In 2010, 17 African nations celebrated the 50th anniversary of their independence. Africa’s records in economic progress and political stability, demography (an ambivalent issue) and education etc. have steadily improved, although the threat of future violence and disruption remains for vast regions. National crises increasingly interact with global affairs, in the Horn and elsewhere. As suggested in the recent book by V.S. Naipaul (The Masque of Africa, translated into Italian by Adelphi, 2010), the main dilemmas of Africa now pertain less to quantitative dimensions than to its historical and cultural environment. Can African states cope successfully with the challenges of modernity, now that the continent’s dynamics tend to transmit myths instead of valid legacies? African beliefs are the main issue of Naipaul’s enquiry, but the effects of the spiritual ambit invest the entire pattern of African societies. Besides an approach that led to protests about supposed racialism of the Nobel Prize, the question of functionality of Africa’s history, denied and emasculated through the slave trade, racism and colonialism, is an effective burden that Africa is doomed to face. Tradition risks extinction. After all, Africa has never been the centre of a world economy. Despite its growth in the last 50 years (and the last 20 especially), Africa has failed to get rid of the “colonial mode of production” inherited by the sovereign states due to dependence on the export of some primary goods, firstly oil. Also international competition – China is now fighting its traditional partners, the former colonial powers and the USA – implies stakes that give Africa a subaltern stance.