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Mobilizing the Hordes

Radio Drama as Development Theatre in Sub-Saharan Africa

Victor N. Gomia

Publication Year: 2012

This book draws on years of rich empirical research on radio drama production in Cameroon to offer a strikingly new perspective in Development Theatre discourse in Africa. Chronicling the history and evolution of Development Theatre practice in Anglophone Africa and arguing for literary forms that address the basic everyday realities of ordinary people in a medium they understand, the book revisits the crucial question of utilitarian literature in a continent that continues to brandish a begging bowl even as it celebrates fifty years of independence. Radio Theatreís inherent latitude to reach the masses in a manner and matter that they identify with makes of it an invaluable albeit often neglected sub-genre in the universe of Development Theatre. Reaching an enlarged audience through radio drama productions ñ plays that address the rustic, ascetic and practical realities of the people ñ is liberating. Through radio plays and their capacity to provide for an enormous degree of authenticity, ordinary people are able to enhance their self-esteem. Like main stream Development Theatre, Radio Drama sets out to address the concerns of all in an all-embracing approach that explores interactive learning characterized by continuous questioning of and adaptation to reality. It disparages the omniscience of the superstructure meant to be perceived as indispensable and all-knowing. As a medium of development communication with unique aesthetic qualities found in and not limited to sound and silence, Radio Drama creates events and condenses reality into dramatic constellations with a high sense of authenticity that invites its audience to participate in the creation process with a strong sense of direction in a story, a plot and a moral. This people-oriented culture re-animation process is the fertile ground for grassroots empowerment. It is the point of departure for feasible development initiatives that this book explores.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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p. i-i

Copyright Page

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p. ii-ii


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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

It is with great personal pleasure that I introduce the reader to this seminal work of Dr. Victor Gomia’s on the cultural possibilities of Development Theatre delivered in the medium of African radio drama. My encounter with Dr. Gomia in August 2005 was an eventful and fortunate one, I think for both of us. While serving as...

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pp. xi-xiv

Cameroonian Radio Theatre and African Radio Theatre in general are stakeholders in the business of enhancing Participatory Development. If radio theatre serves very generally as a medium of entertainment, it also serves relevantly as a theatre of conscientisation, for it digs into the everyday experiences of the...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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Chapter One. Alternative Development Theatre

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pp. 1-22

The question of the role of radio drama as an alternative approach to Development Theatre is the major ideological premise on which this book is based. Radio drama is drama that is written for production through the radio medium. It has its distinct characteristics from Drama that is written for the stage or for television. Unlike the...

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Chapter Two. Theoretical Basis and Critical Focus

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pp. 23-46

The problems of adapting existing critical vocabulary to the distinctive artistic characteristics of radio drama partly account for the marginal position accorded the sub-genre by scholarship. In recent years there has been an enormous output of criticism on modern stage drama, but there has been very little informed...

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Chapter Three Development Theatre: Progress, Impediments and an Alternative Approach

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pp. 47-94

Understanding the context of theatre in pre-colonial Africa is crucial to the appreciation of the transition that ushers in the New Theatre (or Development Theatre) on the continent. The colonial experience and particularly its economic backbone (colonial capitalism) arbitrarily divided African communities into new social groupings...

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Chapter Four African Radio Drama as Theatre for the Multitude

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pp. 95-140

The centrality of radio for reaching and impacting on audiences that are often otherwise difficult to reach is one of the marvels of modern science. People who are socially and geographically isolated are taken out of their isolation by radio broadcasts. In Africa, like most parts of the developing world, community radio14 is the basic and popular...

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Chapter Five. Radio Theatre Aesthetics: Engineering Development Initiatives on the Air

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pp. 141-194

Radio Theatre offers a novel phenomenon that corroborates the underlying aim of Development Theatre. Radio produces audiences of sizes hitherto unimaginable; and it gives a new impetus to the traditional theory of crowd-formation and group-thinking. It reduces the relevance of the eyes in social communication and uplifts the role...

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Chapter Six Development Discourse in Selected Cameroon Anglophone Radio Plays

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pp. 195-236

There has been no single concern as overriding in the preoccupations and concerns at the collective level of social life on the African continent as the question of development. It is evidently the single most obsessive issue for all governments and ruling elites on the continent. It is difficult to find a government in postcolonial Africa...

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pp. 237-258

Predicated on the hypothetical stance that Cameroonian Radio Theatre (and African Radio Theatre in general) is a viable alternative to Development theatre, we have examined the role radio drama plays in the kind of interaction and action that side with the powerless masses right from its conception. Chapter one established...


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pp. 259-277

Back Cover

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p. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9789956727933
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956727544

Page Count: 294
Publication Year: 2012