African politics has long been characterized as driven by the engine of violence. But today, violence is being overtaken by a new force: popular protest. Cities throughout the continent, from Tunisia and Egypt, to Uganda and Sudan, to Nigeria and Senegal, have seen uprisings by youth and unemployed, as well as organized labour, civil society activists, writers and artists, and religious groups. What is driving this new wave of popular protest in Africa? Drawing on interviews with activists in a number of countries, Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly offer a penetrating assessment of contemporary African protests, situating the current popular activism within its broader historical and continental context. Melding analyses of Africa's incorporation into the global economy, the failure of African governments to truly democratize, the behaviour of opposition forces both formal and informal, and the role of African popular culture, the authors provide essential insight into understanding African politics at today's key juncture.