All over Africa, protest movements are emerging. The reason for this is that, despite the economic growth in many African countries, the living conditions of most Africans are not improving. At the same time, democratic principles are being hollowed out across the continent. As a result, thousands of people are taking to the streets of Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Burundi and other countries; they demonstrate, tweet and blog for more democracy, self-determination and against authoritarian governments. Despite significant differences with regard to the background and nature of these protests, they are an expression of a growing legitimacy crisis of African governments and represent frustration with failed promises, the enrichment of political elites and the undermining of democratic institutions.
In Germany, we only hear about such protests when security institutions brutally suppress democratic actors, when demonstrators are shot or tortured – we rarely get to know the background, motivations and aims of the protests.
The Heinrich-Boell-Foundation together with the Deutsche Welle, now offers a rare opportunity to gain first-hand insights into current developments and the backgrounds of protest movements in different African countries. Activists from Senegal and Zimbabwe, together with international experts, will analyse the following aspects:
Who are the people who take to the streets and do not back down in the face of state violence? What are their motives and their visions for a better future in their countries and the continent as a whole? What are their means of expression? Are we witnessing a new “democracy from the streets”? And if so, what does this mean for external democracy support?
After the discussion, you will have the possibility to discuss further with the panellists as well as with other activists from Chad, Ethiopia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Linda Masarira, activist, #21DaysofActivism, Zimbabwe
- Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré, alias Thiat, activist, Y'en a marre, Senegal
- Zachariah Mampilly, Professor of Political Sciences, Vassar College, USA
- Moderation: Dr. Dirke Köpp, head of Deutsche Welle's French for Africa service, Bonn
Note: There will be a Livestream of the event in English and German.
A cooperation of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and Deutsche Welle.