Which African leaders qualify as an icon? Perhaps this is always a controversial question, but it was much easier to answer, say, 25 years ago, when the public memories of Pan-Africanist champions such as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere were still fresh, Nelson Mandela had just walked out of prison, and Robert Mugabe was a widely respected leader.
Across the world, activists, social movements and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are facing verbal hostility from politicians, new laws and regulations that curtail their ability to operate, and outright violence. Africa is no exception.
Satire may not necessarily change politics but, as most articles in this edition illustrate, it is a powerful tool to undermine propaganda, expose abuses of power, and ridicule cultural and social taboos.
Despite the formal commitment of many African states to universal human rights, the realisation of those rights remains unfulfilled for a great number of their citizens, especially women. Reflections on sexual and reproductive rights in Africa.
While legal entitlements to equality and justice for women have been achieved over the years, a persistent gender-bias in the administration of justice prevents those hard-won successes from becoming a reality. This issue of Perspectives provides insight into some country-specific challenges and controversies.
Women's land rights remain one of the most important sites of contestation in post-colonial Africa. Yet access, control and ownership of land still remain in the possession of the patriarchal structures.