‘The youth cannot be fooled’: Alain Mabanckou believes a Sub-Saharan African Spring is imminent

Since August, Congolese-French author Alain Mabanckou has been posting enigmatic pictures and tweeting with the hashtag #RevolutionBassinDuCongo (samples below).

Known for his dapper style, Mabanckou has also used his clothes to send a message, sporting a shirt that read ‘à vendre/for sale’ while criticising governments for selling out and lamenting the indebtedness of African countries under dictators.

For those curious as to why an author in the diaspora is getting involved in politics, Mabanckou says that just because he lives overseas doesn’t mean he has forgotten his home—‘human suffering knows no borders’.

This month, Mabanckou showed support for the Togolese in their protests against the Gnassingbé family dynasty that has ruled the country for almost fifty years.

« Il n’y a jamais eu autant d’exaspération en Afrique noire. »

—Alain Mabanckou

The Prix Renaudot-winning author revealed in an interview with Sammy Mupfuni and This Is Africa that his hashtag symbolises the burgeoning of what he calls the ‘Sub-Saharan African Spring’. He uses the term ‘Bassin du Congo’ to refer to a group of countries that includes Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville (his home country), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. Mabanckou believes the rumbling of a new African Spring is apparent in this vast region.

The author, most recently of Black Moses, says he is besieged by moving messages from young Africans, which keep him awake at night. ‘The youth cannot be fooled’, he says, adding that he was impressed by the recent court ruling in Kenya that invalidated the September election results.

When asked about his dreams for Africa, he says: ‘Freedom and pride in our history.’

  • Read the full article in French here
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Main image: Alain Mabanckou on Twitter

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