Vacancy: Film Africa 2018 Festival Producer

Monday, 9 April 2018

Are you passionate about African film? 

We are currently looking for an experienced Festival Producer to deliver this year's Film Africa festival! This is a great opportunity to join the dynamic Royal African Society team! Deadline: Monday, 9 April, 5PM. 

Film Africa is London's biggest annual celebration of the best African cinema brought to you by the Royal African Society. Established in 2011, every year Film Africa brings diverse London audiences a high quality and wide-ranging film programme accompanied by a vibrant series of events, including director Q&As, talks and discussions; professional workshops and master classes; school screenings and family activities; festival awards; and Film Africa LIVE! music nights. The 2018 festival edition will take place in venues across London from Friday 2 – Sunday 11 November.

The Film Africa 2018 Festival Producer will report to the Royal African Society's Deputy Director and will ensure the streamlined and effective delivery of Film Africa 2018. The producer will be responsible for all festival logistics, including the film submissions process, guest travel and hospitality, production of the events programme, print transport and festival reporting. For the full job description and to apply, please visit:

What do the SDGs mean for business in Africa?

Thursday, 22 March 2018 - 6:00pm to 9:30pm

Date & Time: Thursday 22 March 2018, 18:00 – 21:30 

Veue: London Business School, 26 Sussex Pl Marylebone London, NW1 4SA

Tickets: £12 - Please book your tickets by visiting the Eventbrite website

A discussion and networking drinks brought to you in partnership with Dalberg Group and The Africa Club at London Business School

Complimentary tickets for RAS Corporate Members and Partners.


Discussion of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is widespread, across the media, within development institutions, boardrooms and beyond. There is, in particular a growing recognition that the private sector will have an important role to play in achieving the targets underlying the SDGs, both due to the scale of funding required and the increasingly shared view that businesses and private investors have the ability and responsibility to make a difference.

But in many respects, none of this is new. What is different now? What do we really mean when we say that the SDGs create new opportunities for businesses and investors? What are the most forward leaning companies and investors doing, and what is working?

This event, led by Dalberg Advisors and the Royal Africa Society, hosted by The Africa Club at London Business School, aims to bring together business executives, investors, social entrepreneurs and development actors to pierce the veil on the SDGs, go beyond broad-based discussions and start a dialogue about key questions that face investors and businesses with current or potential interests in Africa.

  • How are the SDGs relevant to businesses and investors today and how do we expect them to change the way we need to operate in Africa going forwards?

  • What new opportunities and markets can be opened up by taking an ‘SDG lens’?

  • How do we need to change the way we operate to make these opportunities a reality? What are the risks? What are firms and funds doing and what is working so far?



Welcome remarks: Boko Inyundo‎, Business Development, DLA Piper, and Council Member, Royal African Society 

Keynote Speeches:

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General & Chairman of Smartmatic

Nick O'Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer, CDC Group

Two panels of business leaders and investors include:

Dougie Brew, Director External Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for Africa, Unilever

David Croft, Global Sustainability Director, Diageo

H.E. Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework PhD, Ethiopian Ambassador in the UK

Kate Robertson, Co-Founder of One Young World & Former Global President of Havas

Yemi Babington-Ashaye, Former Head of Africa, World Economic Forum

Jean-Paul Melaga, Co-founder & CEO of Smartphorce

Aly-Khan Jamal, Partner, Dalberg

Geetha Tharmaratnam, Partner, T5 Africa Capital Partners

Karima Ola, Partner, LeapFrog Investments

Tracey Austin, Global Head, Impact Investments, Palladium

Shami Nissan, Head of Responsible Investment, Actis

Christoph Scaife, ESG analyst, Investec

Adesoji Solanke, Co-President, The Africa Club at London Business School

Regional and Grassroots Justice in Africa: Hissène Habré and beyond

Tuesday, 24 April 2018 - 7:15pm to 9:00pm

Date & Time: Tuesday 24 April 2018, 19:15 – 21:00, followed by a reception
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG 

When Hissène Habré, the deposed dictator of Chad, was found guilty of crimes against humanity in 2016, it was described as ‘a watershed for human rights justice in Africa and beyond’. For the first time, a former African head of state had been convicted on African soil.

In this event, we discuss the trial of Habré, the key role played by grassroots activists, and the future of the fight against impunity in Africa.


Celeste Hicks, author of The Trial of Hissène Habré

Thierry Cruvellier, journalist

Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher

JJ Wangui, journalist, Kenya

Chair: Dr Chaloka Beyani, LSE


Copies of The Trial of Hissène Habré (Zed Books, 2018) by Celeste Hicks will be on sale at the event.

Presented in partnership with the International Africa Institute.

Photo: Hissène Habré, © Daniel Simon/Getty

This event is free and open to all but space is limited. Please register your place on Eventbrite.




Africa Writes 2018

Friday, 29 June 2018 - 6:00pm to Sunday, 1 July 2018 - 9:00pm



Africa Writes 2018
Friday 29 June – Sunday 1 July 2018
Venue: British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

Africa Writes returns for an exciting summer weekend at The British Library and Rich Mix London, celebrating the best of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.


We're excited to announce our headline events for the festival, where poetry takes the spotlight with Warsan Shire in Conversation, Yomi Sode’s sizzling performance of COAT at The British Library and Octavia Poetry Collective's Wakanda-themed party at Rich Mix London, plus a whole weekend of African literature joy!
Friday 29 June, 20:00 – 21:00 (doors at 19:30), British Library
Picture this: Nigeria. A grandmother passes. London, a son cooks a pot of stew for his mother hoping to uncover hidden stories and unanswered questions.
Drawing on themes of immigration, identity and displacement, Coat is a one-man show written by poet Yomi Sode which tells honest and emotional story of Junior. Born in Nigeria, he leaves at age 9 and heads to London, leaving behind a life that he loved and is settled in. Whilst cooking up a stew on stage, Sode confronts the difficult realities of growing up in south London as a young man, and the expectations of family, blending poetry and drama in a unique performance style rich with lyricism, humour and hard truths.
Octavia Poetry Collective Presents:Africa Writes 2018 Party
The Year of the Womxn
Saturday 30 June, 20:00 – 00:00, Rich Mix
£10 / £8
Following 2017’s sold out R.A.P Party, Africa Writes returns with the official festival party hosted by Octavia Poetry Collective. Join us for a Wakanda-themed evening of poetry, music and dancing into the night /future where we’ll showcase and celebrate the words, the art, the song of womxn from Africa and the diaspora. Taking their name from the American science fiction writer Octavia Butler and inspiration from Black Panther, Octavia present an evening celebrating The Year of the Womxn featuring art displays, DJs and a line-up of poets - Theresa Lola, Momtaza Mehri, Sarah Lasoye, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Hibaq Osman, Rachel Long, Belinda Zhawi, and Amina Jama, and a speech by special guest Bernardine Evaristo. 
Warsan Shire in Conversation (Sold Out)
Sunday 1 July, 17:30 – 18:45, British Library
£15 / £10
We’re delighted to welcome back Warsan Shire to Africa Writes as our headline writer. Shire is a Somali-British poet and writer based in Los Angeles. Raised in northwest London, her debut pamphlet, 'Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth' (flipped eye publishing) was published in 2011. Since then, Shire was awarded the inaugural African Poetry Prize in 2013, appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London (2014) and selected as Poet in Resident for Queensland, Australia (2014). In 2016, her work was featured prominently in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. She is the first writer under 30 to headline Africa Writes.
Shire’s poetry highlights themes of migration, identity and sexuality amongst others. She also curates and teaches classes around the intersections of art and healing. Shire will join us in conversation with Sheila Ruiz to discuss her work, process and inspiration.
Festival Weekend Pass £18 / £12:
A rich and vibrant daytime programme of book launches, panel discussions, performances, masterclasses, education events, family workshops and an international book fair.
To receive priority booking for headline events, join the Royal African Society:
To be the first to hear about the programme, join the Africa Writes newsletter:
Africa Writes 2018 is supported by Arts Council England, Miles Morland Foundation and hosted and supported by the British Library.

Save the Date: Africa Writes 2018

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Friday 29 June – Sunday 1 July
Brought to you by The Royal African Society

Africa Writes returns for an exciting summer weekend at the British Library celebrating the best of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.

Join us for a rich and vibrant programme of book launches, panel discussions, performances, masterclasses, education events, family workshops and an international book fair.

More info and tickets:


Africa Writes 2018 is supported by Arts Council England, the Miles Morland Foundation and hosted and supported by the British Library. 

















'Dance of the Jakaranda': Book discussion with Peter Kimani

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 - 7:15pm to 9:00pm

Date & Time: Tuesday 13 March, 19:15 - 21:00
Venue: Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Paul Webley Wing, SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Peter Kimani will discuss his latest book 'Dance of the Jakaranda', published by Saqibooks, with Dr Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr (SOAS). Chaired by Dr Chege Githiora (SOAS).
1963. Kenya is on the verge of independence from British colonial rule. In the Great Rift Valley, Kenyans of all backgrounds come together in the previously white-only establishment of the Jakaranda Hotel. The resident musician is Rajan Salim, who charms visitors with songs inspired by his grandfather’s noble stories of the railway construction that spawned the Kenya they now know.
One evening, Rajan is kissed by a mysterious woman in a shadowy corridor. Unable to forget the taste of her lavender-flavoured lips, Rajan sets out to find her. On his journey he stumbles upon the murky, shared history of three men – his grandfather, the owner of the Jakaranda and a British preacher – who were implicated in the controversial birth of a child. What Rajan unearths will open his eyes about the birth not just of a child, but of an entire nation.
Peter Kimani is an award-winning Kenyan novelist. He was one of three international poets to compose and present a poem for National Public Radio to mark Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. A prominent journalist on Kenya’s national news circuit, Kimani’s work has also appeared in The Guardian, New African and Sky News. He teaches journalism at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi, and is presently the Visiting Writer at Amherst College in the United States. Kimani was awarded the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature, Kenya’s highest literary honour, in 2011.
This event is organised in collaboration with the Centre of African Studies, University of London. Contact email:
This event is free and open to all. Booking is required through Eventbrite

ASAUK Biennial Conference 2018

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 - 9:00am to 7:00pm

ASAUK Biennial Conference
Date: 11 – 13 September 2018
Venue: University of Birmingham, United Kingdom 
Our sister organisation African Studies Association UK (ASAUK) will hold a biennial conference from 11-13 September 2018 at the University of Birmingham on the Edgabston campus. The ASAUK 2018 conference will celebrate the diversity and interdisciplinarity of the study of Africa. 
The University of Birmingham’s campus provides the perfect backdrop for the next ASAUK conference. The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (formerly known as the Centre of West African Studies) was  founded in 1963 by J. D. Fage, pioneer in African Studies, and has over 50 years of experience and expertise in research and teaching about the continent. It also houses the Danford collection, a priceless and unique collection of African artifacts and cultural products.
The conference hub will be the Great Hall in the Aston Webb building. With an elegant entrance space, marvelous domed ceiling and an opulent marble foyer and rotunda, this breathtaking venue will be the awe-inspiring backdrop for the conference registration and formal dinner.
The ASAUK 2016 conference at the University of Cambridge attracted over 650 delegates from different academic disciplines and parts of the world. With 202 panels, the programme was extraordinarily rich and varied and resulted in engaged collaboration across the different disciplines that encompass the study of Africa. 
The keynote speaker is Professor Grace Musila, associate professor in the English Department, Stellenbosch University and author of A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour. Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder (James Currey/Boydell & Brewer, 2015).
The conference is a key event for scholars working on and in Africa. At the conference, the ASAUK will recognise and celebrate outstanding scholarship and contributions to the study of Africa with the Audrey Richards Prize for best doctoral thesis in African Studies successfully examined in a British institution of higher education during 2016-2017. The Fage and Oliver monograph prize for best scholarly monograph on Africa published (or translated into English) and distributed in the United Kingdom. The Distinguished Africanist Award for an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the field of African studies. The ASAUK will also award several scholarships to the conference to up and coming African academics.
This conference provides a unique opportunity to connect with hundreds of Africanists, academics with a particular interest in the continent, development specialists, policy makers and others. The organisers are committed to engaging with participants through an energising and informative programme, and facilitating networking opportunities via two dynamic social events.
Find out more about RAS and ASAUK, and about joint membership of both organisations. 
The conference programme will be uploaded in due course on the ASAUK website

Prospects for 2018

Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Nicholas Westcott
So, where is Africa going in 2018? 
The Royal African Society began its year, as always, with a look at the Prospects and Forecasts for the year ahead.  The panel (hosted by the University of London's Centre for African Studies at SOAS) brought together voices from London and the continent - Nanjala Nyabola, a political analyst from Kenya, Sethembile Msezane, an artist from South Africa, Natznet Tesfay, an Eritrean economist based here in London, and the peripatetic Patrick Smith, editor of Africa Confidential. Afua Hirsch, author of BRIT[ish], chaired.
Our (mainly youthful and mainly female) panel focussed particularly on the challenges for youth: the challenge to find space and opportunity for political, economic and cultural expression.  Patrick underlined the big political changes underway in Southern Africa. Changes of leader in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola may not be generational, but they are responding to popular impatience with the old leaders, and public expectations of faster change are high.  Elsewhere, an old generation of leaders are entering the autumn of their careers - in Uganda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali - and others, though younger, have passed their sell-by date - in DRC or Burundi, for example.  They may linger on, but at a cost to themselves and to their countries.  
So we look to this year's bumper crop of elections to help accelerate the process of democratic change in Zimbabwe, Cameroon, DRC, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Mali.  In Egypt it looks like nothing will change; in South Sudan we sincerely hope it does, for the sake of the millions displaced or suffering from the seemingly intractable conflict.  Though the political trends are hard to predict, in several countries, without change there is a growing risk of conflict.
This is reflected in the economic prospects.  Politically stable countries with sensible economic policies look set to grow at over 6%, but those mired in conflict drag the average  for the African continent down to 3.4%.  There is a growing public debt burden which will be increasingly expensive to service and which threatens the funding available for private sector investment, which everybody wants to attract.  Investors are looking, but will be picky.  So while there is cause for optimism, more investment is needed to help create the conditions for growth, especially in soft infrastructure such as education and training.  But they also need to be free to go into business.  But there were different views on encouraging entrepreneurship: some see it as the essential variable to stimulate faster growth and create more jobs.  Others see it as a diversion from the political struggle and a Western recipe wrong for African markets.  But I am not sure what the alternative is?
Culturally, the vibrancy in southern Africa we see in South Africa and Zimbabwe is echoed in both East and West Africa.  But growing numbers of young artists want it to serve a purpose, to highlight the reality of power distortions and the lack of freedom in order to change it.  Art will always have an impact: the question is what impact the artist is seeking.
The view was expressed that if young people cannot find a way to force change in their societies, they will simply leave, they will migrate. So if "the West" wants to reduce migration, help the forces of change, not the forces of "stability".  In practice, though, it is often Western donors who are making the argument for change, and African governments that are saying 'leave us alone and leave it to us...'
We will see how this pans out in the course of 2018.  The RAS, at least, will provide plenty more opportunities to debate the issue - in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, at African Writes and Film Africa, at the ASAUK conference in Birmingham in September, and at a range of smaller, more specific meetings on our agenda. 
We look forward to welcoming you all again as the year goes on.
Nick Westcott

Fully Booked: Zimbabwe after the Mugabe era

Monday, 19 February 2018 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Date & Time: Monday 19 February 2018, 17:15 - 19:00
Venue: DLT, SOAS, University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square London WC1H 0XG


A panel discussion with leading experts to address the current political situation in Zimbabwe after the removal of Robert Mugabe.
Contributions by:
Professor Kenneth Mufuka (Lander University, US) - ‘Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed’
Dr Julia Gallagher (Royal Holloway, University of London): 'The idea of Zimbabwe without Mugabe'
Dr Miles Tendi (Oxford University): 'Human rights & the legacies of violence after Robert Mugabe'
Ms Mandipa Ndlovu (SOAS Mo Ibrahim scholar from Zimbabwe): ‘Operation Restore Legacy’
Chair: Professor Stephen Chan (SOAS)
This event is organised in collaboration with the Centre of African Studies, University of London. 
Watch the stream on Facebook Live.
Photo credit : Aristocrats-hat, CC license

Africa in 2018: Prospects & Forecasts

Monday, 22 January 2018 - 6:30pm to Tuesday, 23 January 2018 - 8:00pm

Africa in 2018: Prospects & Forecasts

London: Monday 22 January 2018, SOAS. Catch up: audio / video

Edinburgh: Tuesday 23 January 2018, University of Edinburgh. Catch up: video

2017 saw some moments of huge significance in Africa. In The Gambia, Zimbabwe and Angola, leaders whose combined years in office amounted to nearly a century finally left power. In Kenya and Liberia, the courts demonstrated remarkable judicial independence around elections. And in countries from Togo to Cameroon to Eritrea – to name a few – citizens demanded change as governments discovered new ways to refuse it and maintain control.

2018 is likely to contain similar pivotal moments. Elections – which have become all the more unpredictable in Africa recently – are due to be held in Sierra Leone, Mali, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and DR Congo. Economically, growth on the continent is expected to reach 3.5% and plans to boost intra-African trade should continue, but progress could be undermined by instability, environmental shocks and fluctuating commodity prices. Conflicts in the CAR, South Sudan and the Sahel stretch on.

Meanwhile, Africa’s young population continues to assert itself not just politically and economically, but culturally. The unpacking and redressing of historical and contemporary violence continues, across film, art, literature and music, where there is an increasing drive amongst the continent’s youth to see their own lives and experiences reflected. This creative energy is, in turn, impacting global culture, where Africans and diasporans are mapping out the kind of continent they envisage for the future.  

Join us for the Royal African Society’s flagship events in London and Edinburgh, delivered in partnership with the British Council, to discuss and debate what 2018 holds in store for the continent.

London: Monday 22 January, 18:30 – 20:00, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS.
Followed by a networking reception. 
Presented in partnership with the Centre of African Studies, University of London
Register - £6 / £10 / Free for RAS members


Sethembile Msezane (artist, South Africa)
Nanjala Nyabola (writer and independent political analyst, Kenya)
Patrick Smith (Chief Editor, The Africa Report & Editor, Africa Confidential)
Natznet Tesfay (Director, Africa Analysis, IHS Markit)
Chair: Afua Hirsch (writer, broadcaster & barrister)

Edinburgh: Tuesday 23 January, 18:30 – 20:00, The Meadows Lecture Theatre (G.07), University of Edinburgh.
Followed by a networking reception. 
Presented in partnership with Edinburgh Global and the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh


Sethembile Msezane (artist, South Africa)
Nanjala Nyabola (writer and independent political analyst, Kenya)
Hazel Gray (Centre of African Studies)
Ritah Namwiza (International Development, Mastercard Foundation Scholar)

Chair: Zoe Marks (Centre of African Studies)


Image: Sethembile Msezane, Chapungu, The Day Rhodes Fell (2015)