The complex economics of the public domain

Prominent economists (and US trade negotiators) assert that bad things happen when creative works fall into the public domain. They insist that works without owners to shepherd them will become inaccessible, worn out, or mis-used and, therefore, the term of copyright should continue to be extended. Yet, recent empirical studies show that books falling into … [Read more]

From Indian Ocean to African Indian: Through the refracted lens of Capital Art Studio, Zanzibar

What happens when an Indian Ocean past meets an African Indian present in a collection of photographs by Ranchhod and Rohit Oza, family proprietors of Capital Art Studio who together visually captured the worldly place (and centre of the dhow trade and culture) of Zanzibar from 1930 until the present day? My intention with this … [Read more]

A history of Soweto’s Morris Isaacson High School

This project involves writing a history of one of Soweto’s most historically important secondary schools, Morris Isaacson High School. It is a remarkable school in many ways. Not only did it feature prominently in the 1976 uprising but it produced a significant chunk of Soweto’s professional and political elite for fifty years. In spite of … [Read more]

Traditional Authorities and Decentralisation in Southern Africa

The proposed research project is a study of the recent resurgence of traditional authorities in southern Africa. In particular, it examines the time-period since the large-scale territorial decentralisation reforms of the 1990s in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Territorial decentralisation, often promoted and supported by international organisations for development, blew new … [Read more]

Three Paths to Constitutionalism

There are three paths to constitutionalism in the modern world. Under the first, revolutionary-outsiders use the Constitution to commit their new regime to the principles proclaimed during their previous struggle: India, South Africa, Italy, France, and Poland have followed this path. Under the second, establishment-insiders use the Constitution to make strategic concessions to disrupt revolutionary … [Read more]

Local practices and institutions and their relevance for systems of social security. An investigation based on a case study of Senegal, Mali and Gabon .

This project has been built around the premise that by and large the present day social security systems in Africa are failing. Since the ILO and World Bank projects to extend social protection cover have been in effect for the last couple of years in several African countries, what can be done in …. Not … [Read more]

Fear and forgiveness – an Eastern Cape story

The killing of Irish nun and medical doctor, Sister Aidan Quinlan, in the East London riots of 1952 at the height of the ANC Defiance Campaign, is an event that has long been difficult in the telling. Sister Aidan, of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church, lived and worked in the township of Duncan … [Read more]

Peace agreements instead of “amicable agreement”: Consociationalism after civil war

How can democracy and social peace survive in societies divided by race, ethnicity, religion, region, language or ideology? The answer is: only when political elites share power through a package of measures known as “consociationalism”. Unfortunately, most of the political science knowledge is based on peaceful West European democracies. How relevant is their experience for … [Read more]

African Leapfrogging Index to Sustainability (ALIS)

Centre for Complex Systems in Transition of Stellenbosch University and the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics of Lund University are currently developing a regional project on Distributed Renewable Economy for Africa’s Transformation. Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) is supporting the development and implementation of this project through provision of Fellowship as part of … [Read more]

Retrospective and Prospective Reflections on Higher Education in Africa

The paper begins with a historical background attempting to provide an African wide perspective unifying the often fragmented contributions of North Africa, South Africa and the rest of the continent. The 1960s occupy a prominent period in Africa’s effort to emerge from colonial rule, and indeed 18 countries gained independence in this period.  On the … [Read more]