Editor's note

It has been a momentous week in Sudan: after 30 years in power, President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down. The announcement came after months of ever-growing protests in cities and towns across the country. In a move that's unsettled many, the military has instituted a three-month state of emergency and declared that it will oversee a two-year transitional period to be followed by elections. It has also implemented a night-time curfew which protesters insist they will defy.

Mohamed A. Satti is among those who's been watching cellphone footage from the heart of the protests. And, he writes, all the videos contained one common element: the familiar beat of music. This was to be expected. Sudanese music has always been heavily laden with political rhetoric.

Willow Berridge explores a different aspect of Sudan's protest history - the role that's often been played by the country's academics in challenging unpopular regimes.

For his part, Martin Plaut explains who Omar al-Bashir is, and how he held onto power for so long. And Andrew Edward Tchie examines how ordinary Sudanese finally pushed al-Bashir from the presidency.

Charles Leonard

Arts + Culture Editor

Top Story

Protests against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. EPA

Songs of freedom: the soundtracks of political change in Sudan

Mohamed A. Satti, American University of Kuwait

Songs provided motivation and guidance to protesters in Sudan during their uprising against Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese protesters are demanding the departure of President Omar al-Bashir. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

Academics have shaped Sudan’s political history, and may do it again

Willow Berridge, Newcastle University

Sudan's academics have been instrumental in bringing regime change and negotiating transitions.

Omar al-Bashir: a military autocrat with a shrewd sense of politics

Martin Plaut, School of Advanced Study

Al-Bashir's ability to play a skillful combination of internal and external balancing acts, plus ruthless repression and a divided opposition, kept him in power for three decades.

How Sudan’s protesters upped the ante, and forced al-Bashir from power

Andrew Edward Tchie, University of Essex

Sudanese protesters against al-Bashir's regime have scored an important victory. But there's a long way to go before democracy is restored.

Business + Economy

Why Nigeria’s insecure forests are fertile ground for cattle rustlers

Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo, University of Pretoria

Northern Nigeria's cattle rustling problem is aggravated by the regions ungoverned forests.

Backpackers are worried about using mobile devices in Ghana. Here’s why

Albert N. Kimbu, University of Surrey; Frederick Dayour, University for Development Studies

Backpacking is growing and West African countries such as Ghana need to actively attract them.


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