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‘Africa Update’ celebrates 25th anniversary

By Kate Callahan ’14

The Center for Africana Studies recently published the 100th issue of ‘Africa Update,’ its quarterly newsletter with more than 200 contributors worldwide.

“‘Africa Update’ creates a possibility for students and people elsewhere to get access to information about Africa,” says chief editor and Professor of History Gloria Emeagwali.

As founding editor, Emeagwali has a passion for the work that makes ‘Africa Update’ possible. She became the founding director of the Center for Africana Studies in 1993 and recalls suggesting to her colleagues that the new program ought to include an accompanying periodical.

Twenty-five years later, Emeagwali says, “People from all over the world consume ‘Africa Update.’”

The 100th issue includes “two full-fledged articles by two well-known scholars,” according to Emeagwali. Abdul Karim Bangura contributed the article “United States Military Assistance and Support Policies in Africa South of the Sahara: A Quantitative and Exploratory Analysis,” and Confidence Chia Ngam wrote “From Guns to Scripture: The case of the Grassfield Soldiers of North West Cameroon, 1914-21.”

The digital age has allowed for ‘Africa Update’s’ widespread readership. Emeagwali says, “The e-version could not have been possible without the IT department.” She names Haines Brown, Tennyson Darko, Jennifer Nicolette, and Derek Pierce as essential figures in the newsletter’s online growth.

Going forward, Emeagwali would like to see more support dedicated to the production of ‘Africa Update.’

“I am hoping someone will take over and do it,” she notes. “The future editor should be linked up with recognition and compensation. The faculty may have to consider giving credit to the next person. Once that’s settled, we’re good. The future of ‘Africa Update’ is tied up with that. In my case, I could do this for free because it is my passion. I’ve done it happily.”

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