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IDIA2014 Conference
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3-4 November 2014

When Africans uprise against ‘Africa Rising’, what role for IT?

Patrick Bond
Univ of Kwazulu-Natal
South Africa

Presentation slides - PDF 6.9MB


The conditions created in Africa by the combination of long-term austerity, dictatorial regimes, socio-political injustice and ecological stresses have generated a new wave of protests across the continent since 2010. These protests relate to various dispossessions: wages and working conditions, state capture by elites, service delivery, civil liberties, land grabs, pollution and the like. In a 2013 measurement by the African Development Bank, major public protests rose from an index level of 100 in 2000 to nearly 450 in 2011 and 520 in 2012, with unrest especially important in Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Gabon, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda. In 2013, the index rose higher, to 550. In September 2014, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report recorded South Africa as having the world’s angriest working class (for the third year in a row), followed closely by Angola, Burundi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Algeria, Cameroon, Chad and Guinea (all within the world’s top 20 sites of class struggle). And yet this is the era of ‘Africa Rising’, high commodity prices, and enormous hope invested in the potential for Information Technology’s spread, including innovative relationships between IT and opportunities to create prosperity in Africa. Is there a connection between the claims of Africa Rising in economic, infrastructural and technological respects, and Africans uprising? If so, what are some of the antidotes suggested by critical political economic theory?


Patrick Bond combines political economy and political ecology in his research and applied work. He specializes in global governance, national development and environmental policy, civil society in urban communities and trade unions, and economic- and eco-social justice movements.

He is senior professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Built Environment and Development Studies where since 2004 he has directed the UKZN Centre for Civil Society:

His studies presently address economic crisis from global to household scales; environment, especially energy, water and climate change; social mobilization and public policy advocacy; and geopolitics.

His publications address contemporary problems in South Africa, Zimbabwe, the African continent, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc and global-scale processes. Patrick is currently preparing book manuscripts on BRICS and the political economy of water.

Patrick’s prior books include:

South Africa – The Present as History: From Mrs Ples to Mandela and Marikana (with John Saul, Jacana Media and James Currey Press, 2014),

Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa (Pluto Press and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014);

Politics of Climate Justice: Paralysis Above, Movement Below (UKZN Press 2012); Durban’s Climate Gamble: Trading Carbon, Betting the Earth (edited, Unisa Press, 2011);

Zuma’s Own Goal: Losing South Africa’s ‘War on Poverty’ (co-edited with Brij Maharaj and Ashwin Desai, for Africa World Press, 2011);

Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society: Negative Returns on South African Investments (co-edited with Rehana Dada and Graham Erion for UKZN Press, 2009);

A Pilhagem na África (South Links 2008); Enclavity in African Economies: The Work of Guy Mhone (edited for the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa and International Development Economics Associates, 2007);

The Accumulation of Capital in Southern Africa: Rosa Luxemburg’s Contemporary Relevance (co-edited with Horman Chitonge and Arndt Hopfmann for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, 2007);

Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation (Zed Books and UKZN Press, 2006);

Talk Left, Walk Right: South Africa’s Frustrated Global Reforms (UKZN Press, 2006);

Trouble in the Air: Global Warming and the Privatised Atmosphere (edited with Rehana Dada for the TransNational Institute, 2005);

Fanon’s Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Africa World Press, CCS and AIDC, 2005);

Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance (Zed Books and the University of Cape Town Press, 2003);

Zimbabwe’s Plunge: Exhausted Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Search for Social Justice (coauthored with Masimba Manyanya for UKZN Press, Merlin Press, Weaver Press and Africa World Press, 2003);

Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest (UKZN Press and Merlin Press, 2002);

Cities of Gold, Townships of Coal: South Africa’s New Urban Crisis (Africa World Press, 2000);

An RDP Policy Audit (coauthored with Meshack Khosa for Human Sciences Research Council Press, 1999);

Uneven Zimbabwe: A Study of Finance, Development and Underdevelopment (Africa World Press, 1998).

Publications archive:,4,35,4,0

In service to the new South African government from 1994-2002, Patrick authored/edited more than a dozen development policy papers, including the Reconstruction and Development Programme (1994), RDP White Paper (1994) and National Growth and Development Strategy (1996, during which time he worked in Nelson Mandela’s Ministry of Reconstruction and Development in the Presidency).

He held other positions at Johannesburg development NGOs (the National Institute for Economic Policy, 1996-97 and Planact, 1990-94); at the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Political and Administrative Studies (1989-90); and in Washington, DC at the Institute for Policy Studies, Pacifica Radio, MarketPlace Radio, and several international trade unions (late 1980s).

He was also active in the international anti-apartheid movement and US student and community development movements (1980s).

Patrick currently also serves as visiting professor at Gyeongsang National University Institute of Social Sciences, South Korea and is pursuing a half-dozen projects with other research institutions across the world, including in Oslo and Barcelona and at Sussex.

He was a visiting scholar at the University of California/Berkeley while on sabbatical in 2010-11, and was also visiting professor in 2009 at Suffolk University (Boston); in 2008 at State University of New York (Geneseo); in 2007 at Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute; in 2006 at Chulalongkorn University’s Focus on the Global South Course on Globalisation and Civil Society, Thailand; in 2005 at the Central European University Summer School, Budapest; in 2004 at the Africa University Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance, Zimbabwe; in 2003-04 at York University’s Department of Political Science and Faculty of Environmental Sciences; and in 1999 at the Yokohama National University Department of Economics.

He lectured from 1997-2004 at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management in Johannesburg where he founded the doctoral programme and co-directed the Municipal Services Project, and was assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1994-95.

He has presented lectures at more than 100 universities. Patrick earned his doctorate in economic geography under the supervision of David Harvey at Johns Hopkins (1985-92), following studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance (Philadelphia, 1983-85) and an undergraduate economics degree at Swarthmore College (Philadelphia, 1979-83), including a semester studying classical guitar at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, 1982).

He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1961, was raised in the US states of Alabama and Maryland, and since 1989 has been a resident of Southern Africa.


emails - pbond AT and bondp AT;
skype - patricksouthafrica;
cellphone - +2783 425 1401;
office phone - +2731 260 2454;
fax - +2731 260 2502;
office address - Centre for Civil Society, 501 Memorial Tower Building, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Glenwood 4001, Durban, South Africa.