Red Africa: Power, liberation and the geopolitics of the Soviet Union

Following the success of the Utopian visions and the art of the Red Africa event, Calvert 22 Foundation is delighted to join forces with the Royal African Society to present a special event exploring questions of power, liberation and the geopolitics of the Soviet Union in Africa.

After the World War II, African nations embarked on a process of decolonization and the right to self-determination was recognised by the UN Charter of 1945. As the Cold War took hold and political and military tension rose between the Western and Eastern Blocs, African states were pressured to align with one of the superpowers with the promise of financial, military and diplomatic aid. Several proxy wars played out on the continent, from the Congo in the 1960s to the Horn of Africa in the 1970s and southern Africa from the 1970s to 1990s.

Across Africa, the struggle between the forces of capitalism and communism sparked coups, revolutions and political divisions, resulting in a huge impact on Africa’s post-independence landscape. In 1960 Moscow rightly judged anti-colonial fervour to be a good fit with Marxism and Soviet embassies were set up in many African countries. But was there a Soviet strategy for taking over Africa? To what extent was the USSR aware of political structures in Africa and the needs of those countries which it supported? What were the impacts of the Cold War on African national identities?

Join our panel of experts as they answer these questions and discuss power, liberation and the geopolitics of the Soviet Union in Africa.

Speakers include Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS, Dr Miles Larmer, University of Oxford; Dr Christabelle Peters, University of Warwick.

Chair: Richard Dowden, Royal African Society.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will be invited to view the exhibition Things Fall Apart.

The RAS is Britain’s prime Africa organisation. We like to think of ourselves as a ‘Big Tent’ for everyone interested in Africa. We have a membership programme that is open to all – and we promote a better understanding of Africa in the UK through our publication, websites, annual film and literature festivals, Film Africa and Africa Writes. When you join RAS you become part of the UK’s most vibrant network of individuals and organisations committed to Africa’s advancement. Find out more about membership at:

**Taking place from 4 February – 3 April 2016, Red Africa is Calvert 22’s new season of art, film, events and talks exploring the legacy of the cultural relationships between Africa, the Soviet Union and related countries that flourished during the Cold War.