Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

African Print Cultures is the fruit of a network joining scholars who have been engaged in a long conversation about the history of newspapers in Africa. We are drawn together by two axiomatic presumptions: first, that newspapers were created out of a network of textual exchanges; and second, that the study of newspapers must therefore be multisited. Scholarship on African journalism cannot be defined by the embankments of area studies. More than any other textual matter, newspapers were in circulation. Editors culled material from other publications without regard to copyright. They argued with each other and commented on each other’s work. African newspapers constituted a field through which stories, sermons, reports, obituaries, and other genres traveled from one place to another. The study of this compositional work requires a scholarship that is attentive to the different places where news was made....

A Note on Orthography

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pp. xi-xii

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Chapter 1. Print Culture in Colonial Africa

Derek R. Peterson and Emma Hunter

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pp. 1-46

This book claims African newspapers as subjects of historical study.1 Scholars conventionally treat newspapers as conveyances for data, a means of assessing a public’s view of current affairs. By reading newspapers in this way, scholars make it hard to see the creative work that editors did to organize and produce the news. They also make it hard to see what African readers gained in their engagements with media. African editors had to create interest groups. They used the techniques of their trade—cutting-and-pasting, summarization, citation, excision, juxtaposition—to make connections and draw linkages. Newspapers were therefore the forcing-houses for new political solidarities: they launched campaigns and gave a tempo to things. Newspapers were also the hosts for new forms of address. They were the incubators for the creation of literary genres and the genesis of new African voices....

Part I. African Newspaper Networks

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pp. 47-48

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Chapter 2. Transatlantic Passages: Black Identity Construction in West African and West Indian Newspapers, 1935–1950

Leslie James

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pp. 49-74

In August 1949, in the bottom corner of the fifth page and adjacent to a question-and-answer section called “Cocoa Farmers’ Corner,” readers of the Gold Coast’s Ashanti Pioneer discovered the defiant words of West Indian activist and intellectual Hubert H. Harrison’s poem, “The Black Man’s Burden.” Of the many replies to Rudyard Kipling’s infamous entreaty for American empire, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), Harrison’s poem was originally published in New York in 1920 as an epilogue to When Africa Awakes, a book that announced the new militancy of the Harlem Renaissance’s New Negro....

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Chapter 3. Creole Pioneers in the Nigerian Provincial Press

David Pratten

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pp. 75-101

This is the story of the life and career of a provincial creole printman, James Vivian Clinton, who edited the Nigerian Eastern Mail, in Calabar, South Eastern Nigeria, from 1935 to 1951.1 It investigates his position in the politics of race, nation, and empire in the lead-up to the Second World War, taking one year, 1937 as its focus. The episode intersects with the central historical lens on the relationship between print and nation by addressing the significance of race and identity, both local and transcontinental, in the imaginings of African nationalism....

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Chapter 4. The Sociability of Print: 1920s and 1930s Lagos Newspaper Travel Writing

Rebecca Jones

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pp. 102-124

In February 1931, Isaac Babalọla Thomas, editor-proprietor of the Yoruba-language Lagos newspaper Akede Eko, set out on a monthlong journey from Lagos across southern Nigeria.3 Thomas’s journey took him by train from Lagos to Ibadan, and then on to Ọyọ, Awẹ, Ogbomọṣọ, Oṣogbo, Ilọrin, Ileṣa, Ile-Ifẹ, Akurẹ, and Ondo in the Yoruba region, before reaching Benin City, Warri, Onitsha, Asaba, Enugu, and Aba on the southern coast. Over the following three months, he published nine travelogues, each in the form of a first-person letter to readers written in the midst of the journey. With each travelogue spanning up to two pages of the newspaper, they tell in humorous and idiosyncratic detail Thomas’s experiences of traveling by steamer, train, and lorry, his encounters with friends old and new, and his impressions of the towns and people he visits....

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Chapter 5. Colonial Modernity and Tradition: Herbert Macaulay, the Newspaper Press, and the (Re)Production of Engaged Publics in Colonial Lagos

Wale Adebanwi

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pp. 125-148

An extraordinary incident 1 happened in the Colony of Lagos in 1920. A White Cap Chief, Chief Oluwo (Amọdu Tijani), challenged the British colo- nial government’s claim over land that was supposed to have been “ceded” to the British by Dosunmu, the former Eleko (king of Lagos), in the Treaty of Cession (1861). The British proclamation of the Colony of Lagos was based on this treaty. This was, therefore, a fundamental challenge to British suzerainty in Lagos. In 1919, the Court of Nigeria decided that the chief could only exercise administrative rights of a “seigneurial kind”2 over the land. Dissatisfied, the chief appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in England. In 1921, the Privy Council, in Amodu Tijani v. Secretary, Southern Provinces,3 decided in favor of the chief by ruling that the treaty of 1861 did not affect the “undisputed right of the Community.”4 The JCPC added that King Dosunmu, when he entered into a treaty with the British in 1861, did not have “feudal authority” or “seigniorial rights” over his chiefs and the land held in trust by them.5...

Part II. Experiments with Genre

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pp. 149-150

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Chapter 6. Experiments with Genre in Yoruba Newspapers of the 1920s

Karin Barber

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pp. 151-178

The 1920s were a period of intense vitality in the Lagos press. Newspapers had been an established feature of Lagos city life since the 1860s, and numerous titles had come and gone.1 But the 1920s saw an upsurge of new activity. At the beginning of the decade there were two English-language weekly papers,2and none in Yoruba. By the end of the decade, nine new English-language papers—including five dailies—had been launched, and no less than five Yoruba-language weeklies. New printing presses were established, and the papers’ print runs increased by leaps and bounds throughout the decade. The readership widened, not only within Lagos, but among the cities of the hinterland, where Lagosian editors assiduously cultivated subscribers, agents, and contacts to send in information and distribute copies of their papers. The...

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Chapter 7. Everyday Poetry from Tanzania: Microcosm of the Newspaper Genre

Kelly Askew

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pp. 179-223

For centuries, ordinary people in East Africa have responded to events of all kinds through Swahili poetry.1 Until the emergence of Swahili-language (Swahiliphone) newspapers in the late nineteenth century, however, the written record favored not their contributions but those of master poets, typically male, from the coastal regions of today’s Kenya and Tanzania, where the art form originated. Examples include the poetry of Fumo Liyongo, the legendary warrior prince of the northern Swahili coast believed to have lived sometime between the ninth and twelfth centuries, or Muyaka bin Haji of Mombasa (1776–1840).2 Yet one notable exception signaling the everydayness of Swahili poetry, proving that it did not only and always focus on battles...

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Chapter 8. Private Entertainment Magazines and Popular Literature Production in Socialist Tanzania

Uta Reuster-Jahn

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pp. 224-250

In the postindependence socialist state of Tanzania, the creation of a national culture was a central yet contentious project. However, while the views of the government and the ruling party differed in some respects, they were nevertheless united in their rejection of “decadent” forms of Western culture, such as miniskirts and bell-bottom trousers, as well as Western films and magazines.1 Despite this rejection, there were nonetheless a surprising number of creative and ambitious young men who produced entertainment magazines in the national language, Swahili, to provide a form of localized modern urban leisure. Usually trained for completely unrelated work, these men decided to pursue the uncertain life of editors and cultural entrepreneurs in a politically and economically difficult environment. In many respects, they...

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Chapter 9. “True to Life”: Illuminating the Processes and Modes of Yoruba Photoplays

Olubukola A. Gbadegesin

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pp. 251-280

Derived from established Yoruba popular theater practices that preceded them, photoplays were introduced to Nigerian audiences during a period of cultural transformation and political instability.1 Within a decade of attaining independence from Great Britain in 1960, Nigeria had experienced the first of many coups, and civil war loomed on the horizons. Amid these political struggles, individuals and institutions alike sought participatory inclusion in modern globalized culture and world economies in myriad ways. To a certain extent, photoplays satisfied these aspirations. In form and content, photoplays were tangible symbols of modernity that delivered narratives about the challenges of that very modernity against the backdrop of existing traditional codes and practices. Much like popular theater, photoplays provided sustaining and sustained discursive environments through which audiences...

Part III. Newspapers and Their Publics

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pp. 281-282

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Chapter 10. Komkya and the Convening of a Chagga Public, 1953–1961

Emma Hunter

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pp. 283-305

In 1953, a new newspaper was born in the town of Moshi, a thriving town on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in northeastern Tanganyika.1 Published under the auspices of the local government body, the Chagga Council, it had its office in their new and impressive council buildings. The newspaper was called by the Chagga-language word Komkya, rendered into English as “Chagga Dawn.” It was conceived in part as an element of the nation-building project of a newly elected paramount chief of the Chagga, Thomas Marealle. But as a district newspaper published in Swahili, the lingua franca of the Trusteeship Territory of Tanganyika, it was also inscribed in a late colonial project, part of a wider set of social development initiatives closely tied to the development efforts of the “second colonial occupation.”2...

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Chapter 11. Making Constituency in the Province: The Osumare Egba (1935–1937) and the Agenda of Abẹokuta Modernization

Oluwatoyin Babatunde Oduntan

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pp. 306-334

The profundity of social and cultural change during the inter-war years, and how through it the identity and roles of the Nigerian intelligentsia were fashioned, continues to attract scholarly interest. Prior to the First World War, the Lagos intelligentsia had transitioned from a Victorian image to making indigenous cultural claims and inventions; after the war they became further invested in the expansion of the colony into the provinces. The war strengthened their sense of belonging in the empire, and its global mission of “civilization” against “tyrannical, oppressive and illiberal” colonialism. Newspapers, including those that were previously critical of colonial racialism, adopted the empire’s “titanic struggle” as “our destiny” to secure “the benign influences of British imperial rule, whose watch words are liberty and progress.”1...

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Chapter 12. “I will decide who will speak”: Street Parliaments and the Newspaper Ecology in Eldoret’s Kamukunji

Duncan Omanga

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pp. 335-358

Always forming around the newspaper vendor’s “premises” is Eldoret’s kamukunji, sometimes referred to as people’s parliament, a near-permanent feature of busy Elijah Cheruiyot Street in Eldoret, a bustling city to the west of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.1 While the dynamics of the kamukunji’s form and how its adherents use it to imagine change from below has been documented,2 the role of the newspaper as a central organizing agent in constituting the kamukunji has not been explored. In actual fact, without the newspaper it is difficult and cumbersome for the kamukunji to convene. Although the kamukunji traces origins to Kenya’s historical, cultural, and political culture, the use here of the term kamukunji specifically refers to the street assemblies constituted around newspaper reading culture in Kenya’s urban...

Part IV. Afterlives

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pp. 359-360

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Chapter 13. The Afterlife of Words: Magema Fuze, Bilingual Print Journalism, and the Making of a Self-Archive

Hlonipha Mokoena

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pp. 361-388

The historiography on the black press in South Africa owes much of its vibrancy to the seminal bibliography published by Les and Donna Switzer titled The Black Press in South Africa and Lesotho: A Descriptive Bibliographic Guide to African, Coloured and Indian Newspapers, Newsletters and Magazines, 1836–1976.1 The specificity of the concept of the “black press” not only reflects the contemporary paucity of literature on this publishing history but also encapsulates the Switzers’ attempt to cover an enormous historical period that would have otherwise been ignored or subsumed under a general history of newspapers in South Africa. As evidenced in recent publications, this historiography that was inaugurated by The Black Press in South Africa has grown enormously and matured through nuanced and detailed focus...

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Chapter 14. From Corpse to Corpus: The Printing of Death in Colonial West Africa

Stephanie Newell

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pp. 389-424

African funeral rites,1 bereavement customs, burial practices, and local understandings of death and dying have been a source of fascination for social anthropologists of Africa for more than a century.2 In the last three decades, however, paralleling the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS on the continent and a resurgence of interest in death studies in the West, increasing numbers of social histories of death in Africa have brought historical and cultural complexity to the field. One particular cluster includes Kwame Arhin’s, T. C. McCaskie’s, Suzanne Gott’s, Sjaak van der Geest’s, and Marleen de Witte’s detailed studies of Akan obituaries and funeral practices in Ghana.3 Another rich set of themes for the social history of death is offered by historians of central and southern Africa.4 In Death, Belief and Politics in Central African History, for example,...

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Chapter 15. Afterword

Stephanie Newell

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pp. 425-434

Any history of African print cultures will also be, to some extent, part of a broader history of elites and intelligentsias on the continent. The extent to which this can be mapped directly onto class in Africa is open to further investigation, but the essays in this collection clearly suggest that a history of print in Africa is part of a social, economic, and political story about the emergence and power struggles of what Karin Barber calls “local intellectuals” in relation to regional and international pressures.1...

Contributors

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pp. 435-438

Index

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pp. 439-448