The Man Who Understands Africa

Dr. Manthia Diawara/Google Photo

We have been compelled to dig into the background of Dr. Manthia Diawara whose masterpiece lecture we reproduced on Wednesday caught the attention of many people. The high number of phone calls, emails and skype messages have been overwhelming. Caller after caller asked “who is this talented man? Is he Cheikh Anta Diop?”

The man in question is Manthia Diawara who was giving lectures at a Diaspora forum in Sweden. Born in the Malian capital Bamako, Diawara received early education in France. Dr. Diawara received his doctoral education at Indiana University in 1985. He taught at universities of New York, Pennsylvania and California.

Manthia has conducted extensive research into black cultural studies.   And With the help of other scholars, Diawara was able to incorporate the material conditions of African-Americans thus providing a broader context for the study of African diasporan culture.

Diawara also made significant contribution in the study of black film, publishing, writing, editing and making films.

Diawara’s 1998 book, In Search of Africa, has put him into international limelight. Published by Harvard University Press, the book gave an account of his return to Guinea, his childhood home, 32 years after he and his family were expelled from the newly liberated Guinea. Manthia was shocked to be received as an outsider.

Manthia served in many distinguished positions, including the board of TransAfrica Forum, which supported Barack Obama’s successful bid for President in 2008.


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