This book is a product of many discussions with colleagues in the African network of civil society formations. Portions of it began as papers and presentations in consultative conferences of the African Union platform for NGOs known by the acronym, CIDO, and later those of the Economic and Social Committee of the African Union. Some elements have been presented in the meetings of the SADC Council of NGOs where I have sought to focus on the workings of the NGO environment rather than just the substantive agenda that NGOs pursue. The Trust Africa sponsored continental consultative workshops on the legal framework and civil society as well as one on NGO responses to illicit flow of capital. The ideas have also been refined in several other more academic conferences on the African predicament, the impact of global imperial designs on African civil society, and he question of development in the global south. I would like to acknowledge, therefore, all these networks of NGOs that provided a stimulating environment for me to contribute to creative thinking about how the African civil society ought to response to the shifts in geopolitics and geoeconomics that have a bearing on them, including the question of creative alternative imaginations for NGOs in Africa.
Extensive discussions with the likes of Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Morgan Ndlovu, Edith Phaswana, William Mpofu, Vusi Gumede, the late Sam Moyo, Jimi Adesina, Candice Moore, Peter Vale, Puleng Segalo, Charles Nyukyonge, Serges Kamga, Kwesi Prah jnr and many others on decolonial perspectives and political questions covered in this book have helped me shape the epistemic orientation embedded in this book. But the errors of thought and approach are fully mine. My family has also encouraged and graciously allowed me time and space to work through this book.
The book is designed to stimulate a debate about the predicament of the NGO and the African condition in the current global climate. It is meant to encourage discussions on African civil society to make connections with the African post-colonial condition and the imperial designs ingrained in the structure of global power. It is an invitation to a brutally honest conversation about the domestic and eternal conditions that explain the deferred dream, shattered expectations and abiding illusions. There is also an interest in contributing to imaginative thinking about possible and decolonial future as represented by the discussion in the last three chapters. It does not exhaust all the angles from this analytical approach could have been conducted.