African Anarchism: An interview with the late Sam Mbah

AntiNote: This is a full transcript of an interview with Sam Mbah, recorded in March 2012 in Enugu Nigeria by Jeremy of the Jura Books Collective – an anarchist collective based in Sydney Australia. Sam Mbah, author of “African Anarchism”, a lawyer, activist and journalist passed away on November 6 2014, after complications arising from his heart condition. The world is worse without him. Many comrades and activists around the globe will be saddened to hear of this loss. Our thoughts are with Sam’s family and friends. We send our sympathy and condolences.

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Jeremy: It’s been about 15 years since the publication of your book on the prospects of anarchism in Africa. What is there, if anything, that comes to mind that you would add to or change about the book, and the ideas that you presented in it?

Sam: Yeah, I want to look at the ideas that I would add, not really change. Ever since the publication of the book I have been collecting additional materials that I stumble upon in the course of my writings and research. I think there is room for additions to the book, not really much to change, or subtract from the work. I think there is room for additions to the book, and this is something I have already started in the sense that in the Spanish edition that came out in 2000, I wrote an extensive foreword, wherein I tried to articulate some of the points we missed in the original book. I tried to look at more African societies that shared the same characteristics and features as the Igbo, the Tiv, the Efik, the Tallensi and the multiplicity of tribes and social groups that we have in Nigeria that I have already mentioned in the book. I also tried to explore other groups in other parts of the world especially Latin America, and I was able to draw some parallels between their social existence and systems of social organization, and the characteristics and features of anarchism, as I understand it.Continue Reading