The national question in Africa: international imperatives

W. Soyinka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an impassioned plea for political reform in Africa, this essay questions whether the concept of 'nation-being' is really applicable to territories ruled by dictatorial regimes. Without democracy, many African 'nations' are little more than a gambling space for the opportunism and adventurism of power. Furthermore, as in the concrete case of Nigeria, repression strengthens ethnic identity and encourages separatism. The risks of virulent ethnic conflict in Africa - and elsewhere - might be lessened if regional conferences were called to debate the national question openly, and to redefine (where necessary) both the external boundaries and the internal political realities of conflict-ridden societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


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