100 Open Lectures All About Africa

As the world becomes an increasingly interconnected and truly global marketplace, it becomes ever more important to learn and understand the history, culture and economic roles of nations around the world, especially for those at online colleges for business administration. Africa is no exception, and this collection of lectures, many from renowned scholars, researchers and innovators, will help you better understand the many varied regions of Africa and the continents changing role in the world marketplace.

History

Learn a little about some of the events and people who have shaped the continent and made it what it is today through these free lectures. These lectures may even benefit those not in business, such as students enrolled at online colleges for history.

  1. Despotism and Dictatorship in Twentieth Century Africa: The case of Uganda under Amin: This lecture will help you learn more about the dictator Idi Amin and the policies he instituted. [Institute of Advanced Studies]
  2. Celebrating South African Freedom: Listen to this lecture to commemorate the end of apartheid in South Africa. [Stanford]
  3. Africa Ill Prepared for Independence: You might not agree with this viewpoint, but listen to this lecture to get a new perspective and learn a little about the colonial history of Africa. [Stanford]
  4. Conflict and Challenge of Development in Africa: The Case of the Horn of Africa: This lecture will describe some of the potential challenges in Africa that have held back development in areas that desperately need it. [Princeton]
  5. Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa: The Rwandan Experience: Rwanda is a nation that has experienced great tragedy and this lecture describes the process of rebuilding after mass genocide. [Princeton]
  6. Success in South Africa: Return to India and the Year of Silence I: This lecture shares the beginnings of the non-violence movement from Gandhi to Martin Luther King. [Berkeley]
  7. The Challenge of Freedom After Apartheid in South Africa: Check out this lecture to gain a better understanding of how the end of apartheid changed everything in South Africa and the difficulties of adapting the nation to a new way of life. [The Ford School]
  8. The Struggle for Freedom and Justice in South Africa: Desmond Tutu, Margaret Marshall, and Richard Goldstone explain the long road to freedom and the challenges that followed in South Africa. [Forum Network]
  9. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: In this lecture Ishmael Beah tells how he was abducted as a child and forced to fight in the army for Sierra Leone, his rescue and his road to recovery. [Forum Network]
  10. Black Women’s Resistance in the US South and South Africa: Author Pamela E. Brooks explains the role of women in ending systems of oppression, both in the US and Africa. [Forum Network]

Politics

These lectures will touch on international relations, public policy and elections and governments in Africa.

  1. US-Africa Relations Hampered by Colonial Legacy: This lecture will explain why the lingering effects of colonialism have changed the way the US and other nations are able to interact with Africa. [UCLA]
  2. Assessing Power-Sharing Arrangements in Africa: The Case of Kenya and Zimbabwe: Can power sharing arrangements between rivals be a way to ensure security in many African nations? This lecture asks and proposes an answer to that question. [CSIS]
  3. Peter McDonald on Censorship in South Africa: Learn more about the effects of censorship in this African nation from this academic lecture. [Oxford]
  4. George Ayittey’s critique of “coconut republics”: Check out this lecture to learn what a coconut republic is and why it isn’t a good thing for Africa. [TED]
  5. Joseph Lekuton tells a parable for Kenya: Joseph Lekuton, a member of parliament in Kenya, offers a story showing how Africa can grow in this lecture. [TED]
  6. China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States: When most people think of Africa, they don’t think of Chinese influence, but this lecture shows how the nation’s growing role may affect international policy and relations. [CSIS]
  7. U.S. Africa Policy beyond the Bush Years: Critical Challenges for the Obama Administration: Listen to this lecture to get a better understanding of how relationships with African nations may change with a new administration. [CSIS]
  8. Advancing Democratization in Africa: This lecture explores how democracy can be promoted and spread in Africa. [CSIS]
  9. A Smarter U.S. Approach to Africa: Give this lecture a chance to learn more about the U.S.’s relationship with Africa through international relations. [CSIS]
  10. News Out of Africa: New Nations Out of Old: Charlayne Hunter-Gault the bureau chief of CNN International in South Africa gives her account of the present state of Africa. [Forum Network]
  11. News Out of Africa: Challenges Within and Without: Here, Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about some of the biggest developments in African nations since their independence from colonial rule. [Forum Network]

Business and Development

Look to these lectures to learn more about business ventures and economic growth in African nations.

  1. Investing in Africa: South African investment banker Euvin Naidoo explains why investing in Africa can pay big dividends in this lecture. [TED]
  2. Doing Business in Africa: In this lecture, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala explains why there is so much more to Africa than disease and famine and that economic growth and business opportunities are happening. [TED]
  3. Economic Roles of African Women: This short lecture is part of a larger series on the roles that women play in the economic development of nations. [Harvard]
  4. Jacqueline Novogratz invests in ending poverty: Jacqueline Novogratz is the leader of the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor, in Africa and around the world and she talks about the advantages of that approach here. .[TED]
  5. Ethiopian Economics: Economist Eleni Gabre-Madhin outlines her ambitious vision to found the first commodities market in Ethiopia in this lecture. [TED]
  6. Cheetahs vs. Hippos: Ghanaian economist George Ayittey rails against corrupt officials in this video and asks the younger generation (the “cheetahs”) to step up. [TED]

Health Care

Fairly or unfairly so, Africa is often associated with health crises like AIDS and ebola. These lectures deal with how to best control these kinds of illnesses, new advances in health care and medical issues specific to Africa. Students at online colleges for nursing or another health care field can learn valuable information about medicinal practices in other nations.

  1. Reproductive Health in the 21st Century: In this lecture series, women and men from around the world discuss reproductive issues like contraception, sexual morals, and even reproductive punishment. [Harvard]
  2. Emily Oster Flips Our Thinking on AIDS in Africa: Here you can learn why what we currently think about AIDS in Africa might be wrong. [TED]
  3. Global Health: A Panel Discussion: This panel discussion will help you learn more about global health issues and the United States’ role in them. [Harvard]
  4. Nathan Wolfe’s jungle search for viruses: Learn how this virus hunter is finding and analyzing new viruses before they become a threat to human populations. [TED]
  5. Kristen Ashburn’s photos of AIDS: See the human side of the AIDS epidemic from the photos in this lecture. [TED]
  6. Dr. Seyi Oyesola tours a hospital in Nigeria: Listen as this doctor explains the necessity of getting basic health care to those who need it in African hospitals. [TED]
  7. Cancer in Africa: This lecture is part of a larger series on cancer in the developing world where you can learn about research and treatment from three medical professionals. [Oxford]
  8. The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight against AIDS: Fighting against AIDS has been an uphill battle as this lecture explains. [London School of Economics]
  9. Step into Africa: Living with AIDS: Princess Kasune Zulu of Zambia shares her experience of having AIDS in this lecture. [Forum Network]
  10. Chasing the Crescent Moon: Sickle Cell Disease: Because of the advantages it provides in protecting individuals from malaria, sickle cell is much more common in Africa than in other places in the world. As this lecture explains, however, with benefits come painful and debilitating disadvantages as well. [Forum Network]
  11. AIDS:Learning from the Past, Looking Towards the Future: This lecture from Pride Chigwedere of Zimbabwe discusses the past two decades of international efforts to stem the spread of AIDS. [Forum Network]
  12. Ernest Madu on world-class health care: Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, and shares his thoughts on how it is possible to provide good health care in the developing world. [TED]

Education

Everywhere in the world, education is an important and transformative thing. These lectures explore some of the initiatives in Africa and the importance of teaching the younger generation.

  1. Sharing Experiences of Developing New Degree Programs in Africa: You can learn more about higher education in Africa through this discussion series. [Peking U]
  2. Transforming Cape Town: The Role of Education Activists: Catherine Besteman, Allistair Witten, and Susan Moore Johnson discuss the legacy of apartheid and the changes being made by those working in education. [Forum Network]
  3. Teach Africa: Experts on education and Africa speak in this lecture on why Africa should be an area of the world with more focus dedicated to it. [Forum Network]
  4. Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa: In this lecture you can learn about the efforts being made in South Africa to create a racially equitable educational system out of the ashes of apartheid. [Forum Network]
  5. Patrick Awuah on educating leaders: Here you can get a perspective on why a liberal arts education is key to developing great leaders. [TED]

Technology and Innovation

Learn more about the introduction of new technology to Africa and the innovations being made by Africans that could change the face of the continent.

  1. William Kamkwamba on building a windmill: As a teenager, Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba built his family an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, showing that anything can be done with a little ingenuity. [TED]
  2. Harnessing the Spirit of L’Aquila: Improving Agricultural Productivity in Africa: This lecture from Monty Jones, aims to harness the enthusiasm of the G8 summit held in Italy and use it to make real changes in Africa. [CSIS]
  3. Harnessing Africa’s Solar Power: This lecture addresses new ways that all that sun in the African sky can be harnessed and put to good use. [Public Radio International]
  4. Internet Technology in Local and Global Communities: Learn from this online course and lectures how technology, specifically the internet, can be integrated into African classrooms. [TWB]
  5. Information and Communication Technology in Africa: Check out this link to learn more about the development of information and communication technology in Sub-Saharan Africa. [MIT]
  6. Erik Hersman on reporting crisis via texting: Learn about the difference a mobile technology made in helping Kenyans report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections. [TED]
  7. Josh Silver demos adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses: Many people in impoverished areas of Africa cannot afford the glasses they need, but this new invention may make it possible. [TED]
  8. Hector Ruiz on connecting the world: As the executive chair of AMD, Mr. Ruiz wants to connect the world through internet technology and unveils his ambitious plans to do so in this lecture. [TED]

Culture

If you want to learn more about the culture and people of Africa, these lectures are a great way to start.

  1. Franco Sacchi tours Nigeria’s booming Nollywood: America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood and now Nigeria has Nollywood, a booming film industry as this lecture explains. [TED]
  2. Music of Africa: Learn more about the traditional and modern types of music popular in Africa through this series of lectures. [TWB]
  3. Newton Aduaka tells the story of Ezra: In this lecture, Filmmaker Newton Aduaka shows clips and talks about his film Ezra, the tale of a child soldier in Sierra Leone. [TED]
  4. Marisa Fick-Jordan shares the wonder of Zulu wire art: See dazzling images of this wire work and learn how a worldwide market was created for it in this lecture. [TED]
  5. Ron Eglash on African fractals: Learn how fractals form a part of many types of traditional African decoration from this renowned ethno-mathematician. [TED]
  6. The Stories of Africa: Nigerian writer Chris Abani explains how we define ourselves through the narratives we hear. [TED]
  7. South Africa and Nigeria in Africa: Prophets of Africa’s Renaissance?: This lecture explores how the culture and economic development of these nations could mark a turning point in Africa’s global role. [CSIS]
  8. Helene Cooper: House at Sugar Beach: Journalist Helene Cooper talks about her book in this lecture, telling the story of her exile from Liberia. [Forum Network]
  9. Narrators and the Age of Enlightenment: Listen to this lecture from Emmanuel N. Obiechina as he discusses African narrators in the Age of Enlightenment. [Forum Network]
  10. Jazz and Modern Africa: Columbia University Professor Robin Kelley explores the political and cultural tensions surrounding jazz in South Africa during the 1950s in this lecture. [Forum Network]
  11. Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora: This collection of material will give you a little more background on traditional African practices from religion to political organization. [TWB]

Natural World

Watch and listen to these lectures to learn more about the flora, fauna and ancient natural history of Africa.

  1. The Exploration of the Great Rivers of Africa: This lecture explores the Nile, offering insights on its wildlife and life along the river. [Princeton]
  2. Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa: Learn how these three issues often intersect and ways in which the conflict between them can be resolved in this lecture. [EconTalk]
  3. Jane Goodall helps humans and animals live together: In this lecture you can learn about community initiatives created by Goodall that help humans and endangered species live side by side. [TED]
  4. Louise Leakey digs for humanity’s origins: Following in the footsteps of her father, this anthropologist hunts for hominid fossils in Africa’s Rift Valley. [TED]
  5. Zeresenay Alemseged looks for humanity’s roots: Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged talks about the discovery of the oldest humanoid skeleton of a child in Ethiopia in this lecture. [TED]
  6. Spencer Wells builds a family tree for humanity: Geneticist Spencer Wells talks about how his Genographic Project, connecting our genes to where we came from. [TED]
  7. Crosby Lectures in Geology: History of Africa: Take the time to read through and listen to this material. You’ll learn a great deal about the geological changes in Africa that shaped how life developed and created the geography we know today. [MIT]
  8. Corneille Ewango is a hero of the Congo forest: Here, Botanist Corneille Ewango talks about his work at the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Congo Basin, protecting it from a myriad of threats. [TED]
  9. Gorilla Conservation and the Karisoke Center: Katie Fawcett speaks about the current conservation status of gorillas and the Karisoke Center, and their continued need for protection in the wild. [Forum Network]
  10. Hunting for Hominid Fossils in Ethiopia’s Afar Desert: Yohannes Haile-Selassie initiated a three-year paleontological exploration and survey of the North and Central Afar in 2002 and presents his findings and future prospects in this lecture. [Forum Network]
  11. Paul Sereno digs up dinosaurs: There are more than hominid bones to be fond in Africa as this paleontologist shares. [TED]
  12. Human Origins: Complexities and Controversies: Here you can learn how the discovery of a seven million year old skull in Chad in 2002 challenged many long-held scientific beliefs about human evolution. [Forum Network]

Activism and Aid

These lectures ask for help for beleaguered African nations and propose new ways that people can reach out and make a difference.

  1. Bill Clinton on rebuilding Rwanda: In this lecture, Bill Clinton asks for help from listeners in bringing health care to Rwanda. [TED]
  2. Bono’s Call to Action for Africa: Here, you can learn how Bono doesn’t want people to view Africa as just a celebrity cause but a true global emergency. [TED]
  3. Aid Versus Trade: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, explains why Africa needs more than aid in this lecture. [TED]
  4. Ory Okolloh on becoming an activist: In this lecture you can hear the life story of Ory, and how she came to be a reporter and activist in Kenya. [TED]
  5. The Liberian Widows Initiative: A Helping Hand that Stretches from the U.S. to Africa: Check out this U Penn lecture to learn more about this charitable program. [Wharton]
  6. Beyond Humanitarianism: What You Need to Know About Africa and Why it Matters: Learn about more than just aid work from this lecture focused on foreign relations. [Council on Foreign Relations]
  7. Creating an Impact in Human Rights: Clinton administration adviser John Prendergast talks about his involvement in human rights organizations in Africa in this lecture. [Forum Network]
  8. The Lost Boys of Sudan: Mark Bixler, author of The Lost Boys of Sudan, discusses the conflict that nearly destroyed the country and the many challenges that refugees from the nation now face. [Forum Network]
  9. Women to Women: Journey to Darfur: Linda Mason, Liz Walker and Gloria White-Hammond discuss their experiences and thoughts about the future of Darfur and the help Americans can give. [Forum Network]
  10. Doctors Without Borders in Niger: Through this lecture you can learn about the product Plumpy’nut which is being used to treat malnourishment in Niger. [Forum Network]
  11. Jacqueline Novogratz: A third way to think about aid: Instead of focusing on charity, this entrepreneur thinks we could try out patient capital instead. [TED]
  12. Jacqueline Novogratz on patient capitalism: Here, she explains more in-depth how this kind of aid can bring help to the world’s poorest people. [TED]

Miscellaneous

These lectures touch on a wide range of topics from understanding Africa from a different perspective to delving into the ancient past of Egypt.

  1. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen: In this lecture, you’ll see that things in Africa and other places in the world may not be quite as bad as you might think. [TED]
  2. A New Look at Africa: Journalist Andrew Mwenda asks his audience to consider the opportunities of Africa, not just the impediments in this lecture. [TED]
  3. The Africa You Don’t Know: Read this transcript to learn about some of the myths abut Africa and some of the truths that are often ignored. [TED]
  4. Nigeria’s Role in Africa and the World: Check out this lecture to learn more about the country of Nigeria and it’s place in the global and continent-wide markets. [CSIS]
  5. Aya de Yopougon: A More Palatable Africa: This lecture will talk about the desire to create an Africa that is less off-putting to others, and the potential benefits and consequences of such an action. [International Institute]
  6. Re-Membering Africa: Planting European Memory on Africa: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, professor at UC Irvine, explores how African memory persists despite colonial attempts to supplant it. [Forum Network]
  7. Eighth Wonder: The Library at Alexandria: Andrew G. Jameson shares a little history and background on this ancient and almost mythical library. [Forum Network]
  8. Nefertiti: Queen of Egypt, Daughter of Eternity: Those interested in ancient Egypt can learn more about this iconic queen in this lecture. [Forum Network]
  9. Tour of Duty: How to Write About Africa: Hear from a wide range of African and American writers in this discussion panel. [Forum Network]
  10. Salvaging Identity from Wreckage: Emmanuel N. Obiechina discusses the psychology of African slaves and how the recovered their identity through narrative. [Forum Network]
  11. Africa in the Soul: Continent Severely Wounded: Here you can learn more about the upheavals that led to the mass expatriations of millions of Africans. [Forum Network]
  12. Art, Gender and Politics in Egypt: Queen Hatshepsut: Chahinda Karim discusses how Egyptian art mirrors society and sheds light on this ancient period in history when Egypt had its first female pharaoh. [Forum Network]
  13. Paul Collier on the “bottom billion”: This lecture offers hope and help for the world’s billions of poor and hungry individuals. [TED]

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