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Instructions for authors

Download the Africa Instructions for Contributors here: Download Instruction for Contributors in PDF. (49.1 KB).

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AFRICA is a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary journal, covering all of the humanities and social sciences, and environmental studies where there is a strong focus on human interaction with the environment. Our core interest is ethnographic in the broadest sense -- not necessarily anthropological, but dealing with ‘life on the ground’ in Africa, and African people’s own thought, creative expressions and interpretations of their experience. The editors are pleased to receive articles that are based upon new material drawn from field work or archival data, and which also present an original theoretical argument, interpretation or analysis. We do not consider the following for publication: articles based entirely on secondary sources; or those whose approach is purely macro/statistical, or purely philosophical or literary without a socio-historical context, or purely polemical or programmatic/policy oriented.

Manuscripts submitted for publication are considered for acceptance on the understanding that they have neither been published nor are currently being considered for publication elsewhere. Contributors must inform the editors if the work has been made public in another form or language. The editors reserve the right to make editorial revisions, but will not make major changes without the author’s approval.

Authors submitting should note this is a 'single-blind' review journal, i.e. their identity will be revealed to editorial board and peer reviewers. In operating this policy the journal is concerned to nurture and encourage submissions from early career scholars, particularly from African institutions.

Manuscripts should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding bibliography and notes). Manuscripts should be sent via email as a Word file to

Manuscripts which include orthographic conventions or special symbols should be accompanied by a pdf version of the article with all orthographic fonts embedded.

Article submissions

Submissions, queries to the editor and all relating correspondence, except book reviews, should be sent to The Editors, email:

Authors who wish to submit supplementary materials such as audio and video files to support their article should contact The Editors at the email address above and should also refer to the Notes on Supplementary Materials at the end of this document.

Article submissions in languages other than English

Articles may be submitted to the journal in French, Portuguese, Swahili or Yoruba to If accepted for review, such papers will be peer-reviewed in English (or occasionally in the original language). In the event of acceptance we will seek to publish the paper in an English translation in the print + online version of the journal, and in the original language in the online only version of journal. The aim is to make such research that would be of interest to Africa’s readership accessible in English. Article submissions are welcome from both established and younger scholars. Submissions must not be previously published, in English or any other language. The IAI has limited funds for the translation of one or two articles per year. Once a paper has been accepted, we can also consider drawing on other research or institutional funds that may be available to the author.

English Language Editing Services

Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and / or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Please see the Language Services page for more information. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.


Books for review should be sent to Dr Keren Weitzberg, Reviews Editor, Africa, c/o International African Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG.


Reviewers are also invited to approach the Reviews Editor with suggestions for reviews.

Special Issues

Africa welcomes proposals for special issues of the journal. One special issue is published annually, usually the first issue in the volume. Special issues include eight or nine papers plus an Introduction from the guest editor(s). Special issue proposals are reviewed quarterly by the journal Editors, and are additionally reviewed by assigned members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

Cut-off dates for editorial review of special issues are as follows: 1 March, 1 June, 1 September, 1 December in any given year. Once a proposal has been received, guest editors can expect to receive feedback on the proposal within c.3 months of submission.

Guest editors are encouraged to submit a concise proposal of c.1,000-1,500 words setting out the theme/rationale for the special issue and to submit abstracts for all papers under consideration. Guest editors are further encouraged to refer to the journal's general editorial guidelines and instructions for contributors.

Open Access Policies Please visit Open Access Publishing at Cambridge for information on our open access policies, compliance with major finding bodies, and guidelines on depositing your manuscript in an institutional repository.


Manuscripts should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding bibliography and notes).

Notes and references

Notes should be kept to a minimum, numbered consecutively as footnotes. References in the text should take the form (Smith 2000: 234-8) with details listed in a bibliography; where more than one work by the same author is cited references should be in date order. Use letters (2000a, 2000b) for works in the same year, with no work unlettered. References in the bibliography should take the form:


Hunter, S. and J. Williamson (2000) Children on the Brink: updated estimates and recommendations for intervention. Arlington VA: USAID.

(NOTE: no upper case in book’s subtitle, except for proper nouns.)

Chapters in books

Silitshena, R. (2001) ‘The influence of government policies on the development of rural settlement in Botswana’ in C. de Wet and R. Fox (eds), Transforming Settlement in Southern Africa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

(NOTE: Do not specify page numbers in books cited.)


Last, M. (2000) ‘Children and the experience of violence: contrasting cultures of punishment in northern Nigeria’, Africa 70 (3): 359–93.

(NOTE: no upper case for any words, except the first word and proper nouns.)


Renan, E. (1822) ‘What is a Nation?’ <>, accessed 2 June 2004

(NOTE: use what are called angled brackets).


Mayombo, R. P. (1990) ‘Economic Structural Changes and Population Migration in Kilombero Valley’. MA thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

(NOTE: Use upper and lower case for title and subtitle of PhDs. The style is the same as for books. For PhDs, cite as PhD dissertation.)

Orthography of African languages

Citations from African languages should, where possible, follow the established orthography in the country or one of the countries involved. In the absence of an established orthography, recognized symbols must be used, preferably the 'Africa script' of the IAI. Details of this script can be obtained from the IAI.


Files should be set up in 12 pt type on paper size of A4 (or US equivalent) size paper.

The article title should be in capitals and centred and in 14pt font. Author(s) name(s) should be in italics and centred, just below the title. Section headings should be in capitals and centred, subsection side headings should be italicized.

Quote Marks

Single quotation marks should be used, with double marks for any quotation within a quotation.

Indentation of Quotations

Quotations of more than fifty words should be indented, and in this case no quotation marks are needed.


Foreign words (except proper names) should be italicized.


These should be in the style 23 July 1945, the 1940s, 1952–56.


Numerals under 100 should be spelt out except percentages and specific dimensions like 6 ft 6 in. Minimize repetition of digits in page sequences: thus 100–1, 234–8. But note the following exception: 110–11, 113–14.

Punctuation of sources after quotations

If an indented quotation, end quotation with a full stop and put citation in brackets thereafter. Thus:

The genocide can never be a subject of discussion. (Survivor, Nyamata)

But if a short quotation forms part of the main body of text, put citation in brackets after the quotation, with a final full stop at the end. Thus:

In this regard, it is worth remembering the following words: ‘Genocide can never be a subject of discussion’ (Survivor, Nyamata). This is because …

Closing quote marks and full stops

If the quoted extract forms a complete sentence, or ends with a complete sentence, place the full stop inside the closing quote mark. Thus:

According to Smith, ‘Fluctuations in currency have a long history in West Africa. We need to bear this in mind when studying the contemporary situation.’

In all other cases, the quote mark should be inside the full stop. Thus:

In studying the contemporary situation, we need to bear in mind the significance of Smith’s ‘fluctuations in currency’.


Generally USA, UK, PhD, Dr, Ms etc. However, in bibliographic references, use ed. for editor, but eds for editors. Initials are spaced: A. E. Weatherhead.


Please use z spellings generally.


The Gambia; Sudan; Congo; Zaire (without an umlaut); Côte d’Ivoire.


West Africa; East Africa; North Africa; Southern Africa; Central Africa; Western Province; Morogoro District; The North; The South. But eastern Africa; western Africa.


US$300,000; Ksh20


  • All tables must be clearly numbered, cited in the text and included in the Word file at the end of the manuscript after the references.
  • Authors who wish to submit tables as supplementary materials should contact The Editors at and should also refer to the Notes on Supplementary Materials at the end of this document.


  • Line artwork (graphs) should be saved at 1200dpi and ideally saved as TIFF or EPS files.
  • Halftones (photographs) should be saved at 300dpi and ideally saved as TIFF files.
  • All figures must include an accompanying figure legend. Photographs should include reference to sources. Figure legends to be included at the end of the Word document after the references.
  • All figures must be cited in the text.
  • Figures to be supplied at approximately the size of reproduction (maximum 120mm x160mm)
  • The print version of Africa does not support colour figures, therefore please indicate if you wish colour figures to be published online in colour.
  • Authors who wish to submit figures as supplementary materials should contact The Editors at and should also refer to the Notes on Supplementary Materials at the end of this document.
  • For further details of file formats please see Cambridge Journals Artwork Guide.

Abstracts and Author’s biographical note

Each article should have an abstract, of not more than 200 words, for translation into French or English as the case may be. A brief biographical note about the author for the foot of the first page should also be included.

Competing interests

All authors must include a competing interest declaration in their manuscript. This declaration will be subject to editorial review and may be published in the article. Competing interests are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the content or publication of an author’s work. They may include, but are not limited to, financial, professional, contractual or personal relationships or situations. If the manuscript has multiple authors, the author submitting must include competing interest declarations relevant to all contributing authors. 

Example wording for a declaration is as follows: “Competing interests: Author A is employed at company B. Author C owns shares in company D, is on the Board of company E and is a member of organisation F. Author G has received grants from company H.” If no competing interests exist, the declaration should state “Competing interests: The author(s) declare none”. 


These (if any) must be located at the end of your article, before the References.


Proofs will be professionally corrected and checked by the editorial team. Authors will receive pdf proofs via a url link, and their corrections will be incorporated into the final version. Please note that corrections should be confined to typographical or factual errors. Proof corrections should kept to a minimum, and not used as an opportunity to revise the style or substance of the article.


The policy of Africa is that authors (or in some cases their employers) retain copyright and grant the International African Institute a licence to publish their work. In the case of gold open access articles this is a non-exclusive licence. Authors must complete and return an author publishing agreement form as soon as their article has been accepted for publication; the journal is unable to publish the article without this. All Supplementary Material is subject to the same copyright requirements as primary material. Please download the appropriate publishing agreement here.

For open access articles, the form also sets out the Creative Commons licence under which the article is made available to end users: a fundamental principle of open access is that content should not simply be accessible but should also be freely re-usable. Articles will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) by default. This means that the article is freely available to read, copy and redistribute, and can also be adapted (users can “remix, transform, and build upon” the work) for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, as long as proper attribution is given. Authors can, in the publishing agreement form, choose a different kind of Creative Commons license (including those prohibiting non-commercial and derivative use) if they prefer.


It is the responsibility of the author to obtain permission for any previously published material.


Authors receive a free PDF offprint of their article. They may purchase print offprints if requested before the issue is printed.

The accepted version of the article may be reproduced on personal or departmental web pages from the point of acceptance, provided it is accompanied by full bibliographic details of the Journal, acknowledgement of the copyright holder and a link to the article published online by Cambridge University Press (when this is available).

Discounts for journal authors

Authors are entitled to a 20% discount on an individual subscription rate to any Cambridge University Press journal and a 30% discount on books published by Cambridge University Press.

Please e-mail for discounted journal subscriptions and for discounted book orders.

Supplementary Materials

Authors who wish to submit supplementary materials such as audio and video files to support their article should contact The Editors at

File naming

Files should be named in such a way that it is clear which article they belong to and what they contain, e.g.


Audio Files
  • Preferred formats: mp3 or mp4
  • Accepted formats: AAC, AIFF or WAV
  • Maximum file size 15Mb

Video Files

Video files should be submitted according to the following specifications.

  • Preferred formats: mpg/mpeg, mp4 or mov
  • Acceptable formats: wmv or avi
  • Maximum file size: 15Mb
  • Minimum dimensions: 320 pixels wide by 240 pixels deep
  • Verify that the videos are viewable in QuickTime or Windows Media Player

For each video, provide a citation in the appropriate place in the manuscript text and include a title and pertinent copy, preferably limited to 20 words.

This citation will appear in print as a boxed text and also specify the video file format. In the case of multiple video files, number them in the order in which they should be viewed.

If associated with a figure, please include a citation at the end of the figure caption explaining the video’s function, its file format, and that it is accessible at Cambridge Core’s site:

The video will be posted at the site of the appropriate journal title, volume, issue number, and article. At the article’s title, the video can be accessed via a link which states "Supplemental Materials," or a more specific label such as "Movies."

Please be advised that Cambridge University Press will not edit your video file. It will be posted online exactly as supplied. If deemed unacceptable, the author will be responsible for rectifying the problem and supplying an acceptable file.

Other acceptable file formats

Accepted formats: pdf, doc/docx, xls/xlsx, ppt/pptx, jpeg, tiff, png, and zip

Last updated October 2021