The Afrobarometer

Inaugurating our series on digital African projects. We'll document projects working to make more resources about Africa’s past and present available online.

Jubilant crowds listening to the speech of President Nelson Mandela. 10/May/1994. UN photo credit Sattleberger.

A few weeks ago, at the North Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa in Burlington, Vermont, I got a chance to participate in a roundtable on Digital Southern African Studies with Africa Is a Country’s Sean Jacobs.  Sean asked me if I would be interested in starting a weekly series on digital African projects and I (obviously!) accepted.  So, every week, I’ll be discussing a digital project on an African topic, some based on the continent, some based in the United States, some based in the UK; basically, a lot of really cool projects from all around the world that are working to make more resources about Africa’s past and present available for our use! First up is the Afrobarometer.

The Afrobarometer is a great resource for survey data from 35 African countries.  This project has conducted five rounds of surveys since 1999, producing revealing findings about public opinion on issues of key interest to scholars and the general public alike.  Run by a consortium of continent-based partners, including the Center for Democratic Development (Ghana), Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (Benin), Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi (Kenya), and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (South Africa), this project aims to conduct regular assessments of social, political and economic opinions in such a way that public attitudes can be tracked over time and provided to policy advocates, decision makers, journalists, and concerned members of the public.  The best part about this site is the Online Data Analysis, which utilizes survey data in the archive to produce digital visualizations that allow for spatial and content analysis through a simple interface.

Follow Afrobarometer on Twitter @afrobarometer for their latest findings and news about the next round of surveys.

  • Feel free to send me suggestions in the comments or via Twitter of sites you want us to cover.

 

Further Reading

Music is the weapon

During Christmas 1980, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba performed at a concert in Lesotho that deeply challenged and disturbed South Africa’s apartheid regime. The record of that concert is being reissued.

Carceral colonialism

On the United Kingdom’s attempts to finance the construction of large-scale prison facilities in former colonies, to where it wants to deport undocumented migrants.

Fanon’s mission

The works of Frantz Fanon can be read as architectural renderings of rights, futures, and generations toward a “very different Afro-futurism.”

History time

The historical novel is in vogue across the continent, challenging how we conceive of the nation, and how we write its histories.