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> en-US <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> (Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo) (Edwina Ashie-Nikoi, PhD) Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:12:37 +0000 OJS 60 From the Editorial Team <p>CJAS continues to contribute to the decolonising project through the African-centred knowledge work we publish. In this issue we present six original papers that address issues of language; and socio-political-religious rites, praxis, and governance.</p> Akosua Adomako Ampofo Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Nkrumah’s legacy, feminism and the next generation <p>This lecture challenges the narratives of postcolonial failure to argue that, Africans have accumulated valuable experiences that can lift us out of transgenerational obscurity and provide transformative lessons for the future. Among these are the legacies of Kwame Nkrumah and his vision of the interlinked nature of economic and cultural processes, and his affirmation of women’s role in African liberation. The lecture reviews Nkrumah’s intellectual legacy to argue that, aspects of this have been taken up in African feminist movements that give an afterlife to a praxis of African liberation. Characterized by transdisciplinary and activist approaches that link theory with practice, African feminism is strongest where it pursues the simultaneous transformation of political, cultural, and economic life. It is an approach exemplified in the digitally-curated, livestreamed Third Kwame Nkrumah Festival, and archived online.</p> Amina Mama Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 A serializing particle ń with discourse functions in Kusaal <p>This paper presents novel empirical data revealing a previously unidentified particle&nbsp;<em>n&nbsp;</em>in Serial Verb Constructions in Kusaal. The issue that requires attention is to find out the status of the said particle in SVCs in the language. The central question is whether the observed particle is an overt marker of coordination or subordination which is likely suppressed in other instances of SVCs in the language. The particle&nbsp;<em>n</em>&nbsp;has several functions in Kusaal and other Mabia languages with more being discovered as research on these languages keeps developing. It functions as a subject focus marker in Kusaal, Gurenɛ, and Dagbani and a serializing connector in Moore. It will be observed that the particle<em>&nbsp;n</em>&nbsp;is not obligatory in SVCs in Kusaal and its presence encodes an emphatic/ focus interpretation on the verb it precedes. This study is qualitative with data gathered from both primary and secondary sources.</p> Hasiyatu Abubakari Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Expiation and Punishment: A Viewpoint on Tongu Mafi Mortuary Rites in Ghana <p>Aspects of the mortuary practices of the Tongu Mafi people of Ghana may be viewed as having seemingly contradictory philosophical explanations. However, the expiatory and punitive reasons are very clear and purposeful in the metaphysics of the people. An investigation into Tongu Mafi mortuary practices reveals different rituals and matching ceremonies with varied explanations on the occasion of death, burial and funerals. This paper focuses on those mortuary rites from two perspectives: the rituals as expiation and the rites as punishment. Whatever the label for the ritual, the society often views victims of the practice negatively. They include people considered to be evildoers, persons with disabilities, those who die unnatural deaths, and adults who failed to procreate. Often, these mortuary rites are explained as expiatory, especially to settle the souls of the victims in the hereafter. However, in Tongu Mafi philosophical thought, these are also punitive mortuary rites. This paper argues that such victims’ corpses are punished in order to encourage morally responsible life among the living and to ensure the realisation of specific soteriological ambitions. Furthermore, these beliefs and practices facilitate a harmonious relationship between the worlds of the living and the dead.</p> Godson Ahortor Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Sugarcane Plantations and the Alienation of Land from Smallholder Farmers through Out-grower Schemes in Busoga Sub-Region in Eastern Uganda <p>Despite wide research on land grabbing in Africa, much of the existing literature restricts the practice mainly to a situation where land is leased or sold to outside investors for the production of food and biofuel for export to the western world. This paper extends the debate further by examining how local sugarcane companies and individuals in Busoga Region in Eastern Uganda force smallholder farmers to surrender their land willingly through the out-grower schemes based on contract farming or private sugarcane production. Using a qualitative methodology that relied mainly on interviews of key informants and documentary reviews, the paper analyses the nature of the contemporary land alienations through contract farming between plantation agriculturalists and smallholder farmers, and how it has affected the livelihood of the peasants in the Busoga region especially when it comes to the production of sugarcane for sale at the expense of food for local consumption. The findings show that in the areas where sugarcane production through the out-grower schemes is the dominant economic activity, land alienation for sugarcane growing is rampant as the sugar companies and the agro-business farmers lure local peasants who mainly own land on customary tenure to grow sugarcane at the expense of producing food crops. The paper concludes that this is a new form of land grabbing in Uganda.</p> Robert Ojambo Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Changes in customary land administration and “plausible” development outcomes: A comparative study of Chamuka and Shimukunami chiefdoms <p>Literature is now cognizant of the fact that customary land governance structures are changing in most of sub-Saharan Africa. The relevance of land governance is largely dependent on the local institution, even without direct State intervention. In other words, customary areas are no longer sites for unrestrained, selfish and uncivilized competitions resulting in high tenure insecurity. However, a number of issues still remain debatable over these changes: for instance, what is their exact form and what are the “plausible” development outcomes related to these changes? This paper assets that, answers to these questions are often location specific in literature, hence the rationale for this study within the Zambian context. This study compares two customary areas, with different customary rights and administration, i.e. Shimukunami were residents are issued with traditional certificates and Chamuka where they are not. Data was collected through household questionnaires, key informants and focus group discussions. The paper tested a number of parameters which included number of conflict (e.g. on ownership, boundaries, encroachments), agricultural production (labour, crops, etc.) and generally livelihood strategies. We conclude that change in customary land governance has been a reaction to pressures and influences such as rapid population, high demand for customary land and introduction of monetary transactions. Further, institutions are not static but have evolved to meet changing societal demands. Therefore, approaches recommended for effective traditional land governance must be mainstreamed in local structure so as to provide a sustainable solution to tenure security and rural development. However, the appropriate approaches should be chosen taking into account the need of the local communities, traditional institutions and dynamics of land governance of a particular area.</p> Dinah Mwanza, Felix Kanungwe Kalaba, Ephraim Kabunda Munshifwa Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Migrant Chiefs in Stranger Communities in Ghana: The Challenge of their Inclusion into the Houses of Chiefs <p>Urbanization spearheaded migratory movements into African towns and cities, while democratization provided migrants the social and political space to establish traditional authority in the form of migrant chieftaincy. This paper focuses on this type of chieftaincy; variously called migrant chiefs, Zongo Chiefs, or stranger chiefs in settler communities, and the quest for these chiefs’ inclusion into the Houses of Chiefs structure, statutory bodies which are being constitutionally guaranteed. Historical evidence points to the fact that both the colonial and postcolonial state have shown some level of tolerance to migrant chiefs in Ghana. While political leaders, such as the executive arm, have given recognition to these chiefs at various levels, including granting them a complete Ministry, these chiefs still find it difficult to be included as members of the Houses of Chiefs. Using historical and anthropological material, the paper provides the foundation of migrant chieftaincy in Ghana, while utilizing empirical data to analyse how migrants reinvent chieftaincy in the urban centres, and their attempts to incorporate such an institution into the Houses of Chiefs. The paper argues that, having the support of the political leaders of the state is not enough to guarantee migrant chiefs’ inclusion into the Houses of Chiefs, and that judicial and legislative policies are equally needed to facilitate the process of inclusion.</p> Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya , Baba-Zakaria Alhassan, Samuel Ntewusu Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Ghana’s democracy and the digital public sphere: some pertinent issues <p>Ghana’s media has been one of the biggest bulwarks of its nascent democracy since the transition to democratic rule in 1992. What has become known as the Fourth Estate of the Realm is now gradually being digitally networked as a result of the emergence of new media technologies. Using existing data mostly from media think-tanks such as Penplusbytes, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), media and other online sources, this paper appraises the role of digital media in the process of consolidating Ghana’s democracy under the Fourth Republican Constitution within the lens of Habermas’ concept of the public sphere. The study focuses on the 2016 and 2020 general elections of Ghana and analyses the influence of digital media in strengthening democratic values such as political participation, activism and public opinion formation. We conclude that the Habermasian model of the structural transformation of the public sphere (1962) is partly applicable to the Ghanaian media landscape. Although challenges such as the elite stranglehold on the traditional media landscape have been widespread since the beginning of the political transition in 1992, the emergence of the new media has brought new and complex dimensions to the debate. Specifically, while new media platforms have made immense contributions towards enhancing a general liberal environment, they suffer from several drawbacks such as unequal participation and lack of uniformity in public deliberations, with elites and other powerful social and economic actors generally holding sway. The phenomenon of fake news, online disinformation, the issue of digital divide, creeping state repression and COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 election period have all combined to hamstring the Ghanaian new media which is currently at the center of a seemingly endless process of structural transformation.</p> Maame Adwoa Gyekye-Jandoh , Abdul Hakim Ahmed Copyright (c) 2023 Sun, 17 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000