G. A. BALASHOVA
Candidate of Philological Sciences
Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: African Studies, Days of Africa in Sweden, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences
On October 20-24, 2014, in Falun, Sweden (near Stockholm), the Center for African Studies hosted the "Africa Days" that have been celebrated here for the past ten years.
The Center for African Studies, formerly under the patronage of the History Department of Dalarna University, was recognized in January 2014 as a separate, autonomous division with the right to defend master's theses - the only center of its kind in Sweden. Admission of future master's students takes place on the basis of higher education in their country. Now it has become paid for citizens of the European Union and the United States. The number of students varies from year to year - from 30 to 45. The staff of teachers is about 20 people.
The Falun Center cooperates with the African Institute (Uppsala, Sweden), and its partners are the universities of Bologna (Italy) and Oulu (Finland).
The organizer of the forum held during the "Days of Africa" with the participation of foreign Africanists was Prof. Lare Berge, Director of the Center and Head of the Department. master's degree program. On his initiative, scientists from Africa (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda), as well as from Finland, Italy, Canada and Russia were invited. The total number of participants was more than 80 people.
Among the topics discussed were gender trends in multilingual Africa, famous women in the history of Ethiopia, women writers as a phenomenon in the development of African literature (Ethiopia and Nigeria), the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa, etc.
I especially remember the speech of Prof. Tekesta Negash (Ethiopia) on outstanding women in the history of Ethiopia. The list is headed by the Queen of Sheba, who ruled in Ethiopia in the pre-Christian period*. Another is Taitu Bytul, the wife of Emperor Menelik II (1889-1913), for whom he even built a new capital, Addis Ababa. She had the gift of political foresight. It was she who, surrounded by the emperor, expressed fears that leaving the Italians territories on the Red Sea coast would create a permanent threat to Ethiopia. These concerns, as the future has shown, were justified.
Prof. Irma Taddia of the Elders-
* According to legend, the Queen of Sheba, having heard about the wisdom of King Solomon of Israel, decided to visit him in Israel. As a result of the love that flared up between them, the queen gave birth to a son, who was named Menelik. When the son grew up, he was crowned and proclaimed king of Ethiopia. So, according to legend, Menelik became the founder of the Solomon Dynasty.
University of Europe-Bologna (Italy), a partner university of the Falun Center, presented a report on " The Challenges of decolonization: Italy and the Horn of Africa", touching upon many issues of concern to the African continent.
A number of presentations addressed educational issues: "Conditions for education in multilingual Africa" (Prof. A. Vedin, Dalarna University), "Ethnicity, language, gender and education: the case of Kenya" (Assoc. J. Kemuna), "Higher education in Côte d'Ivoire" (Dr. Adou Atta), etc.
Others addressed environmental issues, including Geoff Grishaw (Canada) and Holger Weiss (Finland) on environmental changes in northern Ghana, and Dr. Stefan Norrgaard (Finland) on climate change in West Africa.
Interest was aroused by the report of Dr. Celestine Kayonga (University of Rwanda)"Declining fertility in Rwanda: finding causes". It should be noted, however, that the reasons were never established.
The author of this review also spoke at the forum. Her report focuses on women who have been most prominent in the field of literature, particularly in Ethiopia.
Unlike the literature of recent times, which was written in Amharic and some other autochthonous languages, works of deep content in English began to appear. And they are written primarily by young women who left Ethiopia for serious socio-political reasons and live in the United States.
A prominent figure in literature was a young Ethiopian woman, Maaze Mangystu, who published her novel "Beneath the Lion's Gaze "(New York, 2010). The novel focuses on the period of tyranny and despotism, the "red terror" of Mangystu Haile - Mariam, which forced the entire family of the writer to leave their homeland forever.
The novel by another young writer - Rebecca Heile "Held at a distance. My rediscovery of Ethiopia "(U. S. A., 2007) is dedicated to deep nostalgic experiences of the native country (which left it for the same reasons as Maase Mangyst), despite the favorable circumstances of life in the United States.
As a gift to the Center (which has a huge library), the author gave several of her books, including in English: "Drama in modern Ethiopian literature and theatre "(Moscow-SP6, 2012) and " Ethiopian Literature (in Amharic) (Moscow-SP6, 2014).
Given the urgency of the issues discussed at the forum, the participation of scientists from Africa, Europe and North America, and a fruitful and frank discussion, it seems appropriate to continue cooperation between Russian Africanists and the Falun Center for African Studies.
Permanent link to this publication:
LSweden LWorld Y G