later. He is buried next to his former house, which is now turned into a museum. Continue reading

“Playing gives experience” – a fieldwork photo blog

IMG_2368By Tessa Gruijs            For my Master’s research I went to Ghana. In cooperation with a local NGO I got access to a couple of primary schools. There I interviewed and observed many teachers about their experiences with the work of this NGO and their perspectives on (improving) the quality of education.

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The reality of race: fieldwork experiences from Ghana

Millicent, one of the staff members of the hostel where I stayed, and I.

By Marije Maliepaard     Recently my Colombian friend and I were talking about being white in a country like Ghana. I told him I had never been aware of my ‘whiteness’ until I got to Ghana. In reply he said “of course you weren’t aware, you are part of the majority in your country”.

We silently continued our walk along the main road in Accra as I pondered his comment. I broke the silence and said, “It’s not only me being part of the majority but I just don’t see it. I don’t recognize people as being black or white.” He firmly said: “That can’t be true, no one is colorblind! Do you see those people approaching us? You see they are a woman and a man, you also see if someone is black or white.” I thought about it and said: “I don’t register it all the time, when I see people I don’t consciously think that is a man or a woman, or that person is black or white.” He finally saw my point which made me happy because I was starting to think that maybe my views on this differ from the view of others. Continue reading

Teaching-learning materials on ICT in rural Ghana

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Door Tessa Gruijs   During my three months of fieldwork in Ghana for my Master’s research, together with a local NGO I tried to figure out how (future) primary school teachers experience the provision of teaching-learning materials this NGO produces.
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A different kind of pilgrimage

Photograph by Neil Rickards

Photograph by Neil Rickards

By Dimetri Whitfield    The most surprising thing for me about conducting fieldwork is that you encounter all these interesting people that ultimately do not end up in your final project. Alieu Sowe (this is a pseudonym to protect his identity) is one such person. He is Fula by ethnicity, Gambian by nationality, taxi driver by occupation, and refugee by aspiration.

One cool February evening, after his 14 hour work-day, and my 3 hours of writing field notes, we sat down and chatted. Like most 20-something Gambian men, “backway” was on his mind. “Backway” is the illegal method of migrating to Europe, generally via Libya into Italy. He declared, with one index finger pointed to the sky, “by the grace of Almighty Allah, next year I will be in Europe.”  Continue reading

Oerwoudgeluiden

24467799605_04212bc7bf_bDoor Ton Salman            Excuses dat ik er nu pas mee kom; de krantenberichten erover zijn al oud. De kwestie is dat het krantenkaternen betreft waaraan ik meestal geen prioriteit geef. Maar beter laat dan nooit. Het ging over voetbal, en over “oerwoudgeluiden”. Daarop vergastte een nogal onverkwikkelijk voetbalpubliek een zwarte speler, steeds wanneer hij aan de bal kwam. Een manier om een rekening te vereffenen over club-trouw, heb ik begrepen. Ten overvloede: dit gaat natuurlijk om tuig-van-de-richel, tinnef en geteisem. Maar daarover wilde ik het eigenlijk niet hebben. Het gaat me om de term: “oerwoudgeluiden”. Merkwaardig. En meer dan dat: een zeer ongelukkig gekozen term, wat mij betreft. Continue reading

Time to look at girls differently

By Sophie Pape            Are you happy with your life? The way you have constructed it? What if you were born in another country? Would it be the same? It is likely that it will be quite different. Questions like these popped up while watching the documentary Time to look at girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, which was shown by Marina de Regt during the EASA Anthropology of Children and Youth Seminar on 19 November 2015. Since June 2009, this EASA Network organizes monthly meetings, which bring together students, researchers, NGOs and policy makers working with children and youth (www.anthropologyofchildren.net). Continue reading

“On dit…” in Burundi

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Door Myrna Derksen  Een kleine twee maanden geleden verliet ik Burundi, waar ik 2,5 maand veldwerk heb gedaan. Ik participeerde in een onderzoeksproject van UNICEF en de Universiteit van Amsterdam in samenwerking met de Universiteit van Burundi over de intergenerationele transmissie van geweld, in de hoop bij te dragen aan de ontwikkeling van projecten voor kinderen die de vrede in het land sterker kunnen maken. In de tijd dat ik daar was liepen de politieke spanningen helaas alweer op.
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