The New Talking Drums of Everyday Africa
'We cannot imagine life now without a mobile phone' is a frequent comment when Africans are asked about mobile phones. They have become part and parcel of the communication landscape in many urban and rural areas of Africa and the growth of mobile telephony is amazing: from 1 in 50 people being users in 2000 to 1 in 3 in 2008. Such growth is impressive but it does not even begin to tell us about the many ways in which mobile phones are being appropriated by Africans and how they are transforming or are being transformed by society in Africa. This volume ventures into such appropriation and mutual shaping. Rich in theoretical innovation and empirical substantiation, it brings together reflections on developments around the mobile phone by scholars of six African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania) who explore the economic, social and cultural contexts in which the mobile phone is being adopted, adapted and harnessed by mobile Africa.
ISBN 9789956558537 | 184 pages | 244 x 170 mm | 2009 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback
“The astounding uptake of the mobile phone in African societies raises a range of interesting and complicated questions. […]This timely book refuses easy answers of the technological determinist kind, but seeks to understand mobile phones as part of the everyday lived experience of Africans in all its precariousness and unpredictability. Its multi-dimensional approach promises a richness that scholars will be able to draw upon for years to come…. The book fills an important gap in the scholarly literature about new media in Africa and contributes a valuable perspective from the margins on global new media debates.”
- Herman Wasserman, University of Sheffield, UK and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Editor of Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies.
“This book goes beyond the technology hype on wireless and mobile. It digs deep in the social roots and relationship patterns that are impacting on Africa’s cultural identity and communication modes. The emerging picture may be troubling for some, and liberating for others. A must read!”
- Professor Jan Servaes, Director ‘Communication for Sustainable Social Change’ Center, University of Massachusetts, USA
“An insightful introduction to mobile cultures in Africa and, in particular, the relationship between mobile phones and identity formation in the formal and informal arenas of marginality, its role in disabling tradition and enabling social change. A must read.”
- Associate Professor Pradip Thomas, University of Queensland, Australia
"The ‘mobile margins’ of the new – and old – everyday Africa, their interconnected, interactive stories, continue to move and communicate in and across literary text and academic research alike."
- Barbara Harlow - Race and Class
About the Editors
- Inge Brinkman
Inge Brinkman has been attached to the African Studies Centre since April 2008 while she carries out research into communication technologies and social relations in Angola. She is engaged in studying the historical relations between literacy/orality, elite-formation and the introduction of the mobile phone in Northern Angola, and coordinating a case-study on returnees, 'development' and new ICT in south-east Angola. These case-studies form part of a larger programme, entitled 'Mobile Africa Revisited, aimed at studying the relations between mobile telephony and social hierarchies.
- Mirjam de Bruijn
Mirjam de Bruijn is Professor in African Studies at Leiden University and a researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.
- Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Francis B. Nyamnjoh has taught Sociology, Anthropology and Communication Studies at universities in Cameroon, Botswana and South Africa, and served as Head of Publications with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal. He is currently Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.