Cultural Transformation and Human Rights in Africa

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  • Format: Book
  • Published: 2002, Zed Books
  • ISBN: 9781842770900
  • 288 pages
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Table of Contents

The authors of this volume seek to contribute to the clarification of the very difficult conceptual and practical questions surrounding the legitimization and permanent protection of human rights in non-Western cultural contexts, in this case in Africa. The contributors try to clarify thinking about what should constitute as human rights in an African context as well as strategies for realizing them within communities and countries. These issues are particularly contentious when the specific point at hand is the promotion and protection of economic, social, and cultural rights, and even more so in relation to the rights of women. The underlying premise is that there are possibilities for the local promotion of what ought to be universal human rights through processes of cultural transformation over time. While conceding the difficulties and constraints of the relationship between local cultures and the notion of the universality of human rights, the contributors believe that it is both necessary and possible to address these issues by making use of creative possibilities within specific countries.

Selected Chapters

  • "Are Local Norms and Practices Fences or Pathways? The Example of Women's Property Rights"
  • "The Banjul Charter: The Case for an African Cultural Fingerprint"
  • "The Effects of Land Tenure on Women's Access and Control of Land in Kenya"
  • "Introduction"
  • "Introduction"
  • "Mediating Culture and Human Rights in Favour of Land Rights for Women in Africa: A Framework for Community-level Action"
  • "Religious Revivalism, Human Rights Activism and the Struggle for Women's Rights in Nigeria"


Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Jeffrey Hammond, Martin Chanock, Makau Mutua, Florence Butegwa, Celestine Nyamu-Musembi, Hussaina J. Abdullah, Issa Shivji, Akinyi Nzioki

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