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Author Guidelines

Africa Today Submission Guidelines

Africa Today will only accept original submissions, that have not been previously published, nor are submitted at another journal for consideration. Exceptions may be granted for works that have appeared in non-English-language publications; in this case, the author must notify Africa Today of this fact and, if the submission is approved, obtain permission to reprint from the original publisher. All articles are published in English and it is the author’s responsibility to arrange for and approve translation prior to publication (but not before submission) in Africa Today.

Africa Today Review Process

All manuscripts are given an initial review by the editorial collective. At that point, the editors will either inform the author that the submission has been declined or will initiate the journal’s double-blind peer review process.

 Authors are encouraged to suggest the names of five to ten scholars who might review the manuscript, providing their current institutional affiliations and e-mail addresses. They may also indicate scholars whom they prefer not to review the manuscript. The editor is not bound by these suggestions but will respect them whenever possible. Suggested reviewers should not present a conflict of interest; for example, they should not be employed at the same institution as the author or be closely involved in the author’s research. Each article sent out for review is sent to two or three expert, anonymous reviewers, who are selected by the journal’s editors and are asked to disclose any conflicts of interest before accepting the assignment. All reviewers read the work carefully and provide a thorough report as voluntary service to the journal. A decision about whether to accept, reject, or invite revisions to the article is generally made within three to six months of sending it out for review. Please note that this turnaround will be delayed if the managing editor has difficulty in obtaining willing reviewers. This makes it very important for the author to carefully craft the abstract, thoughtfully consider the reviewer list, and diligently work to polish the manuscript.

In addition, authors should prepare their manuscripts to facilitate a fully anonymous review. Any identifying references to the author should be removed prior to submission, and the electronic file should be anonymized.

Submitting a Manuscript

The journal’s online submission system is the only acceptable means of submitting a manuscript for review. Manuscripts sent directly to the editorial office will not be considered.

Manuscripts should be organized in the following order:

  1. cover page
  2. abstract
  3. text
  4. endnotes
  5. references
  6. tables and figures

Cover Page

State title of paper; author name; institutional affiliation; name, address, and email address of author to whom correspondence should be sent; acknowledgment (if any) of financial or other assistance.

Submission Length

All submissions should have a word count between 8,000 and 10,000 words.


On a separate page, summarize the article in 125 or fewer words. Do not include citations in the abstract. This is one of the most important elements of the manuscript.  The abstract should communicate the research topic and/or question, the main finding or argument, and the significance of the contribution. 


Feature articles, essays, and interviews can be 8,000-10,000 words including notes and references. Manuscripts under 6,000 words and over 10,000 words will not be reviewed. The author's name should not appear in the text. All submissions should be double-spaced, use 12-point Times New Roman font, and have page numbers in the upper right corner.


Endnotes should be used only for substantive comments on the content of the article. Print on a separate sheet of paper, double-spaced, and numbered consecutively starting with 1.


References should follow the author-date format described in The Chicago Manual of Style: Author's Surname, First Name. Date. Title. City: Publisher (see Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide, author-date tab). See examples below.

Africa Today takes plagiarism very seriously, and asks authors to be sure that they have properly acknowledged the scholarly work of others. Failure to do so can be considered grounds for declining to review a submitted article.

Photos, Maps, and Other Illustrations

Authors are encouraged to submit materials that supplement and enhance their published articles, such as photographs. Authors may submit up to 7 images. Africa Today may consider images for the cover illustration. Images will be published in black and white unless they are selected for the cover. Authors must provide any images and captions. For review purposes please insert all images as low-resolution files in a separate Word document, with the caption beneath each image. Construct the captions so that they are logical and informative in themselves, perhaps restating or expanding upon information provided in the text. Number each image, labeled with your name, to correspond with the caption list and the references in the main text. Authors submitting images should be sure to indicate within the text where the image should be placed by inserting the designation “(fig. 1),” “(fig. 2),” etc. at the end of the sentence referencing the image.

When the paper is accepted, we will ask the author to submit high-resolution images for publication according to the following guidelines:

Caption text and a list of figures should appear in a separate document. Images should not be embedded in your manuscript, but uploaded separately. Name the file “YOURNAME Fig. 1” etc. Images should be submitted as JPG or TIF files, preferably of at least 300 pixels per inch. Digital frame grabs should have a minimum resolution of 250-300 dpi.

Maps and drawings: Africa Today does not offer art production services. Only maps, charts, and drawings of professional quality will be accepted. For maps, use an official map as a base to ensure accuracy.

Authors are responsible for obtaining all permissions required to publish an image. Please indicate the source of each image and whether you: 1) are the creator of the image; 2) have permission from the copyright holder to use the image; 3) are using an image in the public domain or one licensed under a Creative Commons license; or 4) believe there is a fair use case for publishing the image. Africa Today does not pay licensing fees for copyrighted images.

Format of References

References within Text

  • Citations of sources should be made within the body of the text, following the author-date system from The Chicago Manual of Style (see Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide, author-date tab):
  • When the author's name already appears in the text, the date of cited work should appear in parentheses, e.g., (1988). When the author's name does not appear in the text, the author and date of source should appear in parentheses, e.g., (Smith 1988). When a specific page number or page numbers are to be cited, the page number(s) should follow the date, after a colon, e.g., (Smith 1988:17).
  • Use “et al.” for more than three authors; the complete list of names must be given in references cited.
  • When there is more than one work by the same author from the same year, put the titles of the works in alphabetical order and then mark the year with lowercase letters, e.g., 1988a, 1988b, and so on.
  • Original publication date should precede later publication dates in brackets within parentheses, e.g., (Smith [1896] 1969).
  • A series of references should be separated by semicolons within the parentheses, e.g., (Jones 1989; Jones and Smith 1998; Smith 1977).
Reference List at End of Manuscript: References Cited

Follow The Chicago Manual of Style author-date format (see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, 2010); capitalize titles of books, articles, and journals using headline-style capitalization, e.g., The History of Africa.



Rodney, Walter. 1982. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press.

Chapters from Books

Trapido, Stanley. 1980. “The Friends of the Native”: Merchants, Peasants and the Political and Ideological Structure of Liberalism in the Cape, 1854–1910. In Economy and Society in Pre-Industrial South Africa, edited by Shula Marks and Anthony Atmore. London: Longman.

Journal Articles

Ritzer, George. 1975. Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science. American Sociologist

Computer Files

Authors analyzing this type of data should cite source, including author (producer or distributor if no author), publication date (type “N.d.” if none is provided), title, website address, and date accessed. If no author is provided, replace it with the producer or distributor of the article or the website. Examples:

Traugott, Caryl. N.d. Is the Noble Savage Extinct?
(accessed 25 October 2009).

Times Herald-Record. 1998. Tarzan’s Mate Jane Dies at (accessed 12 September 2009).

Interviews/Verbal Information Collected by the Author

In referring to a specific interview by the author, in-text citation and references-cited entries should follow the same conventions as outlined above, e.g.:
(Smith 1998)
Smith, John. 1998. Interview by author, 9 April. Houston, Texas.

In cases where the author cites information gained not through formal interviews but through, for example, casual social contact over a period of time, the author should include in the text the names, place of contact, and approximate range of dates of contact with these persons. In cases where it is not possible to identify an “informant” or respondent by name (for example, for political reasons), the author may use a pseudonym (and use it consistently in all text citations and references-cited entries).


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  2. The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, RTF, or WordPerfect document file format.
  3. Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  4. The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point Times New Roman font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are sent as separate files according to the directions above.
  5. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines, which is found in About the Journal.
  6. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.

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