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Achille Mbembe speaking at the African Futures festival in Johannesburg in 2015. (Photo: Lerato Maduna. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut South Africa)

Cameroonian Political Theorist Achille Mbembe Has Won the €100,000 Gerda Henkel Prize for Research

This is the first time an African scholar has won the prestigious German award for outstanding research.

Achille Mbembe, the Cameroonian political theorist, author and educator, is the winner of the 2018 Gerda Henkel Prize.

The 100,000 euro ($116,100) prize is awarded to those conducting outstanding research in science and the humanities. This marks the first time that the German foundation has granted the bi-annual prize to an African scholar, reports Brittle Paper.

Mbemebe was chosen by the foundation for his innovative approach to research on African politics and post-colonial theory, which goes beyond typical analysis, to offer refreshing news ways to think about the future of African society.

READ: Discussing African Futures with Achille Mbembe


A statement from the Greda Henkel Institution reads:

His books "Critique of Black Reason"and "Sortir de la grande nuit", which have also been translated into German are impressive testimonies to a highly independent way of thinking that shapes Mbembe's research throughout and is as critical as it is self-critical. His deliberations on Africa's place in the global order are both controversial and unsettling and have made an enduring mark even far beyond fundamental debates on post-colonialism. They focus attention on "Africa the Lab" beyond all the customary stereotypes and highlight links between colonialism, racism and capitalism that still require a more thorough discussion here in Germany as well."

Mbembe, who is based in South Africa, is known for his seminal book On the Postcolony, which was published in 2002. His latest book Critique of Black Reason, was published in 2013. He is affiliated with Duke University and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

OkayAfrica spoke with Mbembe about Afro-futures and the "decolonization of knowledge" in an interview back in 2015, revisit it here.

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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.

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