Abstract and Keywords
Africa is the continent least associated with cities and it is the least urbanized today. The maps of early modern Europe reflect this bias, with elephants and other beasts featured in place of towns to fill in unknown spaces. However, towns have a long history in parts of Africa. This article begins by discussing the early cities in Africa. It then considers the colonial era, and suggests that the layered nature of urbanization over time sees decline in some urban networks but a rapid growth in cities along the lines of new economic forces, reflecting the power of both capitalist-inclined and racist ideas. In the challenges they began to raise to the forms put into play, the African masses began the process of urban reconstruction. The final sections cover the last half century, more or less, since the end of colonialism.
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