State institutions in Africa have been unable to address the basic needs of their populations satisfactorily. This is the reason why events like the “bread riots” in Mozambique in 2010, or the immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in 2011, were witnessed, just to name a few.
In such a political and social environment, movements have emerged within the civil society and they stand as vital elements of protest and of construction of spaces for active citizenship.
Framed in various fields, these movements have been able to report both the inaction of the State as well as the action of major economic corporations against the people, namely in the denial of several rights and in the fight against impunity. Thus, they have also been vital in promoting democracy and a critical mass. As so, these movements are decisive for the recognition and guarantee of fundamental rights enshrined in national constitutions that are often unknown to disadvantaged communities.
Social movements act in quite broad playing fields: defense of the most vulnerable groups, insurance of human rights, promotion of decent working conditions, recognition of political minorities or social and economically marginalized groups, environmental conservation, women’s rights, access to health, food, education and land, occupying an increasingly relevant space on the African political and social scene.
These movements that emerged from the midst of the civil society across the African continent are organized in various models and have different dissemination platforms, creating and making use of communication tools for the dissemination of their actions and thoughts, such as local and community radio stations, comic books and popular theater. As dynamic agents, they use new technologies, with special emphasis on social networks and mobile communications, to give more visibility and international reach to their actions. They are synonymous of resilience, but also of change, in constant mutation.
The International Conference “Activisms in Africa” intend to discuss forms of activism and its impact on the process of social change, considering its scope, difficulties and limitations. Proposals for panels to deepen the reflection on the forms of civic activism across Africa will be accepted and must meet the following topics:
- Human Rights Activism
- Activism and Citizenship Exercise
- Environmental Activism
- Gender and LGBTI Activism
- Activism and Peasant Movement
- Activism in Health
- Activisms and Political Regime Change