Hot Spot: Sub-Saharan Africa

Hot Spot: Sub-Saharan Africa

Hot Spot: Sub-Saharan Africa

Hot Spot: Sub-Saharan Africa


The Congo Wars have claimed 4 million lives, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II. Sudan's Darfur is experiencing an ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced millions more. Sadly, these are only two of the many hot spots that mark sub-Saharan Africa.


Most parts of Africa are peaceful. For most of its history, peoples and communities have lived in peace and harmony. Kinships, organized into villages, towns, and cities, sustained themselves on the deliberate strategy of building cohesion, resolving conflicts in a peaceful and amicable way, and preventing long-term hostility that can damage the social fabric.

However, the continent also manifests serious contradictions. To start with, the past is full of accounts of wars and violence. The process of building states, kingdoms, and empires required the use of the military. Once created, the states were successful in maintaining peace and political stability over a wider region. Kings and chiefs must protect their citizens to claim legitimacy and relevance.

The most traumatic moment began with the encounters with the outside world. Whether it was trade across the Sahara, the Atlantic, or the Indian Ocean, all involved the traffic in human beings. Slaves were produced by violence—raiding expeditions and wars resulted in war captives who lost their citizenship and were transported to distant lands. African wars in the age of slavery undermined their humanity, care, and concern for one another. With firearms supplied from Europe, they became more bloody and ruthless than ever before.

The ending of the trans-Atlantic slave trade saw the transition to the European colonization of Africa after 1885. Wars of conquest and wars of resistance were many. Modern Africa was a product of violence and wars. To regain its sovereignty, another moment of crisis ensued after World War II. Anti-colonial nationalism led to the violent Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya and the Algerian War of Independence, both in the 1950s; the prolonged wars in all the Portuguese-speaking colonies in . . .

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