Histories of Claims and Conflict in a Kenyan Landscape
Pastoralists, ranchers of European descent, conservationists, smallholders, and land investors with political influence converge on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya. Land is claimed by all - the tactics differ. Private property rights are presented, histories of presence are told, charges of immorality are applied, fences are electrified and some resort to violence. The region, marked by enclosures, is left as a tense fragmented frontier.
Marie Gravesen embedded herself in the region prior to a wave of land invasions that swept the plateau leading up to Kenya’s 2017 general election. Through a rich telling of the history of Laikipia’s social, political and environmental dynamics, she invites a deeper understanding of the pre-election violence and general tensions as never done before.
In A Grammar of Lopit, Jonathan Moodie and Rosey Billington provide the first detailed description of Lopit, an Eastern Nilotic language traditionally spoken in the Lopit Mountains in South Sudan. Drawing on extensive primary data, the authors describe the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the Lopit language. Their analyses offer new insights into phenomena characteristic of Nilo-Saharan languages, such as ‘Advanced Tongue Root’ vowel distinctions, tripartitite number marking, and marked-nominative case systems, and they uncover patterns which are previously unattested within the Eastern Nilotic family, such as a three-way contrast in aspect, number marking with the ‘greater singular’, and two kinds of inclusory constructions. This book offers a significant contribution to the descriptive and typological literature on African languages.
In: African Diaspora

Abstract

Digital media, diaspora and deterritorialisation have provided important ways to think about contemporary global flows and social ties. Digital diasporas as a unit of study have become especially relevant for social scientists, particularly anthropologists: In this paper, the author argues that digital diasporas represent both online communities and the ICT practices of those living abroad, which seemingly actualise the potential inherent in Castell’s notion of the Network Society. Examining the material and social dimensions of these ties, however, this paper moves to critique the notion of networks as stabilised representations of diaspora/homeland connections. Drawing from the author’s ethnographic research with tech professionals in Ghana, and with diaspora-based social media users in the U.S. and the Netherlands, the analysis posits that the asymmetry of Africa’s sociotechnical infrastructures is central to understanding the enduring disjunctive nature of these flows. Through interviews and analysis, the author illustrates how these sociotechnical systems configure Ghana’s global cyberculture.

In: African Diaspora

Abstract

In 2015, a reading group in Abuja, Nigeria, started the hashtag #BeingFemaleinNigeria, which received widespread attention. Within the confines of 140 characters, Nigerian women and men shared stories of gender inequality, sexism and misogyny in the country. Using feminist critical discourse analysis, this article unpacks the tweets under the #BeingFemaleinNigeria hashtag, and teases out what they tell us about gender inequality in Nigeria, and the ambitions for emancipation. This article takes the stance that African feminism(s) exist, that empirical study of lived experiences of African women should define it, and not perspectives that reject and argue that feminism comes from the other. Therefore, this empirical research contributes to scholarship that seeks to define the characteristics of African feminism(s), particularly as the field is criticised for being over-theorised.

In: African Diaspora

Abstract

The ‘New African Diaspora’ (NAD) in Australia is a small yet diverse and interconnected community. African-born persons make up only 1.5 % of the Australian population, yet collectively represent all 54 independent African nation-states, and speak over 60 languages. Nonetheless, Australia embraces stereotypical and misleading understandings of the ‘African migrant’, and whilst these have been subject to academic scrutiny, there is a need to reconceptualise the NAD in both public and academic discourse. This article endeavours to challenge contemporary perceptions through an exploration of the history and demography of the NAD and the manifold ways it continues to shape Australia’s socio-cultural and economic landscapes. We draw upon our findings from a 2018 mapping project, which comprised analyses of publicly available migration data, an online survey, and a series of six in-depth interviews. Our analysis unveils the central role the NAD plays in brokering between multiple cultures and geographies.

In: African Diaspora
Author: Helen Yitah

Abstract

This paper examines rural Ghanaian children’s creative performance of play songs in the context of recent scholarship on children’s rights in children’s literature. This scholarship, which has focused mainly on written literature in western contexts, seeks to give serious literary attention to children’s creative expression and thereby uphold their rights to contribute to the artistic life and culture of their societies. Kasena children of northern Ghana exhibit creative agency in adapting traditional play songs to new situations, as they re-create and reinterpret communal idioms, imagery and symbols, thus generating new forms, new concepts and new meanings. I illustrate the aesthetic qualities and transgressive features of this phenomenon by drawing on relevant indigenous Kasem concepts about art and creative resistance. If taken seriously, this dynamic heritage of children’s poetry can help us see emerging play genres as an affirmation of children’s creativity, and prompt a redefinition of ideas about childhood.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Generally one finds there are shortages in the array of technical resources available to penetrate the morphology of Kiswahili and its similarities to, as well as its departures from, morphemic structures in other Bantu languages. The introduction of a new approach employed here is an attempt to contribute to correcting that deficit. Object relative Determiner Phrases (DPs) in Kiswahili are common noun phrases with the noun head called the object relative appearing in the initial position of the DP. The phrases also have relative words and clitics introducing relative clauses. In Kiswahili these phrases are formed via DP internal movements of the object noun to the highest position coupled with movements of the subject and verb complex. The suggestion here that the object relative moves to the highest position in DP configuration marks a significant departure from other studies. This analysis provides theoretical insights about how these constructions are mapped in the minds of Kiswahili speakers. Refinement of the morpho-syntactic display which is specific to Kiswahili is essential for helping learners of the language to master it correctly. Further research will reveal whether the analysis of the object relative adopted DP can be used to derive similar phrases in other Bantu languages, such as Sesotho, Chishona, Ikalanga, and ciNsenga.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Nigerian gospel music is an emblematic and significantly informative entertainment industry; it is both an artistic and a contemporary religious genre that reveals social transformations nationally, regionally and globally. The historical fusion of entertainment with spirituality in Nigerian music reflects at once the influence of secular music upon the composition process and the performance context, the pressures of audience demand, the idiosyncrasies of each musician, as well as financial and commercial trends. The radical effects of change in the local labour market and in the world economy are not really new; these have been features of Nigerian gospel music since its origin. But now these factors define this music at the performance level as well.

In: Utafiti

Ikisiri

Tafiti juu ya matumizi ya lugha katika vyombo vya habari zimethibitisha kuwapo kwa makosa kadhaa ya lugha katika utoaji wa habari. Makala haya, yanamakinikia makosa ya kisarufi katika matini andishi za habari za BBC Swahili na DW Kiswahili. Sampuli ya makala kumi kutoka kila tovuti ya chombo husika zilichanganuliwa kulingana na nadharia ya Corder (1967). Makosa ya udondoshaji, uchopekaji, upatanisho wa kisarufi, umoja na wingi, mpangilio wa vipashio na mantiki yalithibitika. Sababu za kufanyika kwa makosa hayo ni pamoja na: kutomudu sarufi ya Kiswahili, kukosa umakini katika uandishi na uhariri, athari za lugha mama, lugha za kigeni, lugha ya mazungumzo, na uteuzi mbaya wa msamiati. Vilevile, ilibainika kuwa makosa hayo yana athari hasi kwa wazungumzaji wa lugha pamoja na lugha yenyewe. Hata hiyo, tafiti zaidi zinapaswa kufanywa juu ya mazingira yachocheayo uvumilivu wa makosa ya lugha katika utangazaji wa habari kwa Kiswahili.

In: Utafiti