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Radio et télévision dans les Afriques : anciens objets, nouvelles approches

Séance du 13 juin 2022, de 14h30 à 16h30
Relocalisée en salle 3.07 du Centre de Colloques, Campus Condorcet, Aubervervilliers

 Audrey Gadzekpo
, University of Ghana,
Witness History : Reimagining narratives of wartime radio in colonial Africa from an insider’s perspective

Abstract :
The Second World War marked a critical moment in the rapid development of radio in Africa, providing the incentive for expanding a medium that could carry news on the progress of war in local languages that the colonised could understand. In the Gold Coast (now Ghana), for example, where 65,000 soldiers were fighting alongside British forces in Burma and the Far East, a newly established radio service soon became an important part of the escalating media wars being waged between allied and axis powers elsewhere. Albeit rather scanty, the literature documenting how British authorities executed their propaganda campaign in colonies such as Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and the Gold Coast offers strong evidence of the pivotal role radio played during the war and immediate post war years. Largely missing from these historical narratives is the role indigenous broadcasters played in the ‘war of the airwaves,’ and their overall contribution to wartime programming in the colonies. This presentation aims at addressing this lacuna in scholarship by examining the role Gold Coast vernacular announcers played during the Second World War and their general influence on the development of radio in Ghana. This reimagined account of war and radio is largely informed by the unpublished memoir of the pioneer vernacular announcer, Benard Sendzi Gadzekpo. Titled Ghana Muntie (meaning ‘Ghana Listen’), Gadzekpo provides unique insights into how the “battles at the microphone” were waged in the Gold Coast as part of a larger war effort, and invites a fresh reading of the deployment of radio in the colonial experience.

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