AEGIS awards the Gerti Hesseling prize is awarded to Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana) who co-authored with Sam Hickey the following article: ‘The Politics of Development under Competitive Clientelism: Insights from Ghana’s Education Sector’. African Affairs 115 (458): 44 – 72.
Gerti Hesseling (1946 - 2009) was a legal anthropologist at the African Studies Centre Leiden for nearly thirty years. As a scholar, she combined an interest in macro-level research on constitutional affairs with issues such as land rights and access to land on a micro level. Her research covered all of the Sahel, but Senegal held a special place in her heart. In the early 1990s she was seconded to the Club du Sahel, where she coordinated a large multidisciplinary research project looking into the relationship between land rights and sustainable development, gaining the respect of many of her African colleagues.
Hesseling was one of the founders of AEGIS. At the opening of the ECAS 3 conference in Leipzig, Patrick Chabal and Alessandro Triulzi – with whom she shared many years of intellectual inspiration and joyful friendship as board members of AEGIS – commemorated Gerti’s significance to AEGIS as follows:
To honour the memory of a scientist so committed with Africa scholarship, the AEGIS Board decided in its 2009 annual meeting that a Gerti Hesseling Prize would be established to promote the work of African scholars and that the most suitable way would be to seek nominations by AEGIS centres and European-based African Studies journals — including AEGIS centres’ journals — for the best contribution to a European African Studies journal by a young African scholar.
In 2017, the winner is Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana) who co-authored with Sam Hickey the following article: 2016. ‘The Politics of Development under Competitive Clientelism: Insights from Ghana’s Education Sector’. African Affairs 115 (458): 44 – 72.