Welcome to Francophone Africa: beyond archives. Bienvenue sur le site du projet l’Afrique francophone : au-delà des archives. Nous espérons que ce message vous trouve sain et sauf. We hope you are staying safe and well. The site is devoted to exploring how gender shapes or determines access to opportunities for education and work in Francophone West Africa (including those countries formerly under French colonial occupation and rule in West Africa). It looks at the politics, economics history and culture of gender injustice as it was imported by the coloniser and embedded into institutions. It looks at how gender injustice survives into the present day. Teachers are invited to explore materials on the site, in French and English, with students from secondary level to university. Scholars are invited to access the unique collection of research and archival resources in the research sections of the site.
News for researchers and professionals: our government-funded Global Challenges Research project on falling literacy levels among girls in the war zones of francophone Africa is accessible under Gender and Literacy on the RESEARCH page. The data examined at the recent Institute for Modern Languages Research training seminar in London are uploaded in the Gender & Literacy zone. We seek out the latest data and highlight outdated and unchecked data for comment.
While are own live events are suspended we are posting on related events and decolonising initiatives.
Francophone Africa: beyond archives
l’Afrique francophone: au-delà des archives
You have arrived on a multidimensional digital platform holding a unique collection of historical and contemporary resources on regions of Africa occupied by France during the colonial era, and whose histories continues to be shaped by the colonial legacy.
Our primary focus explores how boys and girls, men and women, have experienced those histories in profoundly different ways. Gender injustice embedded in colonial institutions endures in Francophone Africa, as it does in institutions across the globe.
But in Francophone Africa the issue of gender injustice has a particular urgency. Girls’ access to formal education and basic literacy skills is lower here than in any other region of the world. Data and information around this urgency are more difficult to access than in any other area of the world, and from our findings, the situation is worsening.
While the reports, archives, and materials of various sorts found on this site address gendered experience from a multiplicity of angles, we acknowledge the difficulties in accessing data and information that have been produced by scholars in the region. There is a reliance on sources originating outside of the cultures and countries of this part of the world. We need to decolonise our knowledge production. This is a work in progress on this site as we try to extend the types of information and number of voices included here.
Our scholarly materials and archives are offered to researchers and teachers as a starting point for critical evidence-based analysis of European colonisation in Africa in the past, and its enduring impact in our time.
Teachers are invited to explore materials suitable for classroom activities in LEARN – which include resources selected for GCSE Geography, French, History curricula – and in ACTIVITIES.
A list of websites, archives, and other resources of interest to teachers and researchers is accessible in LINKS.
Images serve as rich sources of information throughout this site. Their pedagogic value of the colonial image lies in its invitation to explore beyond the scene. Our homepage desktop photo is an example:
The scout troop parading through the streets of Dakar in 1930 draws our attention to key aspects in the making of the colonial world: its militaristic visual vocabulary, its gendered values. Meanwhile the attractiveness of the image reminds us of the nostalgic pull photos can exercise over current generations when left unchallenged.
Our visual texts provide teachers with a stepping stone into historical analysis and a window on to the legacies these highly organised colonial worlds hand down to us today.
For students, scholars and development practitioners working on gender injustice, we examine this firstly as a colonial construct. The SAVINEAU REPORT is a unique, complete, and fully digitised archive of the only substantial study of women’s lives under colonisation undertaken in the colonial era. It offers an extraordinary insight into gender inequalities and human rights abuses in the colonial world.
The inequalities documented in the SAVINEAU REPORT are worsening in parts of the region as a consequence of rising violence in the region. Since 2012 a growing number of girls have been forced to abandon going to school. This deteriorating situation was exacerbated in 2020 by the pandemic. We publish new data on this under Gender & Literacy in the RESEARCH section. With reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, we have produced infographics highlighting trends in gender equality in 7 countries in our region.
Meet the team and learn about the origins of the project by clicking here.
For a short introduction to the website from the project director click play below.
The CONTACT page provides information on how to get in touch with us.
We hope you enjoy your time on this site and find resources of interest and value. You are welcome to use the resources citing as your source: Francophone Africa: beyond archives www.francophoneafricaarchive.org. Si vous voulez citer une source ou une information présentée dans le site, nous vous prions de bien vouloir citer notre siteWeb ainsi: Francophone Africa: beyond archives www.francophoneafricaarchive.org
Please let us know if you found what you needed, and do feel free to get involved in debates around these topics in English, French or in African languages. Veuillez consulter la page CONTACT pour échanger avec nous et, le cas échéant, proposer des ressources ou fonctionnalités supplémentaires en vue d’améliorer votre utilisation de ce siteweb et de ses ressources.
from the archive…
Amadou Hampaté Ba
Malian writer and ethnologist (1901-1991) , first African scholar at the Institut français de l'Afrique noire (IFAN).
Amadou Ba met Denise Savineau in October 1937 in Bamako. She writes about their encounter in Report 1, describing Ba as well educated, a devout Muslim, and influential in the local Peul community. She also identifies the writers that occupy his bookshelves, noting that his books include works by Pascal, Dumas and A Thousand and One Nights.
Call the Midwife
Graduates from the 1939 intake of the Midwifery College in Senegal, French West Africa
Colonial Health Services
French health services in colonial times were first provided by the Navy, and then by a civilian service headed by male French doctors. Gradually African professionals were allowed entry in assistant positions. Initially women were excluded completely, but then midwives and community nurses gained access in the inter-war era, and, as Savineau reports, were making their mark in the 1930s.
One of the first African colonial administrators (1897-1940)
Dim Delobsom was the son of a local notable from Ouagadougou in the Mossi country. He was a published scholar and won a major prize for his book entitled ‘Les Secrets des sorciers noirs’ in 1934. He was also criticised in some quarters for strongly opposing the influence of the local, powerful Catholic mission. He died at a relatively young age, the cause of which is not entirely clear.