In February 2019, Regions Refocus and the Post-Colonialisms Today (PCT) Working Group convened an intergenerational dialogue in Dar es Salaam aimed at shaping and launching the advocacy phase of the project. This dialogue bookended a two-year research process aimed at recovering the progressive policies of immediate post-independence African governments and mobilizing them through a feminist lens to meet contemporary development challenges. This convening included eight researchers who were, in the months prior, selected through an open call for proposals and guided to produce papers on case studies from the post-independence period. The topics of the papers include development planning, monetary policy, industrial policy, education policy, and pan-Africanism. As well as examining the policies of governments that challenged and disrupted their economic and political dependence on their colonizers, researchers analysed and critiqued the construction of women in post-independence societies, offering insights for the contemporary period that address the imbalances of post-independence policies.
The researchers were joined by a community of activist-intellectuals, some of whom actively shaped progressive policy in post-independence Africa, such as Akilagpa Sawyerr (University of Ghana), Fatma Alloo (Tanzania Media Women’s Association), Issa Shivji (Nyerere Resource Centre, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology), and Mahmood Mamdani (Makerere Institute of Social Research). Over five days, participants collectively peer-reviewed the selected papers—to be published in a compendium in 2021—and planned strategic advocacy engagements aimed at mobilizing post-independence learnings to shape contemporary policy and activist discussions, commencing in 2020.