This volume marks the 25th anniversary of Karin Barber’s ground-breaking article, "Popular Arts in Africa", which stimulated new debates about African popular culture and its defining categories. Focusing on performances, audiences, social contexts and texts, contributors ask how African popular cultures contribute to the formation of an episteme. With chapters on theater, Nollywood films, blogging, and music and sports discourses, as well as on popular art forms, urban and youth cultures, and gender and sexuality, the book highlights the dynamism and complexity of contemporary popular cultures in sub-Saharan Africa.
Focusing on the streets of Africa, especially city streets where different cultures and cultural personalities meet, the book asks how the category of "the people" is identified and interpreted by African culture-producers, politicians, religious leaders, and by "the people" themselves. The book offers a nuanced, strongly historicized perspective in which African popular cultures are regarded as vehicles through which we can document ordinary people’s vitality and responsiveness to political and social transformations.
"A great book that draws together some of the best scholarship in the field and traces new directions for the study of African popular culture."
--David Murphy, Professor of French and Postcolonial Studies, University of Stirling
Foreword by Karin Barber 1. Introduction: Popular Culture in Africa: the Episteme of the Everyday Stephanie Newell and Onookome Okome I. Theoretical overviews 2.On Creativity in African Urban Life: African Cities as Sites of Creativity and Emancipation Till Förster 3.Our Tradition is a Very Modern Tradition: From Cultural Tradition to Popular Culture in South Western Nigeria Will Rea II. Gender & Sexuality in African Popular Cultures 4.Sex and Relationship Education of the Streets: Advice on Love, Sex, and Relationships in Popular Swahili Newspaper Columns and Pamphlets in Tanzania Uta Reuster-Jahn 5. The Other Woman’s Man is so Delicious: Performing Sudanese "Girls’ Songs" Eiman Abbas H. El-Nour 6. Bingo: Francophone African Women and the Rise of the Glossy Magazine" Tsitsi Jaji 7. ‘Better Ghana [Agenda]’?: Akosua’s Political Cartoons and Critical Public Debates in Contemporary Ghana Joseph Oduro-Frimpong 8.Desired State: Black Economic Empowerment and the South African Popular Romance Christopher Warnes III: The Place of Humor 9.Standup Comedy and the Ethics of Popular Performance in Nigeria Moradewun Adejunmobi 10.Literary Insurgence in the Kenyan Urban Space: Mchongoano and the Popular Art Scene in Nairobi Miriam Musonye IV: Popular Discourses of the Streets 11.Music for Troubled Times: Caiphus Semenya’s Nomalanga and Zuluboy’s Nomalanga Mntakwethu Innocentia Jabulisile Mhlambi 12.Archives of the Present in Parselelo Kantai’s Writing Grace A. Musila 13. Heshimu Ukuta: Local Language Radio and the Performance of Fan Culture in Kenya Peter Simatei 14.Football as Social Unconscious or the Cultural Logic of Late Imperialism in Postcolonial Nigeria James Tar Tsaaior V. Coda 15.Lazymen’s Clinic: A Musing on Everyday Life and Research" Ranka Primorac