Contemporary Journal of African Studies <p>The <em>Contemporary Journal of African Studies</em>, formerly published as <em>Research Review of the Institute of African Studies</em> (see RRIAS pages here: <a title="/index.php/rrias/index" href="/index.php/rrias/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a>) publishes academic and scholarly articles that set forth the findings of new research in any branch of African Studies, or discuss and re-evaluate earlier or current research or publications by an author or authors.</p> Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana en-US Contemporary Journal of African Studies 2343-6530 <p>© Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, 2013</p><p>The journal content is licensed under a Creative Commons License Attribution – Non-Commercial, No-Derivates CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.</p> An Account Of Lɛtɛ Language Context <p>In this paper we present the context or the environment in which Lɛtɛ is currently spoken, rather than the structure of the language. In presenting the context of the language, the paper sheds light on the extent to which Lɛtɛ language context contributes to its status and use. Other interesting aspects of the language context the paper discusses are the migration history of Larteh; the linguistic neighborhood of Larteh; the interaction of education, culture and religion at Larteh; and its social organization. Lɛtɛ (Kwa: South Guan) is a less-studied language spoken in only one town, Larteh, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Its linguistic neighbours are mostly Akan-speaking towns. The vitality status of Lɛtɛ is pegged at 6a, and described as vigorous (EGIDS). However, literature on African linguistics indicates that available studies on the language are inadequate. The limited amount of literature on Lɛtɛ has focused on aspects of its grammar and social life, and has not considered the interrelationship of the two. Consequently, the paper makes use of primary data derived from a Lɛtɛ language use survey, and secondary data to bring out that interdependence. We adopt an approach in anthropological linguistics: ‘language and thought’ in our discussion’. According to the UNESCO 2003 framework which was used to assess the vitality of the language, the language needs maintenance. We conclude that the context of a language and its dynamics could have significant impact on its status and use.</p> Mercy Akrofi Ansah Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 1 26 The Yùngbà Panegyric Poem: A Metatext Of The Ọ̀yọ́ Empire <p>In line with previous studies (Quint 1993, Stetkevych, S. 2002, Bauman and Briggs 1990), which have established the relationship between genre and ideology, this paper is founded on the premise that the literary form and content of the Yùngbà panegyric poem is intimately related to the idea of Yorùbá-Ọ̀yọ́ imperial hegemony. The paper starts with the argument that the Yùngbà panegyric is a metatext. The study defines a metatext as an independent text created in direct relation to an extant text called a prototext, either as a commentary (Genette 1997) or a translation (Popovic 1976) of the extant prototext. Linking the metatext to the reputation of the extant text, the study maintains that the subject of the metatext, the Aláàfin’s (king’s) name (reputation), is judged by the volume and ingenuity of the poems composed in his name and his empire. Put differently, the heroic deeds of the king are the main text, which in turn earn the Alaafin a metatext of praise names and epithets, which go on to form the basis of the composition of the Yùngbà praise poem. Finally, the paper argues that the Yùngbà is not just a metatext, but that it is a metatext of empire—specifically a metatext of the Ọ̀yọ́ empire. The Yùngbà promulgates a myth of kingship that legitimizes the king (Stetkevych 2002). The way the Yùngbà is constituted as text (Barber 1999), is a reflexive process on the part of the poet, who is conscious of empire as she weaves her metatext to validate Ọ̀yọ́ imperial hegemony. The study further demonstrates that the Yorùbá-Ọ̀yọ́ society is a reflective one, revisiting the past by re-enacting it and shaping the future through its collective memory. The Empire is the reason for the existence of the royal Yùngbà panegyric genre and vice versa.</p> Nana Aba Bentil-Mawusi Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 27 53 Through a Glass Darkly: Grassroots Theology and the Music of Ghanaian Hip-Life Artist Kofi Kinaata <p>One scarcely finds Christian Theology, the Arts, and African Tradition linked together or brought into dialogue in any formal way. The very idea that these have anything to do with one another might be seen as anathema by many African arts scholars and practitioners as well as African Christian theologians. In this paper, I utilize the concept of grassroots theology to explore how such theology emerges from what would not ordinarily be considered sources for Christian theological reflection. I do this by dilating on the limitations of traditional sources of theological reflection, and how these limitations hinder a robust engagement with African cultural resources. I then proceed to analyse the lyrics from selected songs in the discography of Ghanaian hip-life artist Kofi Kinaata, identifying salient theological themes, as well as some pointers for future enquiry.</p> Joshua Settles Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 54 72 “I don’t want my children to grow up there”: Counter-Narratives to Migration by University Students in Ghana <p>The turn in migration studies to broaden its scope beyond migrants themselves to also include prospective migrants – and even the society they live in – opens for a better understanding of migration. Despite mobile students from the Global South being a key feature of the globalisation of higher education, their voices are underrepresented and undertheorized in migration literature. Student narratives from the Global South can therefore offer new and valuable perspectives. This study contextualizes students’ migration aspirations within a critical view of migration studies and global knowledge production and methodologically centres the students and their narratives. Students at two universities in Ghana were interviewed in focus groups about migration. Findings reveal diversity and contradictions: students speak about migration in simple and even ambiguous terminology suggesting a quotidian quality of the conversation, and the undeniably uncertain and ambiguous future. Students also harbour distinct views on migration connected to class and identity, including various reservations or even counter-narratives to migration such as concerns about racism and discrimination abroad, and the draw of family and culture at home. Additionally, the students in this study, similar to well-researched student migration narratives in the Global North, connect mobility to cultural exposure, enjoyment, and adventure.</p> Kajsa Hallberg Adu Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 73 99 The Interplay Of International And Domestics Factors In Mali: The Case Of Politico- Religious Actors <p>During the last two decades, contemporary North Africa has been an ideal vantage point from which to observe international and regional influences at play in the processes of regime change, transitions and in the evolution of religious actors. However, limited or scarce academic literature has been produced about the Sahel as a new space to observe the domestic and international arenas in the religious field.<br>The study of the evolution of religious actors in the Sahel region needs to take the form of a historical retrospective of North Africa due to the cultural interaction of both geographies (North Africa and Sahel) that begins with the spread of Islam through commercial exchanges in both directions before the Middle Ages. In this paper, we will see the significant effect of the international dimension and the domestic context in the evolution of religious actors in the Malian landscape that have emerged as rival political actors.<br>We refer to traditional brotherhoods led by Ousmane Madani Haïdara, Wahhabism (reformist tendency) led by Mahmoud Dicko, and Shiism led by Chouala Bayaya Haïdara. The three leaders, especially Dicko, have found a new window of opportunity to attain more power and be more influential. The opening of this window came to the fore following the 2012 armed insurgency in northern Mali and the drift toward insecurity, as well as the economic and social consequences of the insurgency.</p> Beatriz Mesa Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 100 127 From the Editorial Team <p>Message from Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Editor-in-Chief, CJAS.</p> Akosua Adomako Ampofo Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 iv vi In my father’s house’: Conceptualising the Pragmatics of Cognitions <p>In this research, I adapt the Oyeleyian sense of “my father’s house” thoroughly to a pragmatic axis, using as a springboard the basic cognitive pragmatic content of the structure and lexical preference of biblical authors and translators. I situate words of English in single ‘nature’ cognition of all categories of speakers (native, non-native, educated and uneducated) and locate the processing of their meaning within ‘nurture’, which operationally presupposes nature in the first language speaker sense. I argue that what is said and what is understood may or may not jibe, which does not necessarily imply communicative incompetence on the part of any of the interactants, but rather is a function of either party’s exposure to the language and the degree of influence of the exposure in the environment of cultivation. I conclude that a ‘pragmatics of cognitions’, based on the non-native speaker processing of English words is possible, and that this, of necessity, in large measure, neutralises the concept of lexical errors.</p> Akin Odebunmi Copyright (c) 2024 2024-03-30 2024-03-30 11 1 128 155