Transition Magazine

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Language English
Edited by Alejandro de la Fuente
Publication details
Publication history
1961–76; 1991–present
Frequency Triannual
ISSN 1527-8042

Transition Magazine, founded by Rajat Neogy (1938–1995), a Ugandan of Indian ancestry, was published from 1961 to 1976 on the African continent and was revived in 1991 in the United States.


In 1961, at the age of 22, Rajat Neogy founded Transition Magazine: An International Review in Kampala, Uganda.[1] Transition was designed to be the literary organ of East African writers and intellectuals. It quickly became Africa's leading intellectual magazine, publishing such diverse figures as Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, South African novelist Nadine Gordimer (Nobel laureate), Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, and Americans James Baldwin and Paul Theroux.[2]

In 1968, the Ugandan government jailed Neogy for sedition; the magazine had criticized President Milton Obote's proposed constitutional reforms.[1] After Neogy's release, Transition was revived in Ghana in 1971. Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka took over as editor in 1973. During Soyinka's tenure, Transition became still more contentious: the cover of one issue sported a cartoon image of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, with Karasi! ("Finish Him!") written across his face. Transition continued to make a name - as well as enemies - for itself until folding in 1976 for financial reasons.


Henry Louis Gates, Jr, a student of Soyinka at Cambridge University and a frequent contributor to the Ghanaian Transition, brought the magazine back to life in 1991. Now based at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, Transition bills itself as "an anchor of deep reflection on black life and a map charting new routes through the globalized world." In 2011, Transition celebrated 50 years since the journal's founding.

Transition is edited by Harvard professor Alejandro de la Fuente, an historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes in the study of comparative slavery and race relations. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw of University of Pennsylvania serves as Visual Arts Editor. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah are the magazine's publishers, with Wole Soyinka chairing the Editorial Board. Transition is published three times annually by Indiana University Press.

Editorial Board[edit]

Wole Soyinka, Chairman; George Reid Andrews, David Chariandy, Teju Cole, Laurent Dubois, Brent Hayes Edwards, Carolyn Elkins, Sujatha Fernandes, Tope Folarin, Kaiama L. Glover, Kellie Carter Jackson, Biodun Jeyifo, Carla D. Martin, Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz, Achille Mbembe, Siddhartha Mitter, Laurence Ralph, and Antonio Tillis.

Former editors[edit]

Rajat Neogy, Founding Editor; Wole Soyinka, Henry Finder, Michael C. Vazquez, F. Abiola Irele, Laurie Calhoun, Tommie Shelby, Glenda Carpio, Vincent Brown.

Recent issues[edit]


  1. ^ a b Julius Sigei and Ciugu Mwagiru, "Humble magazine that nurtured Africa’s thinkers", Daily Nation, 1 December 2012.
  2. ^ Paul Theroux, "Obituary: Rajat Neogy", The Independent, 15 January 1996,

External links[edit]