Africa Week 2020

Africa Week celebrates the University’s engagement across the African continent. Africa Week takes place 26 - 30 October 2020.


Africa Week runs from 26 - 30 October and celebrates Edinburgh's connections to the region.

It encourages collaboration between our different communities, seeks to address current issues and asks important questions of the past, present and future.

This year's events focus on the theme of movement, including travel, online movements and campaigns, forced movement and the exchange of knowledge.

Learn during Africa Week how to make the move to study abroad, what it’s like to move to Edinburgh for the first time, how Covid-19 has affected movement across the continent, and how we, as a university, can provide the tools for the continent’s future movers and shakers.

All of the events are online and free to attend. A full programme can be found below.

Click on the event to be taken to a full description with booking link.

Study Abroad: Scholarship Application Panel

  • When: Monday 26 October, 4pm - 5.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

Are you an African looking to study a postgraduate degree abroad? This helpful session includes panel discussion on the student experience of studying abroad and top tips for applying to scholarships in the UK and the US. We will also focus on what the expectations of are of funders, with top tips from representatives of scholarship programmes you may be applying to. With some major scholarship deadlines just around the corner, this could make the difference to your application.

This event is convened by Dr Rama Dieng, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development and Programme Director of the MSc Africa and International Development at the University of Edinburgh. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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The Journey to Edinburgh: Ekasi podcast – LIVE

  • When: Monday 26 October, 7pm - 8pm
  • Where: Zoom

Join African students from the University of Edinburgh as they bring us a one off special live edition of the Ekasi podcast. Launched earlier this year, the student hosts have invited a number of guests into the Ekasi studio (recorded before lockdown!) to bring us tales of travel and relocation. This edition will also showcase some of the events in the rest of Africa Week.

This Ekasi podcast is presented by Julian Mashinagidze and Geofrey Njovu, supported by Blossom Kafumbata and Jesse Jedidia, with invited guests. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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The African Union's Role in the Global Order

  • When: Tuesday 27 October, 2pm - 3pm
  • Where: Zoom

On several fronts the African Union (AU) has advanced innovative responses to some of the world's most pressing issues. During the COVID-19 pandemic the AU and its specialised health institution, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), launched coordinated action to support member states. This included using regional collective negotiating power to secure more financial resources, setting up a pooled procurement mechanism, and supporting member state efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19.

On peace and security, the AU and its recognised regional economic communities (RECs) often take leading roles in ending violent conflict in their spheres. Some RECs, such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are increasing their work in peace and security whilst others, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have played pioneering roles for years. Meanwhile, the AU has negotiated with the United Nations (UN) on complementarity issues and designed new ways for the regional and international actors to cooperate on peace and security issues.

The global order is transforming and moving away from great powers, a trend that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to speed up. This talk, delivered by Dr Kathryn Nash from the Political Settlements Research Programme, will explore how the AU has previously contributed to the global order and how it might help to shape transformations going forward. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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Illustrating the shift of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa

  • When: Tuesday 27 October, 4.30pm - 5.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

During the coronavirus pandemic, TIBA Partnership researchers in Edinburgh and Africa have been at the forefront at both national and international levels in undertaking cutting edge research on frontline health workers, and contributing to the production of high quality, high level policy briefs for African governments.

Join us as we showcase the various work being undertaken across the Partnership on the COVID-19 situation in Africa, including supporting COVID-19 diagnosis through genome sequencing, capacity building, organisational aspects of fieldwork, and a weekly update on the COVID-19 situation for the WHO Africa Region.

Presentations will be given by Dr Miriam Njoki, Dr Seth Amanfo, Mrs Fiona Scott and Mr Alistair Morrison. The session will start with a short video, highlighting the breadth of TIBA’s work in Africa. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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Spotlight: Voices of Movers and Shakers – a new Teaching Matters blog series

  • When: Wednesday 28 October, 2pm - 3pm
  • Where: Zoom

Teaching Matters in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Edinburgh launches a new blog series featuring Scholars’ reflections on their experiences of activism, campaigning and influencing, and the role these play in their Edinburgh learning and leadership experience. This event will discuss how blogging can be a space to inspire campaigns and movements, for boundary pushing, and also as a pedagogical tool for engaging with and through our many locations - social, geographical, political, and linguistic. How can blogging be a space that takes learning outside of the classroom? How does the writing process enable discursive movement, and how might it stifle it? Can blogging even be disruptive?

Hosted by Joe Arton and Joséphine Foucher from Teaching Matters, and Johanna Holtan from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program, this event will feature current Scholars and alumni of the MCF Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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Future of Work in Africa – Seminar

  • When: Wednesday 28 October, 4.30pm - 6pm
  • Where: Zoom

Africa is experiencing one of fastest population growth in the world. It is also the youngest continent in the world with 60% of the population below 25 years of age. By 2030, there will be 375 million young people in the job market in Africa. Within a few decades Africa’s workforce will be the largest in the world. But there’s a significant gap between the number of young people seeking work in Africa and the employment opportunities available to them. This seminar will provoke discussion on crucial skills development and also the educational priorities and systems needed to ensure young people are ready for the changing world of work.

This event is a special edition of the weekly Centre of African Studies seminar and is chaired by Mohammad Amir Anwar, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development at the University of Edinburgh. Amir will be joined by guests from across the African continent. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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African Leaders: A Scottish Networking Event

  • When: Thursday 29 October 4.30pm - 5.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

This is a networking event for African scholars and alumni supported by funding bodies such as Chevening, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, Mastercard Foundation and Beit Trust, which all aim to support Africa’s future leaders. Whether currently studying on-campus or online, this event will allow you to meet others who have at least one thing in common: you’ve studied with a Scottish university. Join us for a fun 60 minutes to start some connections, which could be so useful for the future.

This is an invite only event and you will be invited by a representative of the university you attend. If you think you should have received an invitation to this event and would like to know more, please email

Behind the Rhodes Statue: Empire and the British Academy

  • When: Thursday 29 October, 5.30pm - 6.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

'Behind the Rhodes Statue: Empire and the British Academy' by Robbie Shilliam, Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Chaired by Dr Katucha Bento, Lecturer in Race and Decolonial Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

This talk goes behind the Rhodes Statue to examine the complicity of the British Academy in empire’s Southern African interest and the ways in which social anthropology and the sociology of race relations addressed the black presence in white spaces. Tying together colonial development and immigration to Britain, the talk argues that the British Academy has yet to redress the historical assumption that black presence works as a destabilizing force against the ethos of higher education.

Robbie Shilliam is Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Shilliam researches the political and intellectual complicities of colonialism and race in the global order. Over the past six years, he has co-curated with community intellectuals and elders a series of exhibitions–in Ethiopia, Jamaica and the UK–which have brought to light the histories and significance of the Rastafari movement for contemporary politics. Based on original, primary research in British imperial and postcolonial history, this work now enjoys an online presence as a teaching aid: visit the website.. Robbie also works with Iniversal Development of Rastafari (IDOR) to retrieve histories of the Rastafari presence in Baltimore and Washington DC. Further information about Professor Shilliam and his research can be found here.

The Edinburgh Race Lectures are a series of events organised in collaboration with RACE.ED. RACE.ED is a cross-university network concerned with race, racialization and decolonial studies from a multidisciplinary perspective. RACE.ED showcases excellence in teaching, research and knowledge, exchange, impact (KEI) in race and decolonial studies at The University of Edinburgh. The work of the network seeks to support an understanding of the persistence of race and racialization as both historical projects and dynamic phenomenon that shape the present. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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Travellers: In Conversation with Helon Habila

  • When: Friday 30 October, 4.30pm - 5.30pm
  • Where: Zoom

Helon Habila’s book Travellers was shortlisted for the 2020 James Tait Black Prize, Britain’s longest running literary awards, presented annually by the University of Edinburgh. The Prize noted: “Habila takes the weightiest of political and humanitarian issues, today’s tragic crisis of refugees and asylum seekers, and explores it in prose so light and lyrical that the reader is able to keep moving through the stories despite the gravitational pull of their pain.”

Edward Docx, writing in the Guardian says “By the end, you feel as though you, too, are seeing what Europe means afresh: its racism, its confusion, its attraction, its incoherence, its safeties. But you are also full of stories of African conflict, dispossession and human suffering. Again, and again, Habila asks the deepest questions about the relationship of Europe to Africa and Africa to Europe.”

Helon will be in conversation with Tanatsei Gambura and Zoe Mebude-Steves, undergraduate students at the University of Edinburgh. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite.

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Africa Week 2020: After Party

  • When: Friday 30 October, 5.30pm - 7pm
  • Where: Zoom

We wrap up Africa Week with a virtual after party, with music from across the African continent. Choose a drink of your choice and show us your finest chair-dancing. We are delighted to welcome DJ Ken, DJ Manu and Chinny the Presenter of Late Show - Lights Out, from Glasgow-based Jambo! Radio who will play some of the most recognised songs from across North, East, West and Southern Africa in an hour-long set. The After Party will be hosted by Cynthia Gentle, Zimbabwean born singer/songwriter, now based in Edinburgh, who will have a range of guests talking about music from their home countries and why music is so important in their lives.

This event is in partnership with the University's African and Caribbean Society. The event is free to attend but you must register via Eventbrite

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