1st Edition

Global Africa Profiles in Courage, Creativity, and Cruelty

By Adekeye Adebajo Copyright 2024

    This book of 100 essays written over the last three post-apartheid decades provides profiles of pan-African figures, mostly from Africa and its diaspora in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean. It covers the most important figures of “Global Africa” — and some important non-African personalities — encompassing diverse historical and political figures, technocrats, activists, writers, public intellectuals, musical and film artists, and sporting figures. These include: Cecil Rhodes, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Adebayo Adedeji, Martin Luther King Jr., Wangari Maathai, Ruth First, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Bell Hooks, Buchi Emecheta, Ali Mazrui, Edward Said, Angela Davis, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Burna Boy, Asa, Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Eusébio, Diego Maradona, Viv Richards, Jonah Lomu, Hakeem Olajuwon, and many others.

    Print edition not for sale in Sub-Saharan Africa.





    1. Cecil Rhodes’s Crumbling Legacy

    2. Was Mahatma Gandhi a Racist?

    3. Revisiting Woodrow Wilson’s Liberal Legacy


    4. Kwame Nkrumah: Africa’s Philosopher-King

    5. Albert Luthuli: The Nobel Black Moses

    6. Nelson Mandela: Pan-African Prophet

    7. Thabo Mbeki: Africa’s New Philosopher-King

    8. Thabo Mbeki: Remembering the Renaissance Man

    9. Thabo Mbeki’s Xenophobia Denialism

    10. Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela: The Policy Wonk and the Patriarch

    11. Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma: The Lion and the Jewel

    12. Kenneth Kaunda: Farewell to Zambia’s Founding Father

    13. The Fall of Robert Mugabe

    14. F.W. de Klerk: A Nobel without Honour?

    15. Olusegun Obasanjo: The Emperor’s New Clothes

    16. Jerry Rawlings: The Death and Deification of ‘Junior Jesus’

    17. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: The Iron Lady of Liberia

    18. Meles Zenawi: Philosopher-King or Pragmatic Autocrat?

    19. Abiy Ahmed: Ethiopia’s Nobel Intellectual Soldier

    20. Mobutu Sese Seko: The Sick Man of Africa

    21. Idi Amin: The Making of a Warrior God

    22. Daniel arap Moi: A Ruthless Dictator

    23. Paul Kagame and Wole Soyinka: The President and the Playwright

    24. Qaddafi’s Monarchical Delusions

    25. Obama, Clinton, and Africa

    26. Obama’s Six Deadly Sins

    27. Obama, Gandhi, and Egypt

    28. Obama’s Africa Legacy

    29. Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Donald Trump and Boris Johnson

    30. Trump’s African ‘Shithole’ is Commonplace in America

    31. Margaret Thatcher’s Black Mischief

    33. The Trial of Tony Blair

    34. The Strange Reappearance of Nicolas Sarkozy

    35. Madeleine Albright: Remembering the First Female American Secretary of State

    36. Colin Powell: The Reluctant Jamaican-American Warrior


    37. Boutros-Ghali’s Huge Contribution to Egypt and the World

    38. Boutros Boutros-Ghali: Afro-Arab Prophet, Pharaoh, and Pope

    39. Kofi Annan: African Prophet or American Poodle?

    40. Adebayo Adedeji: Farewell to Africa’s Cassandra

    41. Adebayo Adedeji and Jean Monnet: The Fathers of African and European Integration

    42. Raúl Prebisch and the Building of Latin America

    43. Ibrahim Gambari: The Aristocratic Scholar-Diplomat

    44. Lakhdar Brahimi: An Algerian Troubleshooter

    45. Augustine Mahiga: A Tanzanian Peacemaker

    46. Margaret Vogt: Africa Loses an Unflagging Peacemaker

    47. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Nigeria’s Iron Lady

    48. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: A Super-Technocrat in Geneva

    49. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: The Alchemist 

    50. Naledi Pandor: South Africa’s New Diplomatic Troubleshooter

    51. Mamphela Ramphele: Defender of the Status Quo at UCT

    52. Eloho Otobo: Farewell to a Pan-African Peacebuilder


    53. Remembering Martin Luther King Jr

    54. John Lewis: The Last of the Mohicans

    55. Wangari Maathai: Kenya’s Earth Mother

    56. A Wreath for Saro-Wiwa

    57. Denis Mukwege: Ennobling ‘Doctor Miracle’

    58. Ruth First’s Pan-African Martyrdom

    59. Mahlangu’s Moving Martyrdom

    60. Kaye Whiteman: Ode to an Obituarist

    61. Tor Sellström: A Cosmopolitan Swedish Freedom Fighter


    62. A Tale of Two Continents: Dickensian Africa

    63. Chinua Achebe: Farewell to Africa’s Griot

    64. Soyinka’s Horseman: Who’s Afraid of Elesin Oba?

    65. Wole Soyinka v. Caroline Davis: The CIA Controversy

    66. James Baldwin: The Strange Persistence of Racism

    67. Remembering Maya Angelou

    68. Toni Morrison: America’s Black Bard

    69. Bell Hooks: The Iconoclastic Feminist Scholar-Activist

    70. Buchi Emecheta: Africa’s Literary Mother Courage

    71. John Pepper Clark: Africa’s Protean Pioneer


    72. Ali Mazrui: Farewell the Trumpets for Prophet of Pax Africana

    73. Edward Said: Pioneer of Post-Colonial Studies

    74. Abiola Irele: The Last Prophet of Négritude

    75. Chris Wanjala: Kenya’s Pan-African Griot

    76. Thandika Mkandawire: The Afropolitan Intellectual

    77. Raufu Mustapha: An Organic Intellectual

    78. Angela Davis: A Life of Struggle

    79. Three Prophets of Reparations: Randall Robinson, Hilary Beckles, and Ade Ajayi


    80. Abami Eda: Fela’s Enduring Legacy

    81. Bob Marley: Rebel with a Cause

    82. Michael Jackson: The Strange Disappearance of the Moonwalker

    83. Burna Boy: The Afropolitan Troubadour

    84. Asa: Nigeria’s Songbird

    85. Measuring Sidney Poitier’s Life

    86. Cynthia Erivo: Building Bridges to the Diaspora


    87. Muhammad Ali: King of the World

    88. Pelé: The Greatest Footballer of All Time

    89. Eusébio: The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

    90. The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Diego Maradona

    91. George Weah: The Genius of King George

    92. Samuel Eto’o: Cameroon’s Indomitable Lion

    93. The Ivorian Pearl: The Life and Times of Didier Drogba

    94. Africa’s Golden Generation: Salah, Mané, and Aubameyang

    95. The Golden Age of West Indian Cricket

    96. Jesse Owens’s Race

    97. Jonah Lomu: Rugby’s First Global Superstar

    98. The Greatness of Rafa Nadal

    99. The Age of Hakeem

    100. Flaming Flamingo: The Life and Times of Israel Adebajo




    Adekeye Adebajo is senior research fellow at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship (CAS) in South Africa. He is the author of eight books including The Curse of Berlin: Africa after the Cold War; and editor/co-editor of 10 books including The Pan-African Pantheon: Prophets, Poets, and Philosophers. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University in England where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and is a columnist for Business Day (South Africa), the Guardian (Nigeria), and the Gleaner (Jamaica).

    ‘This is a powerful, precise, passionate, and painful anthology that will stand the test of time for its truthfulness. It is a work that erupts like a monument to the sacrifice and heroism of that humanity which flows through black civilization like the never-ending Nile in the night.'

    -          - Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies


    ‘With his quintessentially Pan-African worldview, Adekeye Adebajo has deftly rendered the kaleidoscopic landscape of African achievement. It is not without crippling threats and disappointing reversals. But resistance to tyrants and female empowerment make visible the resilience to bounce back.’

    -         - Professor Pearl T. Robinson, Tufts University, Massachusetts


    ‘Immensely fluent, readable, and accessible. Adekeye Adebajo’s scholarship is impeccable, his reading of multiple sources is evident, and the historical perspective he provides is essential for an analysis of the contemporary era. This book is unique in its scope and broad canvas. I do not know of a collection of profiles that is similarly expansive.’

    -          - Maureen Isaacson, Former books editor, the Sunday Independent, South Africa