This course examines the quest for justice in Africa from three perspectives:
The first is the historical quest for redress against injustice done to Africa by outsiders such as slavers, colonists, and their beneficiaries. For this, we shall examine the history of South Africa and the place of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in securing justice for victims of Apartheid. We shall also consider the question of reparations for Atlantic slavery.
The second perspective will involve the quest for justice when Africans perpetrate injustices on each other. For this, we shall examine instances where redress is sought through international agencies such as the International Criminal Court as well as cases where local institutions are created to deal with questions of justice in post-conflict situations such as in Rwanda, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We shall pay particular attention to the ongoing “Situation of Kenya” in the ICC wherein prominent politicians are being arraigned for crimes committed in the aftermath of the contested elections of 2007, which resulted in widespread violence, deaths, and displacement.
The third perspective will focus on the question of how ordinary people in Africa seek justice in their everyday lives in the context of legal systems, often inadequate and incompetent, deriving from the colonial ear that often do not recognize their problems as questions of justice and where “traditional” courts of justice struggle for legitimacy. Our principal interest in this regard will be on popular demands for redress against “witchcraft.”