Entanglement, Mobility and Improvisation

Entanglement, Mobility and Improvisation: Culture And Arts in Contemporary African Urbanism and its Hinterlands

Led by the University of Pretoria (PI: James Ogude) and in collaboration with the University of Cape Town (South Africa); Makerere University (Uganda) and the University of Ghana this project seeks to move beyond the scholarship on African cities that tends to focus on African cities as little islands that are separated from their hinterlands – the rural other. Working through a range of cultural formats and artistic genres, the project seeks to surface the defining features of these urban spaces and their rural hinterlands. The cities include Kampala, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi and Lagos. These cities share African roots, but are also distinctive, because of their shared colonial/apartheid histories, their multiplicity of old and invented languages, their innumerable waves of immigrants from their rural hinterlands but also some whose origins readily violate national boundaries, and who continue to bring labour, culture and new creative economies; and the sometimes tragic structures of oppression that these cities have undergone. The project also focuses on mentoring of young scholars, i.e PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and early career academics drawn from the four Universities involved in the project.

Photocredit acknowledgment: Akosua Asamoabea Ampofo

Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. Thy claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.

Mercy Amba Oduyoye