Contributors are Lindie Koorts, Elena Moore, Iva Peša, Paul Glen Grant, Jacqueline de Vries, Duncan Money, Morgan Robinson, Eve Wong, Klaas van Walraven, Erik Kennes.
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The Importance of Biography in African Historical Studies
Edited by Klaas van Walraven
Contributors are Lindie Koorts, Elena Moore, Iva Peša, Paul Glen Grant, Jacqueline de Vries, Duncan Money, Morgan Robinson, Eve Wong, Klaas van Walraven, Erik Kennes.
Intercultural contributions from French-speaking Africa
Klaas Bom and Benno van der Toren
An Ethnography of the Past
What Role for South Africa?
Edited by André Mbata Mangu
Contributors are Henri Bah, Andre Mbata Mangu, Eddy Maloka and Zondi Siphamandla.
Edited by Ingo Haltermann and Julia Tischler
Contributors are: Daniel Callo-Concha, Joy Clancy, Manfred Denich, Sara de Wit, Ton Dietz, Irit Eguavoen, Ben Fanstone, Ingo Haltermann, Laura Jeffrey, Emmanuel Kreike, Vimbai Kwashirai, James C. McCann, Bertrand F. Nero, Jonas Ø. Nielsen, Erick G. Tambo, Julia Tischler.
Creolisation and Mobility in Africa, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean
Edited by Marina Berthet, Fernando Rosa and Shaun Viljoen
Contributors include Andrea Acri, Joaze Bernardino, Marina Berthet, Alain Kaly, Uhuru Phalafala, Haripriya Rangan, Fernando Rosa, António Tomás and Shaun Viljoen.
Undertaken at a time of political tensions, the case study of Zanzibar’s largest Pentecostal church, the City Christian Center, outlines religious belonging as relationally filtered in-between experiences of social insecurity, altered minority / majority positions, and spiritual powers. Hans Olsson shows that Pentecostal Christianity, as a signifier of (un)wanted social change, exemplifies contested processes of becoming in Zanzibar that capitalizes on, and creates meaning out of, religious difference and ambient political tensions.
A History of Social Change in Northwest Zambia
Politics, Economy and Society 2005-2017
Kurt Hirschler and Rolf Hofmeier
This volume contains the original country chapters on Tanzania from the Africa Yearbook. Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara, covering the period 2005 – 2017. It embraces the entire 10-year presidency of President Kikwete and the first two years under the current President Magufuli.
Cross-Cultural and Community Readings in Owamboland, Namibia
Helen C. John
Essays in Honour of Stephen Ellis
Edited by Rufus Akinyele and Ton Dietz
Contributors include: A.E Akintayo, Jackson Aluede, Franca Attoh, Ayodele Atsenuwa, Edmund Chilaka, Samson Folarin, Gerrie ter Haar, Ayodeji Olukoju, Abiodun Oluwadare, Paul Osifodunrin and Leo Enahoro Otoide.
Politics, Economy and Society 2008-2017
Politics, Economy and Society 2008-2017
Cette revue de dix ans de l’actualité économique, sociale et politique du Cameroun couvre une période délicate de l’histoire récente de ce pays d’Afrique centrale, riche en ressources naturelles et humaines. Elle commence par une année difficile : 2008 a été marquée par des troubles sociopolitiques graves liés à la volonté du président Paul Biya, au pouvoir depuis 1982, de changer la constitution, afin de supprimer la limitation du nombre de mandats présidentiels. Une fois la constitution modifiée, le président a pu être réélu en 2011 pour sept ans. Mais de manière prévisible et alors que l’économie stagnait, la situation politique s’est lentement dégradée au cours des années suivantes, jusqu’à déboucher en 2017 sur un début de guerre civile dans une partie du pays. A travers ces dix ans se dessine ainsi un système politique verrouillé, hérité de la colonisation, mais qui semble de plus en plus en fin de course.
Politics, Economy and Society 2008-2017
Klaas van Walraven
Studies in Honour of Gudrun Krämer
Edited by Bettina Gräf, Birgit Krawietz and Schirin Amir-Moazami
Lessons from Southern and West Africa
Vusi Gumede, Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba and Serges Djoyou Kamga
Taking as its starting point a cache of fifty letters from the three women, the book counters the prevailing narrative that early missionary endeavour was a uniquely European and male affair, and reveals the presence of a surprising number of women, among them several with very forceful personalities. Those who are interested in women’s life history, black history, the history of the slave trade and British evangelism will find this book immensely enjoyable.
Diversity, Democracy, and Equality in the 21st Century
Edited by David G. Embrick, Sharon M. Collins and Michelle S. Dodson
Contributors: Sharla Alegria, Joyce M. Bell, Sharon M. Collins, Ellen Berrey, Enobong Hannah Branch, Meghan A. Burke, Tiffany Davis, Michele C. Deramo, Michelle Dodson, David G. Embrick, Edward Orozco Flores, Emma González-Lesser, Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino, Matthew W. Hughey, Paul R. Ketchum, Megan Klein, Michael Kreiter, Marie des Neiges Léonard, Wendy Leo Moore, Shan Mukhtar, Antonia Randolph, Victor Erik Ray, Arthur Scarritt, Laurie Cooper Stoll.
Challenges and Reflections
Edited by Sheila Pereira Khan, Maria Paula Meneses and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
Drawing on the disciplines of history, literature studies, anthropology, political science, economy and art history, the book serves not only as a generous introduction to Mozambique but also as a case study of a southern African country.
Contributors are: Signe Arnfred, Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, José Luís Cabaço, Ana Bénard da Costa, Anna Maria Gentili, Ana Margarida Fonseca, Randi Kaarhus, Sheila Pereira Khan, Maria Paula Meneses, Lia Quartapelle, Amy Schwartzott, Leonor Simas-Almeida, Anne Sletsjøe, Sandra Sousa, Linda van de Kamp.
Morality and Marginality: Towards Sentient Conservation?
Edited by Jan-Bart Gewald, Marja Spierenburg and Harry Wels
Contributors are Malcolm Draper, Vupenyu Dzingirai, Jan-Bart Gewald, Michael Glover, Paul Hebinck, Tariro Kamuti, Lindiwe Mangwanya, Albert Manhamo, Dhoya Snijders, Marja Spierenburg, Sandra Swart, Harry Wels.
Social Impacts of Interpersonal Encounters
Edited by Karsten Giese and Laurence Marfaing
Contributors are Karsten Giese, Guive Khan Mohammad, Katy Lam, Ben Lampert, Kelly Si Miao Liang, Laurence Marfaing, Gordon Mathews, Giles Mohan, Amy Niang, Yoon Jung Park, Alena Thiel, Naima Topkiran.
Edited by Carole Ammann and Till Förster
An Agenda for Democratic Social Change
Edited by Sonja Novković and Henry Veltmeyer
Contributors include: Milford Bateman, Al Campbell, Grizel Donéstevez Sánchez, Cliff DuRand, Olga Fernández Ríos, Julio C. Gambina, Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, Sonja Novković, Dayrelis Ojeda Suris, Gabriela Roffinelli, Frederick. S. Royce, Dean Sinković, Henry Veltmeyer, Marcelo Vieta.
Territory, Border and Infrastructure in Africa
Edited by Ulf Engel, Marc Boeckler and Detlef Müller-Mahn
Contributors are: Sabine Baumgart, Andrea Behrends, Marc Boeckler, Martin Doevenspeck, Ulf Engel, Claudia Gebauer, Karsten Giese, Katharina Heitz Tokpa, Shahadat Hossain, Anna Hüncke, Gabriel Klaeger, Kelly Si Miao Liang, Andreas Mehler, Felix Müller, Detlef Müller-Mahn, Wolfgang Scholz, Sophie Schramm, Jannik Schritt, Michael Stasik, Florian Weisser, Julia Willers, and Franzisca Zanker.
Swahili Speaking Networks on the Move
Edited by Francesca Declich
Contributors are: Katrin Bromber, Gerard van de Bruinhorst, Francesca Declich, Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy, Linda Giles, Ida Hadjivayanis, Mohamed Kassim, Kjersti Larsen, Mohamed Saleh, Maria Suriano, Sandra Vianello.
Janice P. De-Whyte
Child Fostering in West Africa in the 20th Century
Land, Courts and the Plurality of Practices
Edited by Barbara Casciarri and Mohamed A. Babiker
Contributors are: Zahir M. Abdal-Kareem; Azza A. Abdel Aziz; Musa A. Abdul-Jalil; Munzoul M.A. Assal; Mohamed A. Babiker; Yazid Ben Hounet; Barbara Casciarri; Baudoin Dupret; Philippe Gout; Enrico Ille.
Democracy, State Making and Agrarian Transformation in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Femke Brandt and Grasian Mkodzongi
Contributors are: Kezia Batisai, Femke Brandt, Sarah Bruchhausen, Nerhene Davis, Elene Cloete, Tariro Kamuti, Tarminder Kaur, Grasian Mkodzongi, Camalita Naicker, Fani Ncapayi, Mnqobi Ngubane, and Chizuko Sato.
Language, Culture, Identity
Edited by Jacqueline Knörr and Wilson Trajano Filho
Making Modern African Subjects in Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes: A Love Story
In Aidoo’s Changes: A Love Story (1991), the characters are constantly on the move: tropes of mobility recur throughout the novel. Cars, hotels, business and leisure travel, modern technologies and the figure of what can be referred to as the Afropolitan avant la lettre play a pivotal role in embodying meanings that pertain to class, gender, globalization, and consumerism marking the postcolonial African condition, and give the novel an articulate contemporary character. This article adopts a wholesale understanding of mobility in order to explore the ways in which Aidoo’s characters employ different forms of mobility in their processes of self-fashioning as modern African subjects. The article draws attention to the anxiety that informs processes of self-fashioning among urban African elites, caught as they are between the tensions of the traditional and the modern.
The Nigerian civil war has left a lasting impact on the politics of Nigeria. It has also provided material for I.N.C. Aniebo’s Rearguard Actions. Given the prior success of his novel The Anonymity of Sacrifice, this collection of short stories expands his creative portfolio on the subject of war. Over and above the predilection of Biafran discourse for blaming others for Biafra’s failure, Aniebo’s depiction of the war calls attention to the failings of Biafra itself. On the strength of Aniebo’s stories, this paper seeks to examine the nature of the abuse of power in Biafra and to show how such abuse helped precipitate the collapse of the breakaway nation-state.
A Study of Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood
Nii Okain Teiko
Recent critical studies of men have focused on multiple masculinities and the need for a change in theorizing the hegemonic constructions of gender. This growing body of scholarship has influenced literary studies, particularly in the readings of male characters as presented in literary works. The portraiture of the male characters in Aidoo’s Changes and Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood has attracted the attention of critics who examine the conflicted hegemonic constructions of masculinity mediated by the powerful forces of colonialism and modernity. These critics contest the patriarchal privileges of masculinity and redefine the gender constructions of both sexes to reflect current studies which focus on the plurality, fluidity, and complexities of masculine roles. This paper argues that Aidoo and Emecheta’s novels depict a hybridism of masculinities, in the context of marriage, in which both the male and the female characters strive to maintain a balance between their traditional African roles as husbands/wives, fathers/mothers and maintain an imitated eurocentric display of love and affection in enacting their roles in the marital enterprise.
Abba A. Abba
Christopher Okigbo conveyed in his poetry the sense of patriotism and personal anguish at the monstrosity of a benighted nation. Some critics have argued that Okigbo was not only obsessive in his depictions of metaphors that incarnated the recurring trope of death, but also embodied a death wish culminating in his death in the Nigeria–Biafra war. They further argue that he embodied a suicidal impulse that motivated his general conduct and death in that battle. Unfortunately, only a handful of scholars have sought to contest this view and to illuminate Okigbo’s self-immolation in the name of a higher duty. To be sure, suicide and martyrdom may go beyond the question of dying to the problem of laying one’s death dramatically at someone else’s door. Following Kant’s theory of the ethical act, this paper undertakes a critical intervention that reappraises some of Okigbo’s poetry as well as documented accounts of his life in order to identify him appropriately: is he a genuine martyr or a mere suicide who presides ritually over his own dismemberment, or both? Examining lines of his poetry that have been misread as embodying his ‘haunting’ death-wish, on the one hand, and evidence of his self-giving impulse, on the other, the paper seeks to articulate how Okigbo as a tragic poet transcends his destiny by submitting to it—victor and victim at once. In its conclusion, the paper reconciles Okigbo’s will to heroic action with the symbolic meaning that is locked in his poetry in order to justify his ascension to the rank of martyr.
The Ushahidi’s Response to Kenya’s 2008 Post-Election Violence
Toyin Ajao and Cori Wielenga
The ubiquitous Internet platform in Africa has given rise to a new set of non-state actors responding to protracted conflicts through the use of new media technology. As a departure from a state-centric approach to addressing conflict in Africa, this interdisciplinary study explores the contribution of the public in responding to armed conflicts through citizen journalism. To unearth non-violent African digital innovations, this research explored the Ushahidi platform, which emerged as a response to Kenya’s 2008 post-election violence. Using a qualitative method, data was gathered through unstructured in-depth interviews. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The data showed the transformative role the Ushahidi platform played during Kenya’s electoral violence through crisis-mapping, the early warning multi-agent consortium, a constitutional referendum, and election monitoring. Evidence also emerged regarding the pioneer work of Ushahidi in other non-violent technological involvements in addressing crisis in Kenya.
Deconstructing Melancholia in Wumi Raji’s Rolling Dreams
The art of creative expression is a mentally tasking endeavour which requires intense probing of the creator’s inward states. Since writers create in solitude and and engage in dialogic strategies in shaping their imagery, they manifest ‘normal’ neurotic episodes, which are privileged as markers of artistic genius. Despair has thus been acknowledged as a significant feature of the creative imagination. Many writers script out their distressed moods, a paradoxical catharsis, in artistic mentation, that has become a major issue in contemporary studies of scriptotherapy, especially in Europe and North America. Studies of psychotherapy have revealed that the art of re-creating agonizing experiences brings mental restoration to the writer. Due to the emotional commitment and spontaneity required, poetry is clearly a convenient literary genre for the exploration of despondency and melancholic depression. However, this subject of poetry therapy has not been given adequate attention in Nigerian literary scholarship. The present study attempts an exemplary ‘poetic-diagnosis’ of melancholia in Wumi Raji’s Rolling Dreams. The article relies on psychoanalysis, a theory of the mind, deployed for the analysis of the abject imagery of the poems, and on deconstructionist theory, for autonomous and polysemous investigation of the melancholic poetic canvas of the collection.
A Meta-Analysis of Electorate Surveys in the Nigerian States of Lagos and Bayelsa
Audiences in Africa are a grossly under-researched demographic. This paper centres on the comparative analysis of two electoral audience-based surveys conducted between April and September 2012 in the Nigerian states of Bayelsa and Lagos; following the April 2011 presidential election in Nigeria that ushered the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan into power. The surveys sought to know the electorates’ reaction to the electoral campaign songs that endorsed Jonathan and how these songs informed their choice of candidate. The paper’s analysis combines an appreciation of the surveys’ results and the surveys’ procedure while focusing on the middle-ground between aesthetics and politics in the context.
Maurice Taonezvi Vambe
Recent surges and advances in the popular use of electronic technology such as Internet, email, iPad, iPhone, and touch-screens in Africa have opened up great communicative possibilities among ordinary people whose voices were previously marginalized in traditional elitist media. People far apart geographically and living in different times can communicate rapidly and with great ease. This technological revolution has challenged and broken down boundaries of dependence on television, newspapers, and novels, the traditional forms of communication. It is now possible to upload a novel onto an iPad and read it as one moves from place to place. The burden of carrying hard copies is relieved but not eradicated; in most African countries, including Zimbabwe (the centre of focus in the present article), the creative work of art or hard copy of a novel is still relied upon as source of information. There are creative, experimental innovations in the novel form in Zimbabwe which to some extent can justify one’s speaking of a hypertextual novel. This new type of novel incorporates multiple narratives, and sometimes deliberately uses genres such as the email form as a constitutive narrative style that confirms as well as destabilizes previous assumptions of single coherent stories told from one point of view. Using the concepts of hypertextuality, intertextuality, and Bakhtin’s notions of carnivalesque and heteroglossia in speech and written utterances, this article reconsiders the implications of the presence of ideologies of hypertextuality in one novel from Zimbabwe, Nyaradzo Mtizira’s The Chimurenga Protocol (2008). The article argues that the multiplicity of narratives constitutes the hypertextual dimension of the novelistic form.
Ignatius Chukwumah and Cassandra Ifeoma Nebeife
Sociopolitical phenomena such as corruption, political instability, (domestic) violence, cultural fragmentation, and the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970) have been central themes of Nigerian narratives. Important as these are, they tend to touch on the periphery of the major issue at stake, which is the vector of persecution underlying the Nigerian tradition in general and in modern Igbo Nigerian narratives in particular, novels and short stories written in English which capture, wholly or in part, the Igbo cosmology and experience in their discursive formations. The present study of such modern Igbo Nigerian narratives as Okpewho’s The Last Duty (1976), Iyayi’s Heroes (1986), Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), and other novels and short stories applies René Girard’s theory of the pharmakos (Greek for scapegoat) to this background of persecution, particularly as it subtends the condition of the Igbo in postcolonial Nigeria in the early years of independence.
Azeez Akinwumi Sesan
The popularity of Nollywood movies has established their relevance in cultural studies to interrogating afresh the presumed norms among people of ethno-cultural and racial difference. To this end, film critics have focused their attention on the theme and genre studies of Nollywood movies with a view to relating the issues in the film texts to the often heated sociological debates on coloniality in African socio-cultural and political experiences. Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 contributes to these raging debates through the motif of return (return to self, return of nation, and return to nation) that runs through the film text. This motif of return contributes to the overall film gestalt through characterization and plot. Postcolonial theory is adopted to describe the return motif through the investigation of consciousness, nostalgia, and trauma, as experienced individually or collectively. The theory explains the nature, pattern, and dimensions of adjustment and adaptation of individuals, communities, and the nation to complexity and dynamism of change during colonial encounters and the journey towards political independence on October 1. The kernel of the movie’s argument is that the country’s independence was heralded by hypocrisy, dishonesty, and violence. The movie thus questions the misconceived notion of racial purity by the white racists through their ignoble role in the return process of the country at the attainment of political independence on 1 October 1960.
Augustine Uka Nwanyanwu
Today African literature exhibits and incorporates the decentred realities of African writers themselves as they negotiate and engage with multifarious forms of diaspora experience, dislocation, otherness, displacement, identity, and exile. National cultures in the twenty-first century have undergone significant decentralization. New African writing is now generated in and outside Africa by writers who themselves are products of transcultural forms and must now interrogate existence in global cities, transnational cultures, and the challenges of immigrants in these cities. Very few novels explore the theme of otherness and identity with as much insight as Adichie’s Americanah. The novel brings together opposing cultural forms, at once transcending and celebrating the local, and exploring spaces for the self where identity and otherness can be viewed and clarified. This article endeavours to show how African emigrants seek to affirm, manipulate, and define identity, reclaiming a space for self where migrant culture is marginalized. Adichie’s exemplary focus on transcultural engagement in Americanah provides an accurate representation of present-day African literary production in its dialectical dance between national and international particularities.
The Utility of Journey in the Postcolonial African Bildungsroman
Although a number of studies of the African bildungsroman exist, they hardly explore the utility of journeying in the development of the protagonist. Some of these studies continue to reiterate the existence of the postcolonial African bildungsroman and its structure or how postcolonial writers have subverted this genre to narrativize the African experience of growth. However, the crucial role of travel in the African bildungsroman remains to be discussed comprehensively. It is my intention, therefore, to address this oversight and begin to fill the gap. My central contention is that travel is an essential catalyst in the process of personal growth. Chimamada Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus will function as my primary text for analysis, but I also make reference to other narratives as ancillary texts in order to accentuate the functionality of journey, its metaphoric implications, and its structural application to Purple Hibiscus as a postcolonial African bildungsroman. In order to understand how mobility facilitates the construction of consciousness in Purple Hibiscus, I situate Kambili’s personal growth around a kind of mobility which resides within the usual-everyday kind of journey, which is by no means mythic, to articulate a template that foregrounds Kambili’s struggle for individuation—familial confinement, separation-cum-isolation, initiation, and return.
Edited by Akinyinka Akinyoade, Ton Dietz and Chibuike Uche
Contributors include: Akinyinka Akinyoade, Kenneth Amaeshi, Crescence Marie France Okah Atenga, Ton Dietz, Françoise Okah Efogo, Emiel L. Eijdenberg, Abel Ezeoha, Yagoub Ali Gangi, Miguel Heilbron, Uwafiokun Idemudia, Nsubili Isaga, Afam Ituma, Jane N. O. Khayesi, Rebecca I. Kiconco, Jerry Kolo, Peter Knorringa, Addisu Lashitew, André Leliveld, Marta Lindvert, Nnamdi Madichie, Hesham E. Mohamed, Knowledge C. Mpofu, Albogast Kilangi Musabila, Ayodeji Olukoju, Eunice Abam Quaye, Miriam Siun, Arthur Sserwanga, Rob van Tulder, Chibuike Uche and Jaap Voeten.
Edited by Leo de Haan
Contemporary livelihood studies aim to contribute to the understanding of poor people’s lives with the ambition to enhance their livelihoods. Nowadays livelihood studies work from an holistic perspective on how the poor organize their livelihoods, in order to understand their social exclusion and to contribute to interventions and policies that intend to countervail that.
Contributors are: Clare Collingwood Esland, Ine Cottyn, Jeanne de Bruijn, Leo de Haan, Charles do Rego, Benjamin Etzold, Urs Geiser, Jan Willem le Grand, Griet Steel, Paul van Lindert, Annelies Zoomers.
Un récit en langue mandinka de la Guinée-Bissau
Cornelia Giesing and Denis Creissels
Le texte diffère d'autres qui se focalisent sur un unique fondateur-patriarche, Tiramakan de l'épopée de Sunjata. Galisa parle du sud-est du Kaabu, à la frontière avec la Guinée. Il ajoute des couleurs locales au modèle mandinka, évoquant la puissance féminine et certains conflits violents.
Edition of a recital in Mandinka by Maalaŋ Galisa (October 1988) on the political constitution and living conditions in Kaabu, a territory situated between present Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, known since the 16th century, definitely destroyed in 1867. The narrative presents a range of topics covering governance, codes of conduct of warriors, clerics, slaves and 'strangers', rules of slavery, marriage and succession, the cohabitation of different religions, relations of age and gender.
This text is distinctive from others focussing on a single founder-patriarch, Tiramakan of the Epic of Sunjata. Galisa focuses on South-eastern Kaabu, bordering on the region of Labé (Guinea). He adds local colours to the Mandinka model, depicting powerful women and violent conflicts resulting from injustice.
Of Spirit, Slave and Sea
Eric Montgomery and Christian Vannier
Edited by Kurt Beck, Gabriel Klaeger and Michael Stasik
Contributors are: Kurt Beck, Amiel Bize, Michael Bürge, Luca Ciabarri, Gabriel Klaeger, Mark Lamont, Tilman Musch, Michael Stasik, Rami Wadelnour.
Godwin Aondofa Ikyer
The world is enmeshed in a political and economic downturn, the environment is increasingly being polluted and destroyed, and development models, mostly Western, have cruised abroad, to disappointing gasps of neoliberal delight, in their aspiration to charm a wider population. Developing countries and marginal communities together with their subsuming cultures, ethno-science, engineering, technology, arts and crafts, and creative genius are undermined, their values reduced to mere ‘primitivism’, their vibrant intrinsic strength attenuated by the mesmerizing jargon of technocracy into genetically modified values endorsed by Western-trained intellectuals in these same communities. This dynamic has denied these communities the opportunity to explore their own natural and intellectual potential for culturally based science and to organize and strategize folklore for environmental and historically founded Nigerian truths that can help in the exploitation of resources for good health and economic development. The essay investigates this culturally-based science, proposing the deployment of folklore with a view to full participation in cultural science-based research and application. The scholarly task is to suggest ways of bridging the gap between the potentialities of autochthonous lore and Western science.
Celebrating the Nigerian State through Ademola Dasylva’s Songs of Odamolugbe
Stephen O. Solanke
The Nigerian political milieu has, for more than five decades since independence, been bedevilled by adventurist civilian and military leaders, coups d’ état, and a seemingly ‘docile’ citizenry (who receive the ‘fallout’ of bad governance). This political landscape saw a handful of democratic governments (two overthrown by putsch). These leadership swaps have resulted in no major changes in the socio-political and economic lives of the led. In his poem collection Songs of Odamolugbe, Ademola Dasylva explores imagery, realistic symbolism, and revolutionary poetry to paint, recall, and re-live various past and present debilitating national issues engendered by groups and personalities. This essay draws on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theory of the unconscious. Freud distinguishes between psychoanalysis as i) a method for investigating unconscious mental processes and ii) a method for treating neurotic disorders. There is the subtle examination of the mental workings of the leadership and the led in and towards governance. This essay seeks to explore how Dasylva exposes leaders’ mental flaws, egoistic behaviour, and wrongly placed ‘patriotism’ and seeks redeeming positives in his poetry of social protest and resistance. The poetry rejects the cerebral, laissez-faire ‘sit-down-look’ attitude of the people, encouraging instead a different type of analytical and active ‘patriotism’ imbued with the fresh spirit of ‘Naija’. The essay affirms that there should be full and positive participation in the polity and development of the country by both the leaders and the led.
The Evolutionary Phases of the African Woman in Nigerian Theatre
To say that African women have come a long way is to state the obvious. In economic, spiritual, political, and educational terms, African women have made significant contributions to Africa’s development. In literature generally, but especially in drama, the phases of the African woman are easily traceable. The maxim used to be ‘the place of a woman is in the kitchen’ or ‘women are to be seen and not heard’. Accordingly, African women were depicted in early modern African plays as docile, submissive, cooperative, and obedient. However, contemporary African drama shows that African women can no longer be tagged in this way. Therefore, in this essay, exploring various shades of feminism, we trace the evolutionary phases of African women from Wole Soyinka’s Sidi in The Lion and the Jewel to Tracy Utoh-Ezeajugh’s Ene in Our Wives Have Gone Mad Again, to show that African women have developed from the docile to the rebellious and even ruthless. We shall draw our illustrations from plays across Africa.
Identity Negotiation in Nigerian Army Barracks
Akinmade Timothy Akande
Nigerian military army barracks are a rich domain in which soldiers and officers display different strands of their identity. A typical army barracks in Nigeria often accommodates many ethnic groups owing to the federal policy governing the recruitment of both soldiers and officers. Thus, it is common in the barracks for military men to be aware of their ethnic, linguistic, religious, and regional affiliations and to relate to one another based on these various affiliations. It is against this backdrop that the present study seeks to investigate how soldiers and officers make use of linguistic resources available to them to convey religious, occupational, ethnic, and linguistic identity in the barracks. Data for the study were collected from 46 military men, soldiers and officers, in four military barracks. The locationss are Akure, Enugu, Saki, and Zaria Barracks. The instruments used in gathering the data were questionnaire, face-to-face interviews, and participant observation. The study revealed that both soldiers and officers represent their occupational identity through the specific use of certain lexical items and slang, while their ethnic identity is signified through the use of ethnic and other local languages. Their personal names were also observed to be symptomatic of their religious identity.
The Example of Femi Osofisan
Tony E. Afejuku and E.B. Adeleke
Femi Osofisan belongs to the new breed of writers, inadequately referred to as the ‘second generation of writers’. An accomplished writer whose works include plays, poems, essays, and novels, Osofisan is widely regarded as the most significant playwright in Africa after Soyinka. As a committed playwright, Osofisan focuses on the reappraisal of his immediate society and the challenges of living in this society. He calls attention to all that is undesirable in the politics, economy, and religion of contemporary Nigeria and asks for a change of attitude which, hopefully, will bring sanity to the country. One of the means by which Osofisan achieves his artistic objective is the use of lore from Yorùbá mythology. Specifically, we shall show in this essay that Osofisan makes use of the myths of Ṣango and Èṣù and the legends of Môrèmi and Solarin as a means of thematic exploitation. By so doing, he creates a unique contemporary Nigerian theatre which other playwrights emulate and develop. We shall use Many Colours Make the Thunder King, Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels, Morountodun, and Who’s Afraid of Solarin? as our illustrative texts.
Harnessing Its Potential for National Integration
Idaevbor Bello and James O. Okpiliya
This essay argues for the potential of children’s literature in Nigeria as a genre serving as a means of building nationhood in the minds of children growing up in the country. It posits that because of the greed of the ruling elites, the potential in terms of both human and natural resources was frittered away after independence, thereby vitiating the function of children’s literature in helping reinforce Nigeria’s presence in the comity of nations. It is still possible to retrace our steps as a country by progressively deploying such literature, through its themes and character delineation, to inculcating in children a sense of nationhood and patriotism so they can relate across both ethnic and religious divisions to espouse ideals as a people with a common destiny. The literature that is the focus here is that written in English as the language of interaction among the different ethnic groups in the country, and as the language of instruction in our schools.
The Example of Niyi Osundare in Village Voices
This essay proceeds from the consideration of literature as a medium of disseminating information to society at large, and argues that poetry, being a branch of literature, lends its resources and compact form to this function of information dissemination. It goes further to argue that Niyi Osundare in Village Voices, like the town-crier in our traditional societies, clearly brings to the attention of the leaders and the led important developments within society. However, he does not stop at informing society of those developments, especially the negative conduct of its leaders, but goes further to warn the latter of the consequences of persisting in their negative ways, and, addressing the mass of the people, calls for the necessary action that would extricate and free them from their bad leaders.
Oyeh O. Otu
The prolificity, contemporaneity, and topicality of Wale Okediran’s themes are irrefutable indices to his claim to a place in the Nigerian literary canon. His engagement with and exposé of Nigeria’s intractable neurotic leadership disorders are timely and highly commendable. Also worthy of note are the promotion and popularity that the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has given his latest novel, Tenants of the House, as it fills a significant gap and promises a positive turn in the development of Nigerian literature. This essay examines Okediran’s topical themes in relation to his craftsmanship; it investigates his deployment of aesthetic devices in the realization of his artistic vision. It fundamentally asks: what constitutes literariness in Okediran’s novels? Where does this belong in the Nigerian tradition of the novel? If it marks a shift from the conventional novelistic tradition, in what ways does it advance it? Considering that Okediran is one of Nigeria’s most prolific contemporary writers, it is important to determine his place in the Nigerian canon and also to analyse critically the factors responsible for that position.
A Reading of Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela
Dele Bamidele and Blessing Abuh
Feminism has no unanimous acceptance in Africa, so women who are associated with it are regarded as deviants or radicals who have chosen to kick against the norms and traditions of traditional Africa. This study explores the plight of suppression and exploitation experienced by women and also revealed the dangerous and difficult situations that often reduce women to mental wrecks. Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela is the focus of this essay, as the novel accounts for the entrapment and subjugation of women caused by traditional laws and customs, as well as their determined effort to survive in a patriarchal culture. Njabulo examined the lives of five South African women in post-apartheid South Africa, who had to wait indefinitely for their absent husbands. This essay attempts to create awareness of the need for societal reforms in order to improve the lot of women in patriarchal societies and encourage cooperation between women in order to stand up to the challenges of life and assert their individual worth and value, as espoused in the novel. This study concludes that the subjugation of women by patriarchal societies is to the detriment of the family and society at large. Thus, there is a need to re-evaluate and redefine gender roles in African societies in order to establish mutual understanding and relationships between the genders.
Representing Female Sexualities in Selected Contemporary Poetry by Malawian Women
Asante Lucy Mtenje
This essay examines how contemporary Malawian female poets writing in the post-dictatorship era engage with aspects that inflect female sexuality such as eroticism, sexual desire, marriage, sexual violence, and HIV/AIDS through their poetry and how they represent these aspects against normative expectations of gender and sexuality. I am interested in how these poets depict the complex mediation of female sexualities by the state, the family, religious, and cultural bodies and how, in turn, they represent sexuality as simultaneously a domain of restriction, repression, and danger as well as a domain of exploration, pleasure, and agency. Through an analysis of selected works by Malawian female poets, I examine how the authors negotiate issues of female sexuality within the new democratic dispensation which have traditionally been relegated to the margins in favour of more politically ‘relevant’ issues. I argue that these poets challenge the monolithic status quo through which Malawian women’s sexualities have been constructed by portraying the nuances, complexities, and ambiguities that characterize female sexuality in Malawi.
Police Work in Ghana
Ethnographic Perspectives from the Middle East and Beyond
Edited by Daniele Cantini
The strengths of this book are its ethnographic detail, which shows the complexity and fast changing forms of private higher education, and its reluctance to jump to simplified labelling of public and private. It is a model for further ethnographic studies of local developments in higher education.
Contributors are: Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Daniele Cantini, Carmela Chávez Irigoyen, Enrico Ille, Sylvie Mazzella, Alexander Mitterle, Annemarie Profanter, and Susan Wright.
Historicizing Horrors of the Past in Femi Fatoba’s They Said I Abused the Government and Wole Soyinka’s Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known
The thematics of Femi Fatoba’s They Said I Abused the Government (2001) and Wole Soyinka’s Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known (2002) demonstrate the potential of art to bear witness to the bizarre, depressing anomie bedevilling Nigeria between 1993 and 1998. This anomie was ruinously orchestrated by the power-hungry military, who annulled the free and fair presidential election won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola. This military incursion into Nigeria’s political sphere was facilitated by a nebulous nationhood plagued by contending differences among its federating units. The notorious brutality of General Abacha’s regime was a cavalcade of incarceration and killings of real and imagined political dissidents. Especially, outspoken politicians who fell victim to unstable power-plays were kept in detention facilities across the country. They Said I Abused the Government and Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known’s articulation of these ‘years of the locusts’ is epitomized by the closing of newspapers, brain drain, and the imagery of stasis and displacement. These occurrences are captured by the accusatory tone of Femi Fatoba and Wole Soyinka’s poetics as they protest the military brigandage in their works. The essay seeks to explicate how protest and satire have been harnessed to articulate the subversion of nationalism in postcolonial Nigeria.
History, Law, and Development
Ismael R. Mbise’s novel Blood on Our Land (1974) re-creates the events known as the Meru Land Case, when in 1951 a group of Wameru from northern Tanganyika petitioned the UN to prevent the British authorities from evicting them from their land. The petition drew international attention to the area for a fleeting moment and, though unsuccessful, it has since entered the national imaginary as an original gesture of peaceful resistance to colonial control. Mbise’s re-creation has also been read as a critical allegory of the implementation of villagization associated with the policies of Ujamaa. The novel does this and more in its brilliant comparative analysis of the vectors of violence within the politics of language, history, and representation, the practices of Indirect Rule and its force of law, and development and its mechanics of ‘modernization’: a triple play.
Dorrit van Dalen
Politics, Economy and Society – The Era Pohamba, 2004-2015
Hilary C. Palmer and Malyn D.D. Newitt
Magnus Echtler and Asonzeh Ukah
Jonathan A. Draper
A Hermeneutico-Reconstructionist Appraisal
Ademola Kazeem Fayemi
Discourse on the possibility and necessity of an African environmental ethics is widespread in contemporary African studies, albeit with new dimensions and emphasis. With the growing work of such scholars as S. Ogungbemi, A. Fadahunsi, G. Tangwa, P. Ojomo, C.J. Ekwealo, and W. Kelbessa, among others exploring (in different ways) the thesis of indigenous African environmental values and principles which are considered sacrosanct in the restoration of humans and the environment in Africa, it is less controversial whether or not there is awareness of environmental ethical thinking among Africans. Beyond this theoretical polemic, the present essay observes the paucity of environmental activism and movements in Nigeria, whose underlying principles and tenets are seen to be incongruent with the ostensible African environmental ethics and values. This lacuna, it is here argued, aligns with the failure to match theory with praxis in many African states—the problem of wrong prioritizing and a conceptually deficient framework for action. This essay accordingly questions some previous outlines of African ethical environmental theory, with a view to establishing a cogent hermeneutico-reconstructive theory of African environmental management, one that gives prominence to ethical theorizing without neglecting activism.
Dorrit van Dalen
Clifford Ezekwe Nwanna
Most Western legal philosophers did not have Africa in mind when institutionalzing the meaning of law; hence, they consider African customary law as obscure and undesirable. This Western notion of the African judicial system is misleading—there was no record of breakdown of law and order in pre-colonial Africa, where only customary laws operated. This essay examines the consequences of the imposition of the Western legal system on Africa using the Awka civil war (1900–1904) as an example. The study reveals that the African traditional legal system was broadly accepted by the people as a means of providing stability, certainty, and social change. It represents the indigenous and authentic law of the people.
Dorrit van Dalen
A Comparative Study of Calixthe Beyala’s Amours sauvages and Saint Janet’s Faaji Plus
Uchenna Bethrand Anih
Iconoclasm is a term that has been used to characterize any subversive, transgressive, and blasphemous adventure. There is abundant evidence that the African female creative impulse is geared towards subverting the existing social order as dominated and controlled by men. The two African female artists whose works are analysed in this study employ vivid sexual imagery to challenge the hegemony of male-oriented discourse. This essay examines the iconoclastic tendencies to be found in the Cameroonian Calixthe Beyala’s Amours sauvages and the Nigerian Saint Janet’s Faaji Plus. It concludes that although the two writers belong to different linguistic and geographical regions, and indeed to different generations, their works provide clear evidence of subversive art and depict a radical reaction to phallocentric norms and values in the African context.
A Brief Review
Michael Tosin Gbogi
Hilary C. Palmer and Malyn D.D. Newitt
Hilary C. Palmer and Malyn D.D. Newitt
The Example of Nigerian Hip Hop Music
Michael Tosin Gbogi
Recent years have seen an explosion in the production and consumption of hip hop music in Nigeria. From the MTV Africa Music Awards to the BET Awards, Nigerian hip hop heads have continued to push the boundaries of their music on the international front, linking it, in the process, to a sort of global Hip Wide Web. Yet, despite these breakthroughs, the general perception of the discursive landscape of this music is not altogether positive in Nigeria itself. In particular, the message(s) of the music’s lyrics has been severally described as a venture that has no meaning beyond its noisy character. This is especially the case when the music is being evaluated by older generations of Nigerian critics who do not share in, and are almost averse to, the hip hop culture that has newly ascended as the dominant youth culture. Problematizing these evaluations under five paradigms—crossing, multilingualism, and styling, repetition, inversion of order, meaninglessness, and pornography—this essay contends that what appears as meaninglessness in Nigerian hip hop music inscribes a masked matrix of meanings in the postmodern age. It argues that the elements of the lyrical gamut that are often perceived as meaningless are in fact meaningful and valuable resources that the artists, and by extension their audience members, harness to perform their generational ingroupness and multiplex postmodern identities.
Re-Reading Shimmer Chinodya’s Can We Talk and Other Stories
Ifeyinwa Genevieve Okolo
The essay re-reads all of the stories in Shimmer Chinodya’s collection Can We Talk and Other Stories as one entity—a collage—that establishes the framework of a bildungsroman. Here, the exploration of the bildungsroman is limited to the tracing of levels/stages of growth and is extended to the protagonist’s adult life, against the traditional early years of life. From the opening story, of a three-year-old protagonist looking at the adult world through the stories of different protagonists who grapple with different stages of life, to the last story, of an embittered husband in a dysfunctional marriage, the collection strongly suggests a conscious arrangement conveying a sense of a coming of age, both individual and national. In essence, at the end of reading the collection, there is a strong indication that the different situations of the lives of the different protagonists of the eleven stories in the collection build up to yield a unified sense of growth.
Grace Uchechukwu Adinku
The girl child’s transition from childhood to adulthood, Dipo, is of prime importance in the development of the Krobo community of Ghana. The transition acknowledges the part women play in the welfare of society; hence the performance of elaborate puberty rites for girls. The performance of Dipo puberty rites is therefore regarded as a means of unifying teenage women in their social role and integrating the arts of the Krobo people. Furthermore, it reveals the significance of these different art forms in the life of the Krobo people and in Dipo performance in particular. The problem, however, is that although there are several artistic elements embedded in the performance of Dipo, they have not been documented as art forms; nor have they constituteded a site for critical discussion and appraisal of Ghanaian performing arts. Early historical and anthropological scholarship on Dipo almost completely overlooks these artistic elements. This essay responds to this critical gap by situating Dipo in the context of these artifacts as displayed in multiple phases of ritual ‘installation’ performance. This essay also identifies and examines the specific artistic elements featuring in the rite in order to highlight their embeddedness in and significance to the Krobo people, and, by extension, Ghana. The artistic elements in Dipo include ritualized visual, verbal, body, and theatrical elements, all of which are active and inseparable in the rites. As such, these art forms are analysed and discussed by means of figures and plates, which confirm visually their existence, aesthetic significance, and cultural value.
African Womanist Response in Ojaide’s The Activist
Charles A. Bodunde and Saeedat B. Aliyu
Western ecofeminists’ perspective on the connections between the domination, oppression, and abuse of women and the abuse of the natural environment would be an overgeneralization of the challenges facing women and the natural environment across cultures and spaces. The position in this essay is that the challenges faced by women derive mostly from cultural factors whereas the contemporary degradation of the environment stems mainly from economic considerations. This essay, rather than associating the domination of African women with the pillaging of the natural environment, contends that African women themselves are frontline environmental activists who see the linkage between sustaining the natural environment and the successful fulfilment of the biological and cultural role of nurturing. By stressing the importance of achieving environmental sustainability, the African perspective of a symbiotic relationship between man and the environment emerges. This essay thus concludes that as the contemporary world assumes concern for gender equality and responsibility for environmental sustainability, ingenious solutions to these challenges from Africa need to be recognized, adopted, and adapted to diversify global approaches to the challenges of gender equity and environmental balance.
Implications for Education and Culture
In spite of the laudable political and humanitarian efforts to tackle the cyclical ethnic-related conflicts in Burundi, the impact of the refugee and returnee phenomena on the culture, education, and economy of the country and beyond has not yet received its full due attention. This study aims at increasing awareness on this issue. It first identifies the refugee- and returnee-related new linguistic trends in Burundi, together with their subsequent impact on education. How many Burundians learned Kiswahili in exile in Tanzania or in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not only for educational or professional purposes but also for survival, but who, back in Burundi, saw their language of exile become an obstacle to the pursuit of a standard education? Why has their plight not attracted as much attention as did that of war orphans, widows, and former child soldiers? This study also surveys the cultural exchanges between Burundian refugees and returnees with their host country and their motherland.