Time and Location

Thursday, 24 October 2019,
18:00 Kafa in Vienna, Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
19.00 - 21.00 Panel Discussion
Haus der Begegnung Mariahilf, Königseggasse 10 , 1060 Vienna


Panel discussion with

Nagda Mansour Adam (unfortunately visa rejected, therefore video statement), translator and human rights activist, Khartoum, Sudan

Surafel Wondimu, theatre scholar, playwright and media producer, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sara Abbas, political scientist and diaspora activist, PhD candidate at FU Berlin 

Moderation: Antje Daniel, Professor of Development and Movement Research, University of Vienna

welcoming address
Franz Schmidjell, VIDC
Ishraga Hamid, political scientist and activist
Mihret Kebede, PhD Candidate Academy of Fine Arts

From 18:00: Coffee ceremony: Zuriyashwerk Abegaz Maru and Tsion Molla from Addis Ababa invite guests to taste genuine Ethiopian coffee before the discussion;

Closing the evening with Samuel Yirga, pianist and composer, with an improvisation.

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: schmidjell@remove-this.vidc.org

Or by clicking on Eventbrite

African uprising. Social movements in Sudan and Ethiopia

© Alaa Sahal
© Alaa Sahal


African people are witnessing an increasing number of ‘pro-democracy protests’ or ‘revolts of the youth’ all over the African continent – in some countries with unexpected and unprecedented changes. A closer look shows that the reasons for the emerging protests  as well as the possibilities for political collective action are manifold . The most recent protests in Sudan and in Ethiopia show the variety of struggles for social justice and democracy in those  particular political and social contexts.

In Sudan, mass protests started after price increases for staple food and transport at the end of 2018. After months of demonstrations and sit-ins, the army put Omar al-Bashir under house arrest and formed a military transitional government. The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of opposition parties, and the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), who led the uprising with youth and women’s groups, have called for protests to continue until the military hands back the power to a civilian government. Although armed troops stormed the sit-in outside the military headquarters killing more than one hundred protesters, the pro-democracy protests continued. Finally, in August 2019, a power-sharing agreement between military, opposition and protesters was achieved.

In Ethiopia, the protests against the ‘Addis Ababa Master Plan’  which aims the modernization and expansion of the capital, escalated in the years after 2014.. The Oromo, the large ethnic groupliving around Addis Ababa,  resisted the Addis master plan. Mass arrests and the killing of several hundred demonstrators could not stop the protests. In April 2018 the ruling party changed its approach and the liberal reformer Ahmed Abiy became prime minister. He stopped the state of emergency, ordered the release of political prisoners and initiated reconciliation processes between the numerous ethnic groups.

Despite the differences of causes and contexts of the protests in Sudan and Ethiopia, there are similarities: youth, women and diaspora play an important role. The representation and use of social media and arts shape the expression of protests. In this context, the panel discussion focuses on the following questions:

What are the particular reasons to protest in Sudan and Ethiopia?
Who were the main actors of the protests and what role do youth and particularly young women play? How was and is the diaspora involved in the protests?
How do social movements mobilize in shrinking democratic spaces and to what extent are protests able to democratize spaces and societies?
Which transnational relations do the respective protest movements and grassroot organisations have? What are the regional implications of the protests?


Nagda Mansour Adam

is a translator, human rights advocate and activist from Khartoum, Sudan. She was arrested during the anti- government protests in 2018/19. She worked as Executive Director of the Parliament Staff and Members of the Parliament on Post Legislative and Oversight Scrutiny for three years. From 2000 to 2013, Nagda Mansour Adam worked as radio and TV narrator, translator and interpreter. She studied at the Department of General Linguistics at the Addis Ababa University (AAU) Communication and Discourse Analysis and holds a Master degree from the Juba University on General Translation. Nagda Mansour Adam is member of the Democratic Translators Union, the Sudanese Women Initiative and the Sudanese Centre for Human Rights Research.

Surafel Wondimu

is a cultural theorist, play writer and media producer in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. He has served as a lecturer and assistant dean in Humanities at Addis Ababa University (AAU) and also ran a private media organization called Aesop Communication. Surafel Wondimu has just started a new TV show called ‘Asham’ which focuses on social justice and the arts. In his scholarly, theatrical and media work at AAU, as a play writer at the Ethiopian National Theatre and Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency, he  strives to address questions of power and subjectivity as reflected in Ethiopian cultural and literary productions. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota (USA) in the Theatre Historiography Program. He was awarded the prestigious ICGC Mellon Scholar Fellowship (Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change) and an August Wilson Fellowship from Penumbra Theatre Company at the University of Minnesota.

Sarah Abbas

is a PhD candidate in political science at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focuses on regime-society dynamics and the role of women in the Islamist movement in Sudan. She recently completed an assignment as a project manager and conflict researcher at the Berghof Foundation, Berlin. Sara Abbas has worked or consulted for various organizations around the world, including UNDP, UN Women, the Carter Center and Columbia University. She holds a Master's degree in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Development Studies from Sussex University (UK). She is a feminist and an active member of the Sudanese diaspora in Berlin in support of the Sudanese revolution. Her publications include "Pathways to Political Power in Sudan", a part of the edited volume Women in Politics: Gender, Power and Development (Zed Books 2014).

Antje Daniel

is visiting professor for development research from a political science perspective at the Institute for International Development at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include protest movements, democracy, utopia and future visions as well asgender studies. She is currently researching student-, environmental and service delivery protests in South Africa and Fridays for Future. Her regional expertise lies in her work with Eastern and Southern Africa, Latin America and increasingly Europe.




This event is part of the program Culture X Change Äthiopien

Information material (will follow after the event)