Introduction: African Politics since Independence

  • William Tordoff


Africa is a vast and diverse continent, comprising 53 independent states (see Table, p. xx); this number increases to 55 if the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic and the Republic of Somaliland secure international recognition. With only a few exceptions, such as Egypt, Ethiopia and Liberia, these are ‘new’ states: most of them achieved independence in 1960, the annus mirabilis of African independence, or within a few years of that date. To lump these states together and talk about ‘African politics’ is somewhat misleading because there are important differences between them. There is, for example, a wide cultural gap between the North African states and the Black African states south of the Sahara. The geographic and demographic differences are often striking, as witnessed by the huge Sudan and Zaire on the one hand and the tiny Rwanda, Burundi and Swaziland on the other; within West Africa, oil-rich Nigeria — four times the size of Britain and with a population exceeding 100 million — contrasts sharply with the Gambia which, with an area of just over 4000 square miles and a population of approximately one million, was once (in pre-independence days) described as ‘an eel wriggling its way through a slab of French territory’.


Welding Marketing Baran Social Stratification Expense 


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Further Reading

  1. Cammack, P., Capitalism and Democracy in the Third World (Leicester University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  2. Carter, G. M., and O’Meara, P. (eds), African Independence: The First Twenty-Five Years (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  3. Chabal, P., Political Domination in Africa. Reflections on the Limits of Power (Cambridge University Press, 1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chazan, N., Mortimer, R., Ravenhill, J. and Rothchild, D., Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan, 1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Freund, B., The Making of Contemporary Africa. The Development of African Society since1800 (London: Macmillan, 1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Glickman, H. (ed.), Political Leaders of Contemporary Africa South of the Sahara. A Biographical Dictionary (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  7. Hyden, G., and Bratton, M. (eds), Governance and Politics in Africa (Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner, 1992).Google Scholar
  8. Iliffe, J., Africans. The History of a Continent (Cambridge University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  9. Limqueco, P. and McFarlane, B. (eds), Neo-Marxist Theories of Development (London: Croom Helm, 1983).Google Scholar
  10. Randall, V. and Theobald, R., Political Change and Underdevelopment. A Critical Introduction to Third World Politics (London: Macmillan, 1985).Google Scholar
  11. Rosberg, C. G. and Jackson, R. H., Personal Rule in Black Africa: Prince, Autocrat, Prophet, Tyrant (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  12. Sandbrook, R., with Judith Barker, The Politics of Africas Economic Stagnation (Cambridge University Press, 1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tangri, R., Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa (London: James Currey, 1985).Google Scholar
  14. Young, C., Ideology and Development in Africa (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1982).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William Tordoff 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Tordoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Chapel-en-le-Frith, High PeakUK

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