An Uncivil Award: Dartmouth professor of religion Ifi Amadiume‘s book Male Daughters, Female Husbands, has been selected as one of the best 100 books by African authors in the 20th century, says this Dartmouth press release. “I am delighted and honored to receive this award,” said Amadiume. “I feel particularly pleased with this wide expression of happiness and solidarity across borders, cultures and gender.”

The awards for “Africa’s 100 Best Books” were given out by the Zimbabwe International Book Fare, which, though it describes itself as an NGO, has, necessarily, ties with Zimbabwe’s government. The ZIBF’s board, for example, includes a governor, the director of Zimbabwe’s National Gallery (an appointed position), and several academics from state-run schools. The ZIBF’s independence is to be questioned, as is that, unfortunately, of any successful enterprise in the country.

Given the recent elections in Zimbabwe and the state of civil rights in that country, Amadiume’s statement above is troubling for what it omits. Acceptance of an award from a para-statal entity like the ZIBF is tantamount to endorsing its government, many officials of which will be on hand at the ceremony in August, no doubt. Given the Pan-Africanism evident in Amadiume’s writing (moreover, she was editor of “Pan-African Liberation Platform”), perhaps her tacit support of the Mugabe dictatorship is unsurprising, but that still doesn’t make this a thing the College ought to be publicizing.