Abstracts – Africa e Mediterraneo n. 87/2017

Irene Brunotti, Sauti ya Kisonge: Images and Imaginaries Debated on the Cyberbaraza

A blackboard in Zanzibar town, known as Sauti ya Kisonge (the voice of Kisonge), has reached a global public through the dynamics of digital media. Famous because of its controversial politically-themed messages written on it daily in chalk, it voices one-sided CCM (the ruling party in Zanzibar) political statements addressing Zanzibar’s local public. Drawing from Roman Loimeier’s notion of baraza as «an important feature of the Zanzibari public sphere», this study uses the unique alternative and “locally” grounded concept of cyberbaraza to look at the nature of images, and the ways they are shared on digital social networks as an area of political debate.

Dieynaba Gabrielle Ndiaye, Money Can Buy Friends: Wealth and Relationships in Senegalese TV Series

Traditionally, in the wolof culture of Senegal, relationships with and care for others, especially among family members, are highly valued. But perhaps something is changing, as insinuated by the popular tv series Dinama Nekh. Consumerism, individualism and monetization have negative effects on people’s willingness to care for others, even in communitarian African countries. These negative effects have been analyzed by academics, filmmakers and TV series producers alike. In this paper, the author first reviews relevant academic research, then examines, with qualitative research methodology, how these effects are portrayed in this Senegalese TV series.

Nelly Diop, A Society on the Stage: Theater and Television Drama in Senegal from Independence to the Present

In this article Nelly Diop introduces the new Senegalese cultural phenomenon from the local production of television series – telenovelas, soap operas. Moving from an analysis of the theatrical tradition (in particular, the Sorano Theatre), she analyses how nowadays television series contribute to shaping a new identity and aspirations of a whole generation. What makes these narratives, characters and their language so popular? And how are social issues, including gender, developed and perceived through soap operas?

Rossana Mamberto, Le Journal Rappé: Daily News as a Rap

The article describes the experience of Le journal rappé, a format started by the Senegalese rappers Xuman and Keyti that offers insights and reports in the form of a rap through daily radio news broadcasts. The two hosts are prominent figures on the Senegalese rap scene. Together they founded the format as a way of reaching new generations who speak their language. The idea has been so successful that it has been picked up by other rappers in several African countries and even outside the continent.

Rossana Mamberto, Félix Fokoua. Narrating Camerun with a Smartphone

Félix Fokoua is a Camerunese digital artist born in 1991 in Yaoundé who has recently achieved national fame thanks to his illustrations. His main works are “Le clin d’oeil”, a series of short stories published on his Facebook page, and “Secteur 4ème Stade”, longer comics that are set in the homonymous imaginary neighborhood and that depict a snapshot of Camerunese society. More recently, Fokoua has released a very successful set of emojis for the Telegram app that portray national public figures.

Rossana Mamberto, Your Dream Wedding Day with Kenya Wedding

The online platform Kenya Wedding, set up in 2010, offers a full range of services, consultations and experts to guide the couple through the stages of their wedding preparation. The website advertises products and services for weddings, professional advice, honeymoon packages, cake and dress suggestions and a very active community attracting visitors not only from Kenya, but also from the USA, United Kingdom and other African countries.

Rossana Mamberto, Africa on the rise, changing the African conversation. A new wind is blowing in the web

Established in Lagos in 2013, africa-ontherise.com is a platform divided into different areas (business, economy, sport, culture, news, leadership, diplomacy) with two purposes. Firstly, to encourage African potential through the sharing of successful content, good practices and positive experiences and, secondly, to change the global narration on Africa as a poor, economically unattractive continent by involving every possible actor in development and renaissance projects.

Rossana Mamberto, Circumspecte.Com: Inform, Interact, Inspire

Circumspecte.com is a platform founded by the Ghanaian blogger Jemila Abdulai in 2007. It is about the latest news and events, development, lifestyle, business, economy, leisure time, arts and culture. It is tailored to reach a pan-African target – including the diaspora – and, after winning the African Blogger Awards in 2016, has seen a dramatic increase in viewers. The website fully exploits the possibilities offered by social media in the context of communication and sharing of useful information, with a particular focus on business and social themes.

Shina Alimi, Manufacturing Image: Nigerian Tribune and the Making of Political Heroes and Villains in Nigeria, 1960-1965

In the 1960s, the construction of “heroes” and “villains” in the editorials, articles and cartoons of the Nigerian Tribune showed an unscrupulous use of newspapers for political propaganda. These narra- tives became the foundation on which public opinions were moulded. The focus of this paper is to examine how the Nigerian Tribune, the dominant newspaper in the old western region made and unmade heroes, moulded images of leaders and tensed up political crises in the region between 1960 and 1965. The study adopts historical approach and analyses relevant selected editorial comments and cartoons.

Giacomo Orsini, Deconstructing Europe’s Permanent Migrants Crisis: a Critical Look at the EU Governance of the Border in the Mediterranean and North Africa

European policies to manage and control third-country-mobility and residence have become increasingly restrictive and securitized. As described in this paper, a complex governance system was developed to control and limit the access of unwanted third-country-nationals.

Yet, such multiplication and de-territorialisation of border functions does little to actually control and limit irregular migration in Europe. Rather, “securitized” border and migration management works to disproportionally increase the dangers of migrating irregularly, while enhancing societal anxieties related to migration. Despite the clear lack of success, “securitized” solutions continue to attract political and societal support in response to those almost chronic crises that they generate.

Marwa Hagi, Barriers or Bridges? A Student at the UN Secretariat Building in New York

Marwa Hagi was born in Bologna to Libyan parents. Over time her bilingualism has fuelled a strong passion for languages and inspired her to choose an academic and professional career in this field. Hagi was the only Italian among 60 students to receive an award at Many Languages, One World, a contest organised by ELS (Educational Services) and UNAI (United Nations Academic Impact). She was given the chance to read her winning composition at the UN Secretariat Building in New York.

Marie-José Hoyet, 2017 in Paris: An African year?

A number of different exhibitions in Paris relate to the themes of African art: from the Musée Dapper with the Chefs d’oeuvre d’Afrique exhibition, to the Musée du Quai Branly and its L’Afrique des routes, 2017 can be considered an “African year”. Many other places also showcased interesting collections such as La Villette and the Vuitton Foundation. This impressive production incorporates different artistic fields such as music, theater, dance and cinema.

Mauro Bucci, Hotel Splendid. Representing Migrations Through Ethnographic Cinema

From an inside perspective, the Hotel Splendid movie explores the daily life of a group of migrants living in a reception center in Italy. The result of a 12-month fieldwork project, the documentary by Mauro Bucci attempts to represent this complex reality without stereotypes using ethnographic research tools.