In the minds of many, the Sahara exists as a boundary between the Maghreb and “Black Africa”. History and our lived experience tell a different story. The latest issue of Chimurenga’s pan African gazette, the Chronic, bears testimony to this. Designed in collaboration with Studio Safar in Beirut, and published in its entirety in Arabic as Muzmin, this special edition of the Chronic argues that the Sahara has never been a boundary, real or imagined. Trade caravans, intellectuals, literatures, human resources and political ideas have long circulated from Timbuktu to Marrakesh, from Khartoum to Tunis and Cairo and beyond.
Marked by an urgency to unsettle the fictitious divide, this issue continues Chimurenga’s ongoing quest to present alternative political, economic, historical, geographical and cultural cartographies of the continent. To imagine Africa, and to speak of it, outside the maps drawn at the Berlin Conference (1884-85).
Contributing from Egypt, Helmi Sharawy remembers African liberation movements that had offices in Cairo during the time of President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Wendell Hassan Marsh follows the route from Françafrique to Afrabia, a geo-political conflation, so named by Ali Mazrui. Other contributors include Dominique Malaquais and Cédric Vincent; Andrew Apter, Sophia Azeb, Ziad Bentahar, Marcia Lynx Qualey, Akin Adesokan, Shamil Jeppie, Saarah Jappie, Jamal Mahjoub, Rayanne Tabet, Nisreen Kaj, Rasheed Araeen, Mongo Beti and more.