The Woman King is more than an action movie – it shines a light on the women warriors of Benin

Reading time: 6 minutes
The Woman King is a big-budget Hollywood movie that has been anticipated since 2018, when US star Viola Davis was announced as the lead in the story of the “amazons” of Dahomey. Rising South African star Thuso Mbedu also takes a key role in the film, which has premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is heading to cinemas worldwide.

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The R1 – South African Bush Rifle

Reading time: 9 minutes
In the wake of the rise of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 and the USA’s litany of rifles during the Cold War, South Africa needed a modern automatic service rifle. After trialling several different guns, the South African government settled on the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle. As a result, the “Rifle R1” was born – the bush gun of Southern Africa.

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What lies behind the war in Tigray?

Reading time: 7 minutes
At the core of the current war between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front is the realignment of politics and the contest for political hegemony. In my view, it is about Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed allying with the Amhara to destroy Tigrayan power. This is an attempt to consolidate his position and that of his Amhara supporters.

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Under what conditions are international sanctions effective?

Reading time: 7 minutes
According to US government data, 32 sanctions regimes are currently in effect. Canada, for its part, currently imposes sanctions on 20 different states and on terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. The EU is currently implementing sanctions against some 30 countries and international actors. As for the United Nations, since 1966, the Security Council has put in place 30 sanctions regimes, from apartheid South Africa to Gaddafi’s (and according to him) Libya, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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1742 map of Berbice River with plantations.

Reckoning with slavery: What a revolt’s archives tell us about who owns the past

Reading time: 6 minutes
During the revolt, former slaves organized a government and controlled most of the colony for almost a year. The Dutch either fled altogether or holed up on a well-fortified sugar plantation near the coast. A regiment of European soldiers sent from neighboring Suriname mutinied and joined the rebels they had come to defeat. But obligated by treaties, indigenous peoples such as Carib and Arawak fought on the side of the Dutch. The revolt ended when the rebels, out of food and arms, were overpowered by enemies who had received an infusion of men and supplies from the Dutch Republic.

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The Anglo-Zanzibar War: The Shortest War in History

The story of the shortest war in history begins with a treaty between colonial powers. In 1890, Britain and Germany signed the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty which secured spheres of influence in East Africa. Germany was given control of mainland Tanzania, while Zanzibar fell under British control. 

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Imperial Overconfidence: The Anglo-Zulu War

For a fine example of overconfidence during the height of British Imperialism, look no further than the Anglo-Zulu War. Fought in the late 19th century after the invasion of Zululand, the British Empire faced a far greater challenge than anticipated, resulting in what has been dubbed one of the bloodiest wars of the period. During […]

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The Two Countries That ‘Escaped’ The Scramble for Africa

The Scramble for Africa is often recognized as the beginning of colonialism and European Imperialism. Beginning in 1884, the scramble brought most of the African continent under European control, barring two countries – Liberia and Ethiopia. However, debate continues over whether these regions truly escaped colonialism as they grapple with the same colonial legacies that […]

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Africa’s World War: The Congo War

Reading time: 5 minutes
5.4 million people died in the deadliest war in modern African history. Yet, the event remains overlooked and understudied. A spill over war resulting from the Rwandan Genocide, fighting continued between the Hutu and Tutsi people, backed by Uganda. The First and Second Congo Wars caused the largest loss of life that has occurred since World War 2.

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Taking back the Homeland – Ethiopian Guerrillas in World War II

Guerrilla warfare played a huge role in World War II. Partisans in France, Yugoslavia, the Eastern Front and the Philippines have much written about them. Vitally important but lesser known were the Abyssinians (Ethiopians) fighting to eject the Italians from their country. By Ellen Rubin. Control of East Africa was essential to the Allies as […]

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