Here you will find the continuation of classes on Africa.

In this semester we will add to the information that we provided about Africa in the spring. As we present specific countries, including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tunisia, we will continue to address their history, economy, health, education, and social aspects. We will also present overviews of Africa that may focus on specific groups of countries as we address topics such as the relations between African countries and their former colonizers and the influence of China on the continent.

Tunisia – From Carthage to the Arab Spring and Today

Presenter: Toni Dickenson
Presentation Date: September 23, 2021

The Arab Spring began and ended in Tunisia. In a region beset by brutal repression, humanitarian disasters, and civil war, only Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution gave way to a peaceful transition to an imperfect, albeit functioning, democracy. At that time Tunisia did not simply avoid the misfortunes that befell its neighbors — much of the country’s success was planted in particular historical features that set this country apart. But now, 10 years later, successive governments have not delivered improved economic opportunity–resulting in the convergence of popular discontent and a potentially dangerous demagogue threatening the social gains of the revolution.

The Republic of Zimbabwe

Presenter: David Bernard
Presentation Date: October 7, 2021

The Republic of Zimbabwe is a land-locked country in Southern Africa, located between two large rivers and bordered by South Africa to the South, Zambia to the North, Botswana in the South-West and Mozambique in the East. The population in 2020 was estimated to be about 15 million, of whom approximately 30,000 people (0.2% of the population) were white. There are 16 official languages, the most important ones being Shona, Ndebele and English. The name Zimbabwe is a Shona term meaning “Houses of Stone” or “Venerated House” referring to their ancestral Chief’s houses or graves. The country has passed through some tumultuous times. These can be conveniently divided into four distinct periods: Pre-Colonial Times, The Colonial Era (1888-1964), The Era of Self-Proclaimed White Independence (1965-1980) and the Era of Independent, Black Majority Rule (1980-present). A single person was the dominant force in each of the last three periods – Cecil John RHODES in Colonial Times, Ian Douglas SMITH during white rule and Robert MUGABE during Majority Black Rule.

This presentation will largely follow the last three periods, which covers the past 130 years. Key moments in its history, and key aspects of each dominant person will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on the ways the prevailing political and economic factors affected the quality of life for the citizens during those times, and will reveal the good times and bad for the two predominant races living in this fertile land.


Presenter: Madeleine Brecher
Presentation Date: October 21, 2021

Where sand dunes in the world’s oldest desert meet the crashing waves along the wild Atlantic coast, Namibia is like a coffee-table book come to life. It has some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa and, along with its history, culture, the German legacy evident in the cuisine, art nouveau architecture, and festivals, it is a unique nation that I hope to put on your radar. And let us not forget the diverse and proud Namibian people you will meet along the way. Join us for 90 minutes as these stunning and diverse sights sear themselves into your mind; I promise the country will stay with you long after the desert vistas fade. WELCOME TO NAMIBIA!

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Presenter: Ann Goerdt
Presentation Date: November 4, 2021

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest Sub-Saharan country, the richest in natural resources and minerals, and is among the ten poorest countries on the continent. A long history of conflicts and poor governance has prevented the country from achieving anywhere near its potential for development. The latest negative effect of Covid 19, has added to the challenge of improving the economy. The current president, Aléx Tshisekedi, has established a new political alliance known as the “Sacred Union,” which is focused on new policies that could improve the welfare of the Congolese people.


Presenter: Bob Gottfried and Ellen Gottfried
Presentation Date: November 18, 2021

We will be examining the history of Egypt with a concentration on events in the 20th and 21st centuries, and then taking an in depth look at some of the major problems facing Egypt today including water scarcity, population explosion, women’s rights, and religious discrimination. Come to the African Continent Course to learn about these issues, and express your opinions.


Presenter: Sandra Abramson
Presentation Date: December 2, 2021

We will review the history of Ghana, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to secure independence from Britain on March 6, 1957. We will focus on its first President, Kwame Nkrumah, his theory of neo- colonialism and how it affects the country today, both economically and politically. We will look at the role Ghana has played in the continent of Africa regarding African unity.

The Future of Africa

Presenter: Ann Goerdt
Presentation Date: December 16, 2021

Overall, the outlook for the future of Africa is positive, despite the impact of Covid 19 and climate change. Looking at the common factors that affect economic growth, we can understand that the outlook must vary among countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, there are the potential influences resulting from the interests that China and the West have in Africa.