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Media and Identity in Africa

Edited by Kimani Njogu, John F M Middleton

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Studies of the media in Africa, incorporating both African and international perspectives, are few. The thirty papers collected here were presented at a seminar organised and hosted by the Kenya-based Twaweza Communications and the International African Institute in Nairobi in 2004. They demonstrate how media outlets are used to perpetuate, question or modify the unequal power relations between the North and the South. Focusing on east Africa, the papers include discussions of the construction of old and new social entities, as defined by class, gender, ethnicity, political and economic differences, wealth, poverty, cultural behaviour, language and religion.

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Prologue: The Nairobi Seminar, K.Njogu and J. Middleton
Part I: The media, community, and identity
1. Orality, the Media and New Popular Culture in Africa, Karin Barber
2. The Media in Social Development in Contemporary Africa, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
3. Language and the Media in Africa: Between the Old Rmpire and the New, Alamin Mazrui
4. Media in Africa: Strangers in a Mirror? Goretti Linda Nassanga
5. Africa's Media: Democracy and Belonging, Francis Nyamnjoh
6. Representation of Africa in the Western Media: Challenges and Opportunities, John Kiarie wa Njogu
7. Media Consumerism and Identity Transformation in Local Communities, Eric Masinde Aseka
8. African Intellectuals in a Hostile Media Environment, Macharia Munene
Part II: The media and identity: the global media
9. Book and Newspaper Publishing, Cecilia Kimani
10. Pentecostalism and the Modern Audio-Visual Media, Birgit Meyer
11. Rekindling Efficacy: Story-Telling for Health, Kimani Njogu
12. The Media in Education, Charles Ngome
13. Horn of Africa and Kenya Diaspora Websites as Alternative Media Sources, Ann Biersteker
14. Popular Dance Music and the Media, John Collins
15. Media Parenting and the Construction of Media Identities in Northern Nigerian Muslim Hausa Films, Abdalla Uba Adamu
Part III: The media and identity: the local media
16. To Make Strange Things Possible: The Photo Montages of the Bakor Photostudio in Lamu, Heike Behrend
17. Musical Iimages and Imaginations: Tanzania Music Videos, Kelly Askew
18. Political Ridicule: Medialized Notions of Transparent Concealment in Wahome Mutahi's Plays, Bantu Mwaura
19. Names, Cloth, and Identity: A Case from West Africa, Michelle Gilbert
20. Museums in Africa, Simiyu Wandibba
21. Literary Prizes and Writing in Africa, Walter Bgoya
22. Innovating 'AlterNative' Identity: Nairobi Matatu Culture, Mbugua wa Mungai
23. Bringing Change through Laughter: Cartooning in Kenya, Patrick Gathara and Mary Kabura Wanjau
Epilogue: In the Name of Similitude, V.Y.Mudimbe
List of Contributors.

About the Author

Kimani Njogu is Director of Twaweza Communications and former associate professor of African languages at Kenyatta University in Kenya. Kimani Njogu was formerly Associate Professor of KiSwahili and African Languages, Kenyatta University, Nairobi. He has done linguistic research among Swahili of Kenya, and is a writer and producer of social change soap operas in several African, Caribbean and Asian countries. His main publications include The Teaching of Literature: Theory and Method, 1999 (in KiSwahili and awarded the Noma Award for Publishing); Reading Poetry as Dialogue: An East African Poetic Tradition, 2004; and Zilazala (A Play), 2006.

John Middleton was Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies at Yale University. Professor Middleton's research interests focussed on social anthropological research in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Zanzibar and Kenya. He held positions at University College; the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), University of London; and at Cape Town, Northwestern, New York, Frankfurt and Yale Universities. Professor Middleton was formerly Editor of Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute (1972-79), and edited the Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara (New York, 1997) and the New Encyclopedia of Africa (Michigan, 2007).


…a collective snap-shot of the variety, complexity, embeddedness and fecundity of African cultural production in a wide variety of interlocking media.
- Graham Furniss, Professor of African Language Literature, and Pro-Director, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
'The contributions are wide-ranging, reflecting a broad interpretation of media. That is one of its great strengths, building on a widely varied expertise and experience of the contributors. Another great strength is that what the contributors offer is an African-centred view, where for many years the view of Africa has been a western-based view ... The rich profusion of topics covered in this volume is impressive. They include popular dance music, soap operas, clothing as a form of communication (in the Akwapim kingdom in Ghana), political ridicule and cartoons.'
- Bill Kirkman, Volume 98, Issue 404, The Round Table
The volume has almost everything for everyone because of the range of variety in the contributors' disciplinary approach and density of style and language. For a book aimed at meeting the needs of academic and general audiences, Media in Africa is an invaluable acquisition.
- African Studies Quarterly
…an extremely valuable addition to the not-very-large body of academic writing on media in Africa… this comprehensive anthology is timely.
- Bodil Folke Frederiksen, Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark

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