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By Simon Bekker, Göran Therborn

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G. Addis Ababa and Lomé) were significant pre-colonial urban places before European colonisation and retain traces of this pre-colonial history today. indd 2 9/22/11 4:20 PM INTRODUCTION achievement of political independence from European colonialism, that is, a period of some 50 years or less (2010 marked the 50th year of independence for numerous countries in Africa). Hence, much of the urban landscape and built environment that is discussed is of recent construction, or at least of recently changed symbolic importance.

In 1963, the administrative circumscriptions of Conakry 1 and 2 were joined to two federations of the ruling Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG). In 1979, three communes populaires de plein exercice (CPPE) were created to correspond to three federations of the PDG. With the military’s assumption of power in 1984 and the advent of the Second Republic, the terms gradually changed, recalibrated to reflect changing international catchwords.

Since independence, heterogeneity has characterised the population of Conakry, particularly given its attraction for all of West Africa. Contemporary migratory movements have not modified the general composition. The national political context has, however, exacerbated rivalries. 17 The national authorities increasingly exploit the ethnic dimension of Guinean politics in their refusal to allow any real democratisation. This often translates into specific repressive actions in Conakry against members of the opposition, who are often of Fouta-Djalon origins.

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