The “Arab Spring” should be called the “African Awakening”, said Firoze Manji at the opening session of Africa: Exploitation and Resistance last Saturday.
Firoze is editor of the Pambazuka news website that co-organised the 400-strong conference in Oxford with the World Development Movement.
Several speakers said the spirit of resistance is spreading across the continent. Others said that people in Britain shouldn’t think that aid will solve Africa’s problems—but should talk about solidarity.
Sessions covered topics including fair trade, climate justice and food sovereignty.
A session on African Sexualities was packed. South African activist Sibongile Ndashe pointed out that Western intervention can make things worse for people fighting for LGBT rights. She explained that many ordinary Africans are angry that the West doesn’t act over other issues, like malaria, but makes threats over this.
Dele Fatunla from Nigeria said there are LGBT activists across Africa and Westerners should discuss what to do with them before pontificating on African societies.