Journal of African Media Studies
Fig. 1. Courtesy of the Journal of African Media Studies.

The Journal of African Media Studies released its new issue (Vol. 7, Issue 2, 2015), edited by Winston Mano from the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) at the University of Westminster. This issue includes articles on conflict journalism, street artists' resistance, social media use during the elections, and more.

The articles are available to buy online.

From analogue to digital social media in Africa

Mirjam de Bruijn & Lotte Pelckmans & Boukary Sangare: Communicating war in Mali, 2012: On-offline networked political agency in times of conflict

The Arab Spring raised high expectations for political freedom, especially for situations in which the rapid development of ICT intersects with political oppression and rebellion, as was the case in Mali, West Africa. In 2012 the country’s northern part fell into the hands of ‘rebels’ and jihadists were on the rise. This article tries to understand the development of political agency in relation to the unprecedented access to new ICT of the Fulani nomads and urbanites in the Mopti region (Hayre), who engage increasingly with new actors and networks present in the war zone: ‘rebels’ and jihadists; the diaspora from that region; and the journalistic and academic communities who visit the region. We argue that political agency is emerging in the relation between (newly appearing) information networks in both the on- and off-line worlds. These networked societies are embedded in cultural and social historical specificities of the Sudan-Sahel zone in conflict.

Noureddine Miladi: Alternative fabrics of hegemony: City squares and street graffiti as sites of resistance and interactive communication flow

This article discusses the symbolic use of town squares and street walls as sites of communicative spaces. This approach looks at the PR role of those locations, i.e. the discourse and the imagery (portrayed in public spaces, graffiti images and street wall writings) that permeate those communicative domains. The obvious motive of their expansion across various cities is to contest the mainstream media and PR industries in favour of a more interactive flow of information in society. Similarly to the stress put by few scholars on the significance of urban spaces in global cities, this article considers the symbolic power of public spaces in Tunisia during and after the revolution of 14 January 2011 as sites of social activism, which may sometimes rival the power of social media networks. I examine its multifaceted forms of youth action in Tunisia to probe the forms of power that have led to current social changes. The study reveals that such squares have played significant roles in developing social relations, establishing connections and building friendships between social groups. After the revolution such spaces have emerged as contested terrains redefined by the new social order. Also graffiti and street art have, on the one hand, signalled the flourishing of a multiplicity of voices that are serving as a watchdog to the Transition to Democracy. On the other hand, such forms of social activism have proven to be effective tools for breaking the government’s monopoly on information dissemination, public opinion and control over the communicative spheres.

Nwachukwu Egbunike & Anthony Olorunnisola: Social media and the #Occupy Nigeria Protests: Igniting or damping a Harmattan storm?

This study compared social media (new media) and newspapers’ framing of the January 2012 #Occupy Nigeria Protest. Authors employed content analysis to investigate similarities and differences in the frames adopted by social media (Facebook page, blogs, conversations in Nairaland and Twitter) and three national newspapers (the Nigerian Tribune, The Guardian and The Punch) during the protest. Findings show that the old media fared better than the social media in their framing of the motivation, diagnosis and prognosis of the protest. This study established that representatives of the old media were better contributors to the prosecution and/or discourse of the Occupy Nigeria Protests than the social media.

Natascha Bing: Kenya Decides: Kiswahili, social media and politics in Kenya’s 2013 general elections

As Kenya’s 2013 general elections have witnessed, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and new media have played a crucial role in shaping political landscapes. The debates on Twitter and Facebook, being important forums for Kenyans engaging in politics, display discussions in quite creative linguistic forms. In contrast to most recent studies focusing on how ICT and new media were catalysts for the 2007/08 post-election violence, this article will shed light on the role of Kiswahili and social media in the process of fostering participation in the 2013 general election campaigns. It takes a closer look at how the use of Kiswahili and mobile phones has shaped citizen engagement by offering new forms and spaces of expression. It will give insight into evolving digital practices of political communication during the 2013 general elections in Kenya.

Kingsley I. Ehiemua & Osakue S. Omoera: Social media platforms of reality drama: A study of selected Facebook accounts

This article undertakes a linguistic description of the spontaneous and ‘on-demand’ conversational language on social media platforms, using some Facebook accounts to explicate its pedagogical and aesthetic values from the premise that art is both instructive and entertaining. The spontaneous and on-demand conversational language of the Facebook is what this article refers to as ‘real-time’ language. This has become a major part of the inherently essential style of the Facebook and which qualifies it as a narrative similar to reality drama, if not exactly so. This study uses the personal Facebook chats of four Nigerians to affirm that the popularity of the Facebook Internet phenomenon in Nigeria is partly, but significantly, due to the artistic function of its conversational language and its dramatic potentials apart from the democratization, portability, accessibility and the interactiveness of the new media.

Emeka Meribe: Reappraising indigenous African communication systems in the twenty-first century: New uses for ancient media

Advancements in communication technology appear to have combined with other factors to stifle research in Indigenous African Communication Systems (IACS). While the mass media and the new media are powerful communication systems that are arguably meeting most of contemporary society’s communication and information needs, there is an important segment of the developing world’s population that these media do not seem to carry along: the rural people. In Africa, rural people rarely have access to mainstream communication systems and their exposure to them is highly limited by several issues. However, they tend to attach much significance to their indigenous communication systems, indicating that the systems are still relevant today and are, therefore, worthy of being researched. This article examines the relationship between rural people and IACS. It investigates the use of these modes of communication in the mobilization of rural people for development projects. Through a study of two rural communities in south-east Nigeria, the article demonstrates why rural Africans have continued to rely on IACS and contends that these communication systems are not being idealized as they are still meeting the information needs of many.

Cecilia Zoppelletto: La Belle At The Movies

William Gumede: Finding a new democratization mission for African universities

Raquel Villar-Pérez: Film Review

Half of a Yellow Sun, Biyi Bandele (2013) United Kingdom/Nigeria: Shareman Media, Slate Films Film: Half of A Yellow Sun Release Date: September 2013 (TIFF) April 2014 (United Kingdom) August 2014 (Nigeria) Producer: Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan Director: Biyi Bandele Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie A Production company: Shareman Media, Slate Films Production cost: US$8 million.

The latest issue of the Journal of African Media Studies is available here.