AfricaUprisingAbout the Authors

Adam Branch is associate professor of political science at San Diego State University. From 2011 to 2014 he was research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Kampala. He is the author of Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda as well as articles and book chapters on political violence, humanitarian intervention, and international law, largely focused on East Africa.

Zachariah Mampilly is director of the programme in Africana studies and associate professor of political science and international studies at Vassar College. From 2012 to 2013 he was a Fulbright visiting professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Dar es Salaam. He is the author of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War as well as articles and essays on the history and politics of Africa and South Asia.

Popular Protest and Political Change

From Egypt to South Africa, Nigeria to Ethiopia, a new force for political change is emerging across Africa: popular protest. Widespread urban uprisings by youth, the unemployed, trade unions, activists, writers, artists, and religious groups are challenging injustice and inequality. What is driving this new wave of protest? Is it the key to substantive political change?

Drawing on interviews and in-depth analysis, Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly offer a penetrating assessment of contemporary African protests, situating the current popular activism within its historical and regional contexts.


‘Increasingly interconnected and better informed than ever, Africa’s peoples are more and more ready to go onto the streets in defence of their rights. Branch and Mampilly skillfully show how African politics is changing and how the collective agency of the ordinary citizen is something that will progressively shape political culture and practice across the continent. A luta continua!’
Professor Ian Taylor, University of St Andrews

‘This accessible account of popular demands for an end to poverty challenges conventional narratives about democratization, economic development and a rising middle class. Recommended.’
Michael Bratton, Michigan State University

“˜Provides convincing insights into the complexity of the social and political dynamics behind African protests in a really readable – and enjoyable – fashion. The ideal introduction to the topic.’
Franí§ois Polet, editor of The State of Resistance: Popular Struggles in the Global South

‘Africa Uprising insightfully argues that contemporary African protests incorporate both economic and political demands, and their success cannot simply be measured by immediate political effects.’
Alcinda Honwana, Author of Youth and Revolution in Tunisia

‘A powerful account of recent large-scale protests in Nigeria, Sudan, and elsewhere, Branch and Mampilly show us that the internal politics of movements can have a powerful effect on their success or failure. This vivid portrait of the new politics of urban protest in Africa should interest scholars and activists alike.’
Adrienne LeBas, American University

‘An inspiring and thoughtful study of African struggles for indigenous self-liberation, taking protests on their own terms and locating them within the reality of politics in Africa. The authors seek out what is specific to protests in Africa, instead of pursuing models of linear preconceptions of what protests should look like, or predetermined expectations of outcomes.’
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Author of: African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam