from South Africa. African scholars working in Africa as well as diaspora scholars working in other parts of the world often experience difficulties in publishing. What are the causes for this, and what can be done about it?
Dr. Wondimu previously worked for the journal Aztlán, an interdisciplinary journal of Chicano studies founded in 1970. Aztlán was launched as a response to the difficulties that Mexican-American scholars were facing in getting published at that time. Over the decades since, many of the young academics who had an opportunity to publish in Aztlán later became department heads and leaders in their fields.
In founding the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies some years ago, Dr. Wondimu was inspired by the Aztlán experience. The journal did succeed in fostering a community of Ethiopian diaspora scholars, and connecting the younger and older generations. But Dr. Wondimu also realized that the challenges facing Ethiopian scholars were also facing the broader community of African scholars working both inside and outside of Africa. This realization led him to launch the African Academic Press and Tsahai Publishers to publish African scholarship within and outside of Africa. These are now fulltime enterprises for him.
This work has to be done on a shoestring, but there are many significant rewards. One major focus is on human resources, developing the next generation of African publishing professionals. In addition, Dr. Wondimu has seen his publishing ventures build bridges between African intellectuals working within and outside Africa.