Mr Martin Plaut

Contact details

Mr Martin Plaut
Position/Fellowship type:
Senior Research Fellow
Fellowship term:
15-Nov-2012 to 31-Jul-2018
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Civil Rights, Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, International Relations, Modern History , Political Institutions, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Africa in general and Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa in particular.

Project summary relevant to Fellowship:

Having completed my book on South Africa between the Boer war and World War One, I am finalising a book on Eritrea and continuing to work more widely on the Horn of Africa and southern Africa.

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
30-May-2018 Eritrean ‘askaris’: postcards from the Red Sea

Journal articles

The Ephemerist No. 180, Spring 2018, pp. 13- 15

01-Apr-2018 Robert Mugabe

Edited Book

Ohio University Press, April 2018 (with Sue Onslow)

19-Mar-2018 Media Freedom in South Africa

Journal articles

The Round Table, 19 March 2018

21-Feb-2018 Libya’s slave markets are a reminder that the exploitation of Africans never went away


 Slavery was recorded in 20th century Ethiopia and continues to exist in Mauritania today.


22-Jan-2018 Do South Africa and Zimbabwe’s new leaders represent a moment of hope?


 Cyril Ramaphosa and Emmerson Mnangagwa both have tarnished pasts, but attract optimism.


18-Jan-2018 The Ethiopian Famine: War, Weapons, and Aid


Did rebel movements in Ethiopia use part of the international aid they received for those who were starving to buy weapons and ammunition? Martin Plaut discusses the claims that the aid arm of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front diverted some of these funds to purchase military supplies.


15-Jan-2018 The Ethiopian famine: war, weapons and aid

Journal articles

The RUSI Journal, DOI:10.1080/03071847.2017.1414736, January 2018

01-Dec-2017 A crushing defeat for the dark side


 The collapse of Bell Pottinger would not have happened without the investigative zeal of a group of dedicated journalists in South Africa


13-Sep-2017 Eritrea: a mafia state?


 Eritrea is no ordinary state; rather it resembles a criminal organisation designed to keep its citizens in perpetual servitude. It is behaves like a mafia organisation: with covert finances but without a constitution, legislature or elections, run by the country’s president and his closest associates.


05-Aug-2017 How Leave.EU threw its backing behind a far-right anti-migrant boat


 As the Italian navy enters Libyan territorial waters for the first time, they are joined by strange allies: Europe’s far right.


19-Jun-2017 Qatar’s conflict with its neighbours can easily set the Horn of Africa alight

 It began as a squabble between Arab allies, but the standoff between Qatar and its neighbours is threatening to engulf the Horn of Africa. When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives declared at the beginning of June that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar it appeared to be of interest mainly to the Arabian Peninsula – and the Gulf in particular.


13-Apr-2017 Eritreans in the Netherlands complain of pressure to support youth congress


 Claims of ‘systemic intimidation’ as top Eritrean official Yemane Gebreab arrives on Dutch soil to address youth wing of African country’s ruling party

04-Apr-2017 Jacob Zuma vs democratic South Africa - only one is likely to survive


 A bloody cabinet reshuffle has left South Africans divided and reeling.


26-Mar-2017 Reporting Conflict in Africa

Journal articles

Media, War and Conflict, Vol 10, Issue 1, 2017

01-Oct-2016 Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s most repressive state


 Hurst Publishers, October 2016

01-Aug-2016 F.Z.S. Peregrino, A Significant but Duplicitous Figure in the Black Atlantic World

 (with David Killingray), South African Historical Journal, August 2016

01-Jul-2016 Olive Schreiner and the Taaibosch derailment: From ‘Pro-Boer’ activism to networking with the early British Labour Party,


 Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol. 70, no 1, June 2016

01-Apr-2016 Promise and Despair: The first struggle for a non-racial South Africa, 1899 – 1914


 Jacana Media, April 2016

01-Jan-2016 Joseph Gerrans and Resistance to the Planned Incorporation of Botswana into the Union of South Africa, 1909


 Botswana Notes and Records, Volume 47, 2016

01-Oct-2014 South Africa: How the ANC wins elections

Journal articles

Review of African Political Economy 2014

31-Jul-2014 Keir Hardie's visit to South Africa, 1908

Journal articles

Bulletin of the South African Library

01-Jan-2014 New Light on Gandhi's Decisive South African Confrontation


 New Light on Gandhi's Decisive South African Confrontation

04-Dec-2013 Gandhi ’s Decisive South African 1913 Campaign: A Personal Perspective from the Letters of Betty Molteno

Journal articles

Corder,Catherine and Plaut, Martin, Gandhi's decisive South African 1913 campaign: a presonal perspective from the letters of Betty Molteno. South African Historical Journal,  (2013)

26-Jun-2013 How unstable is the Horn of Africa?

Journal articles

Review of African Political Economy, Volume 40, Issue 136, 2013

How can one explain the apparent stability that has prevailed in the Horn since 1991? The overthrow of the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia and the de-facto independence of Eritrea paved the way for a period of stable government that had been absent for the many years. Stability is not peace, but one is struck by the fact that for more than two decades the key countries in the Horn have remained essentially under the same administrations or forms of government.

01-Jan-2012 Who Rules South Africa?

Edited Book

Jonathan Ball, (with Paul Holden)  ISBN 9781868424252 

01-Jan-2010 Fighting for Britain: African soldiers in the Second World War

Edited Book

James Currey, (by David Killingray, with Martin Plaut) ISBN 1847010156

01-Jan-2010 South African Student Protest, 1968: Remembering the Mafeje Sit-in


History Workshop Journal, Vol 69 No 1 pp. 199 - 205

01-Jan-2010 The Nile comes to the boil


African Security Review, Vol 19 No 3 pp. 114 - 118


01-Jan-2010 South Africa: The ANC's difficult allies


Review of African Political Economy, Vol 37 No 124, pp. 201 - 212


01-Jan-2007 Trading Guns for Gold: Pakistani Peacekeepers in the Congo


Review of African Political Economy,  Vol 34 No 113, (Sept 2007), pp580-588

01-Jan-2007 Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to persuasion


Royal Institute of International Affairs, (with Sally Healy)

01-Jan-2005 Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at war

Edited Book

 Red Sea Press, (editor, with Dominique Jacquin-Berdal)ISBN 1569022178

01-Jan-1999 War in the Horn


Royal Institute of International Affairs, (with Patrick Gilkes) ISBN 1862030596

01-Jan-1984 Power! Black workers, their unions and the struggle for freedom in South Africa

Edited Book

Spokesman Press, (with Denis MacShane and David Ward) ISBN 0851244114


Ethiopia's Oromo Liberation Front


Review of African Political Economy, Vol 33, No 109 (Sept 2006), pp587-593

Additional Publications

Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
06-Dec-2017 Talk on Promise and Despair: the first struggle for a non-racial South Africa’

01-Nov-2017 Talk on 'Understanding Eritrea’

19-Oct-2017 The European Union and Eritrea

 The position of Eritrean refugees seeking to flee their country has seldom been more dangerous. The obstacles they have to face – whether in crossing into Sudan or Ethiopia – remain considerable; the fate that awaits them on their journey to Europe is increasingly hazardous and their reception in Europe is frequently less than hospitable. Yet still they choose this difficult, draining option that leaves their families and communities torn apart, and vulnerable: a comment on how severe the human rights abuses remain in Eritrea itself.

17-Jul-2015 SCOLMA Annual Conference 2015

“Imagery of African troops”, to SCOLMA Annual Conference 2015, “There came a darkness”: Africa, Africans and World War I

01-Jul-2015 Interviews with BBC

  Interviews with BBC, al-Jazeera, Monocle radio. Articles for the Guardian and New Statesman.

01-Jul-2015 Consultations with Foreign and Commonwealth Office and US State Department.

 Consultations with Foreign and Commonwealth Office and US State Department.

05-Dec-2014 Nelson Mandela: Myth and Reality

 Joint convenor with Keith Somerville

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