The Western Journal of Black Studies

Volume 29, Issue 2

Re-evaluating Socioeconomic Conditions
and the Continuing Spread of HIV/AIDS
in Sub-Saharan Africa
Ben Wodi—State University of New York, Cortland

Morality and sexual behavior continue to be emphasized in the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. This would appear to mask the very socioeconomic conditions that fuel the pandemic in the first place. Understanding the socioeconomic context, within which these risk-taking behaviors occur rather than a damning condemnation of its victims, is of particular significance in the region. Thus this paper argues for a re-examination of those macro-social factors (often beyond the control of the victims) that fuel the continuing spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper further argues that sub-Saharan Africans should be seen as victims of HIV/AIDS in light of the prevailing socioeconomic constraints. The continuing investment on HIV/AIDS control in the region by affluent nations (with emphasis on socioeconomic conditions) could provide long term insurance against further spread of the disease.
pp. 521-531


Diasporic Identity Formation Among
Cape Verdeans in Boston

Gina Sánchez Gibau—Indiana University

Cape Verdeans in Boston are an African diasporic population who have created and recreated new politicized identities in relation to processes of racialization and sociocultural adjustment. The Cape Verde Islanders who first immigrated to the US did so out of economic necessity, escaping the hardship of drought and famine. Later, others came for the purpose of reuniting with their transplanted families. Like many other diasporic populations, the Cape Verdean diaspora has maintained both actual and symbolic ties to the Republic of Cape Verde. This article delineates the complexity inherent in the concept of diaspora as applied to the Cape Verdean community of Boston
pp. 532-539


Civil Society, Emigration and Democracy in Africa:
An Alternative Proposition

Matthew Todd Bradley—Indiana University Kokomo

This paper will demonstrate that emigration and the so-called “brain drain” does not necessarily hinder democratic transition and consolidation in Africa. Domestic challenges like poverty, disease, low literacy rates, ethnic and religious strife continue to wreak havoc on the political and economic systems, making democratic inroads all the more difficult. Furthermore, there is sufficient evidence of the economic and demographic impact on emigration out of Africa, the so-called “brain drain” effect. The majority of the literature on the exodus only assumes negative consequences on the democratic development of African states. I suggest that civil society actors and emigration issues need to be investigated more closely as an avenue to accommodate democratic efforts in Africa. Thus, this paper seeks to identify those overlooked challenges to democratic consolidation throughout Africa.
pp. 540-552


The Spread of Christianity and Islam in Africa:
A Survey and Analysis of the Numbers and Percentages of Christians,
Muslims and Those Who Practice Indigenous Religions

Amadu Jacky Kaba—Seton Hall University

This is a quantitative and qualitative research study of the rise in the numbers and percentages of Christians and Muslims in Africa. It presents data showing the religious breakdowns of Christians, Muslims and people who practice traditional African religions in Africa as a whole, and within the five regions (East, Middle, North, Southern and West Africa) of the continent. The study also presents religious breakdowns for the countries in Africa that were at one time been partly or fully colonized by European Powers. To emphasize the importance of the various statistics, the paper presents numerous examples that show that Christianity and Islam have planted deep roots in Africa and have substantially changed the traditional and philosophical beliefs of a very substantial proportion of Africa’s total population.
pp. 553-570


Understanding Abyssinian Immigrants in the U. S.:
Socio-cultural Background and Contemporary Experiences

Amanuel A. Teklemariam—Catholic University, Nairobi-Kenya

Abyssinian immigrants’ experiences of the transition from the African context into the American context are taken from literature reviews and interviews conducted among Abyssinian immigrant undergraduate students in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The literature provided information about Abyssinian historical, political, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Data analysis from interviews showed the Abyssinian reasons and methods for immigrating to the U.S. and the initial adaptation challenges encountered. The study concluded that Abyssinian immigrants in the U.S. face huge challenges because they come from an agrarian, communal, paternalistic, and Non-Western cultural and linguistic backgrounds into an industrialized, individualistic, and competitive environment. To effectively function in U.S. society understanding the Abyssinian cultural backgrounds and the immigrants’ personal experiences is crucial.
pp. 571-579


African American Popular and Scholarly Interest
in Central and South America, 1960 to 2005

Robert Fikes, Jr.—San Diego State University

The island nations of the West Indies quickly come to mind as places with sizeable populations that are of African descent and where African retentions are evident. With the exception of Brazil, less often is this association made with the nations of Central and South America. With rising incomes and greater educational opportunities in the post-World War II era more attention was focused south of the U.S. Mexico border resulting in more opportunities for black tourists, entertainers, businessmen, and researchers. And lingering romantic notions combined with an affinity with Afro-Latinos contributed to a steady increase in popular interest and a considerable amount of scholarly research done mainly by U.S.-born African Americans concerning the peoples and cultures of Central and South America.
pp. 580-591


Book Reviews

On the Down Low:
A Journey into the Lives of Straight Black Men Who Sleep With Men

Author: J. L. King
Reviewer: Robert Staples, Professor Emeritus
pp. 592-593

Book Review: Negotiating Critical Literacies with Young Children
Author: Vivian Maria Vasquez
Reviewer: Tiffany A. Flowers, Clemson University
pp. 593-594

WJBS Cover


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