After five decades of political independence in Africa, there is precious little to celebrate. Compared to its colonial counterparts -- Asia and South America -- postcolonial Africa has underperformed. Some economic and political analysts have gone further and warned about Africa's re-colonization, courtesy of Asia: China, South Korea, and India. The recovery of Asian and South American political economies has seriously placed in doubt the taken for granted notion of European exceptionalism. That said, the causes of Africa's perennial underachievement continue to be debated. Basil Davidson's passing robbed Africa of one of the foremost advocates of the continent's contributions to global history. The unabated ongoing destruction of heritage sites and the underfunding of research in African university and heritage management institutions have seriously marred local research initiatives. Regional studies aimed at understanding archaeological and/or ecological histories and landscapes are few and extremely expensive. Few knowledgeable informants exist to provide credible oral traditions that had such promise in the 1960s and 1970s. Most anthropological archaeologists and historians no longer invest heavily in learning local languages that are necessary for understanding the nuanced natures of lived experiences. The presence of NGOs and missionaries has made disinterested research nearly impossible in
Journal of African Archaeology – Brill
Published: Oct 25, 2012
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