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Africa Books

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Book review
Mother Is Gold, Father Is Glass:
Gender and Colonialism in a Yoruba Town

by Lorelle D. Semley, Indiana University Press, Indiana, USA, 2010; 232 pp; hb $70, pb $24.95

Mother Is Gold, Father Is Glass:  Gender and Colonialism in a Yoruba Town

The roles of women can be far more complicated than previously thought, Lorelle D. Semley demonstrates in this study examining the historical and political meanings of motherhood in West Africa and beyond. While in Kétu, Bénin, Semley discovered that in the colonial era women had been treasurers, advisers, ritual specialists and colonial agents, in addition to their more familiar roles as queens, wives and sisters. These women with special influence made it difficult for the French authorities and others to enforce an ideal of subordinate women. As she traces how women gained prominence, Semley, an assistant professor in the Department of History at Wesleyan University in the US, makes clear why powerful mother figures still exist in the symbols and rituals of today's everyday practices.


Grappling with Governance: Perspectives on the African Peer Review Mechanism, ed. Steven Gruzd (Fenele, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2010; 232 pp; pb R195)

De Bamako à Accra. Mobilités urbaines et ancrages locaux en Afrique de l'Ouest by Monique Bertrand (Karthala, Paris, France, 2011; 384 pp; pb €29)

What Is Left Unsaid: Reporting the South African HIV Epidemic, eds. Kristin Palitza, Natalie Ridgard et al (Jacana Media, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2010; 408 pp; pb R195)

Elections et media en Afrique Centrale by Frère Marie-Soleil (Karthala, Paris, France, 2010; 354 pp; €18)

Futures of Technology in Africa by Jasper Grosskurth (STT Publication, The Hague, Netherlands, 2010; 83 pp; free at:

Le Noir et le savoir scientifique de la post colonie à la mondialisation by Augustin Ramazani Bishwende (L'Harmattan, Paris, France, 2010; 100 pp; pb €12, e-book €10.80)

African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices, eds. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Pauline Dongala, Omotayo Jolaosho and Anne Serafin (Fahamu Books and Pambazuka Press, Oxford, UK, 2011; 360 pp; pb £16.95)

Les littératures africaines. Textes et terrains by Virginia Coulon and Xavier Garnier (Karthala, Paris, France, 2011; 497 pp; pb €39)

Century of Change: Symposium on African Unity by Madison A. Evans (Nova Science Publishers, New York, New York, USA, 2011; hb $129; pb $43)

Allahou Akbar. Islam, terrorisme et tolérance by Lansine Kaba (Présence africaine Editions, Paris, France, 2010; 285 pp; pb €23)

Contemporary African Fashion, eds. Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, USA; 2010; 248 pp; pb $27.95)

The Deadly Ideas of Neoliberalism: How the IMF Has Undermined Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS by Rick Rowden (Zed Books, London, UK, 2010; 288 pp; pb £18.99,$34.95)

Land, Governance, Conflict and the Nuba of Sudan by Guma Kunda Komey (James Currey, Oxford, UK, 2010; 272 pp; hb $70)

Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa eds. Emily S. Burrill, Richard L. Roberts, Elizabeth Thornberry (Ohio University Press, Ohio, USA, 2010; 336 pp; hb $47.96, pb $23.16)

Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-first Century: Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution, eds. Mahir ?aul and Ralph A. Austen (Ohio University Press, Ohio, USA, 2010; 248 pp; hb $44, pb $21.56)

Géopolitique de l'Afrique by Philippe Hugon (Armand Colin, Paris, France, 2010; 128 pp; pb €9.80)

Civil Society and International Governance: The Role of Non-State Actors in the EU, Africa, Asia and Middle East, eds. David Armstrong, Valeria Bello et al (Routledge, Taylor& Francis Group, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, 2010; 224 pp; hb $125)

Voyage en postcolonie. Le nouveau monde franco-africain by Stephen Smith (Grasset & Fasquelle, Paris, France, 2010; 336 pp; pb €18.50)

How Africa Works: Occupational Change, Identity and Morality, ed. Deborah Bryceson (Practical Action, Sterling, Virginia, USA, 2010; 308 pp; pb $39.95)

Kamerun! Une guerre cachée aux origines de la Françafrique (1948-1971) by Manuel Domergue, Jacob Tatsitsa and Thomas Deltombe (La Découverte, Paris, France, 2011; 744 pp; pb €25)

L'Afrique noire est-elle maudite? by Moussa Konaté (Fayard, Paris, France, 2010; 238 pp; pb €16.50)