Journal of Humanities <p>The <em>Journal of Humanities</em> (JH) is a multi-disciplinary, double-blind peer-reviewed journal aiming to develop new knowledge by challenging current themes, theories, methodologies, and practices in the human sciences. The journal publishes original research articles, theoretical articles, philosophical reflections, review articles, scholarly opinions, and empirical research on a wide range of issues such as humans and their interaction with the environment, cultural identities, religions, higher education, gender, performative arts, media and communications, globalisation, politics, and development and any inter-disciplinary studies within the humanities and the social sciences.</p> <p>JH is a bi-annual publication and is hosted by the University of Malawi. The editorial board welcomes original contributions in the form of original articles, reviews, standpoints, and letters to editors from scholars within the humanities that align with the journal's aims. JH is dedicated to publishing original and high-quality research papers in human sciences in Africa. Although the journal is interested in the humanities, priority is given to articles that focus on studies in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa.</p> <p>Manuscripts submitted to the journal go through a rigorous peer review system. The editor in chief provides the first editorial screening. The manuscript is then reviewed by subject specialists in the editorial board and reviewers who are experts in their fields of specialisation. JH has a pluralistic and non-partisan approach and will not accept manuscripts that aim to promote hate or discrimination against others based on religion, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, to mention a few. The editors are committed to upholding professional editorial principles and standards. JH welcomes manuscripts with a country or regional focus but must be written for an international audience. JH also publishes special issues and conference proceedings.</p> University of Malawi en-US Journal of Humanities 1016-0728 © 2017 The Authors. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Rethinking Female Rites of Passage: The Chinamwali, Male Power, and African Feminisms <p>Engaging the African Feminist ideological framework, this paper explores the intersection between African female initiation rites and&nbsp; male power and privilege. The paper engages the chinamwali, a female initiation rite practised by the Chikunda of Zambia. The initiation&nbsp; rite involves the seclusion of the ‘namwali’, the initiate, in an informal learning process during which older and more experienced&nbsp; women, aphungu, pass on messages to her on what it means to be a woman in society. The data for the article were generated from a&nbsp; study undertaken in 2018 in Chief Mphuka’s area of Luangwa District, in the Eastern part of Zambia, using narratives from 30 participants, including 15 women who have undergone chinamwali, who constituted the main research participants; 5 ritual instructors, aphungu; 5&nbsp; men; and five uninitiated women. A thematic analysis of the findings led to the development of the ‘Chikunda masculinity’, which gives&nbsp; impetus to feminist scholarship regarding a new focus on women’s sexuality as a source of legitimising men’s dominant position over&nbsp; women. The article recommends the integration of transformative messages in the chinamwali curriculum that could empower the&nbsp; initiate to confront cultural practices that reinforce patriarchal hegemony.</p> Carina Mweela Talakinu Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 1 21 10.4314/jh.v31i2.1 Profit, Tradition, and African Wildlife: Examining Animal Commodification Through Eco-Bio-Communitarianism <p>In Southern Africa, there exists a large-scale commodification of fauna, extending to the utilisation of animals in traditional medicine. In&nbsp; South Africa alone, 1,175 documented cases of rhinoceros poaching transpired in a single annum, and analogously, an estimated 100,000&nbsp; pangolins are smuggled from there to Asia annually. These and myriad other species, whether intact, in part, or processed into&nbsp; medicaments, are vented either in their country of origin for application in traditional medicine or exported illicitly across the globe for&nbsp; similar purposes. In this paper, I posit that this large-scale commodification conflicts with a relational African environmental ethic. To&nbsp; substantiate this claim, I consider two cardinal concepts in African ecological ethics, which will illuminate how animals should be utilised&nbsp; and considered morally. Firstly, the Shona concept of Ukama employs Felix Murove’s exegesis. Secondly, I explore eco-bio- communitarianism, precisely the Nso worldview of Godfrey Tangwa. Upon applying these concepts to the utilisation of fauna in&nbsp; traditional medicine by traditional healers and to the current largescale commercial exploitation of animals in conventional medicine, this&nbsp; thesis concludes that only the profit-driven use opposes an African environmental ethic.&nbsp;</p> Carla Turner Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 23 38 10.4314/jh.v31i2.2 Honouring Uncelebrated Heroes in Maaza Mengiste’s <i>The Shadow King</i> and <i>Beneath the Lion’s Gaze</i> <p>This paper examines literary representations of marginalised, uncelebrated heroes in two novels by Maaza Mengiste: The Shadow King&nbsp; and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze. The central argument is that Mengiste excavates and portrays the overlooked heroic contributions of select male and female protagonists to honour their legacy and illuminate their vital yet under-recognised roles in constructing Ethiopian&nbsp; national identity. By adopting close textual analysis, the paper examines the conception of ‘heroism’ to characters derived from&nbsp; Mengiste’s fictionalised historiography centred upon Ethiopia. Furthermore, the sociocultural and ideological factors engendering the&nbsp; marginalisation of these heroic figures shall be scrutinised within the novels’ specific narrative contexts. Incorporating critical theoretical&nbsp; perspectives, the efficacy of violence as a liberating praxis against political oppression shall be evaluated through the lens of Frantz&nbsp; Fanon. At the same time, Marxian theories of alienation are employed to elucidate the subjective motivations compelling certain&nbsp; protagonists towards heroic but uncelebrated deeds. Methodologically, the paper is grounded in a close literary analysis of the theme of&nbsp; unheralded heroism within the two primary texts. A synthesis of supplementary scholarly perspectives bolsters this paper’s central thesis&nbsp; regarding unrecognised heroic narratives. The paper argues that despite contributing substantially to anti-oppressive struggles, Mengiste’s marginal protagonists remain uncelebrated within Ethiopia’s dominant historical discourses due to their race, class, gender,&nbsp; and ideological positionality.</p> Chrispin Mkumba Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 39 58 10.4314/jh.v31i2.3 Witchcraft as Social Metaphor: Exploring the Supernatural Beliefs Among the Ogoni and Ikwerre of the Niger Delta <p>This paper explores the underlying philosophy, beliefs, and practices surrounding witchcraft among the Ogoni and Ikwerre ethnic groups&nbsp; inhabiting the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Throughout recorded history, humanity has embarked upon a rational journey to&nbsp; identify solutions to the myriad vicissitudes and afflictions that have plagued human existence. Belief in supernatural phenomena such as&nbsp; witchcraft has conventionally furnished reasonable explanations for tragedy and occurrences deemed odd or inexplicable through conventional epistemologies. Within these cosmologies, witches are frequently perceived as enemies of societal equilibrium, capable of&nbsp; inflicting ill health, misfortune, and diverse forms of affliction upon communities. However, while beliefs related to witchcraft and the supernatural may serve as metaphors for powerful forces or social dysfunction, they simultaneously constitute autonomous systems of&nbsp; signs, symbols, and meanings that can potentially generate tangible positive effects for adherents, with historical origins rooted in&nbsp; indigenous cultures. This paper uses the descriptive methodology to argue that witchcraft, as a construct dependent on human agency,&nbsp; is not inherently immoral or detrimental. Rather, the central issue lies in the improper application of knowledge, experience, and&nbsp; intelligence derived from witchcraft practices toward selfish ambitions, such as harming others for personal advantage. The paper concludes that if oriented toward serving the greater good, advancing human society, and promoting human dignity, witchcraft merits&nbsp; encouragement, provided it is harnessed ethically through proper use.&nbsp;</p> Sunday Deezia Burabari Lawrence-Hart Grace Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 61 79 10.4314/jh.v31i2.4 Problematising Simplicity: Addressing Comprehension Gaps of RFI’s ‘Le Journal en Français Facile’ <p>This paper evaluates Malawian learners’ French language comprehension abilities concerning the French radio program ‘Le Journal en&nbsp; français facile’ (The News in Simple French), broadcast by Radio France Internationale. Specifically, it assesses learners’ levels of aural&nbsp; comprehension of this Francophone news content designed for non-native audiences. The paper examines whether the universal&nbsp; applicability of the ‘français facile’ (simple French) concept across heterogeneous learners can be assumed, considering linguistic aspects&nbsp; deemed elementary from a Francophone perspective may not prove equivalently rudimentary for anglophone learners of&nbsp; French. Methodologically, the paper is grounded in the Bottom-up and Top-down listening comprehension model, which emphasises&nbsp; integrating linguistic and prior sociocultural knowledge to facilitate aural meaningmaking. Through French listening exercises and&nbsp; teacher interviews with a sample of Malawian college students, the study highlights limitations in comprehension, with listeners&nbsp; restricted to grasping essential lexical news components like numbers, names and locations while failing to parse complex news concepts —attributed to newscaster accent, pronunciation, speech rate, unfamiliar vocabulary, and insufficient prior knowledge activation. This&nbsp; paper argues the notion of “simple” French may be misconstrued when applied uniformly across diverse global learners engaging with&nbsp; RFI broadcasts, evidenced by difficulty comprehending the news program among numerous Malawian learners despite its simplified linguistic profile. Mastery of these broadcasts, it is contended, necessitates more advanced proficiency.&nbsp;</p> Boniface Dokotala Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 81 98 10.4314/jh.v31i2.5 Rethinking Media Arts Instruction in Nigerian Universities <p>This paper explores the pedagogical challenges and dilemmas surrounding film and media arts education within Nigerian tertiary&nbsp; institutions against deficient teaching facilities and infrastructure. Teaching film and media arts has rapidly developed in recent years. Many Nigerian universities now recognise the necessity of robust film/media pedagogy to complement and respond to the escalating&nbsp; growth of the country’s indigenous film and entertainment industry. The onus is increasingly placed on Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to&nbsp; spearhead the advancement of film and media arts education, premised on disseminating adequate practical knowledge, skills&nbsp; acquisition, and integrating international best practices. However, a pivotal issue emerges regarding whether Nigerian tertiary&nbsp; institutions possess the requisite facilities to fulfil and drive this pedagogical mandate. This paper argues that most Nigerian universities&nbsp; continue to emphasise theoretical instruction over practical application, constrained by the unavailability of resources required to execute&nbsp; a technologically immersive media pedagogy tailored to the needs of the nation’s thriving creative industries. Drawing insights&nbsp; from a recent experimental pedagogical model undertaken at Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe, this paper highlights how an&nbsp; integrated pedagogical methodology combining conventional teaching formats with social media tools and platforms may potentially mitigate the difficulties imposed by insufficient practical teaching facilities for film education in most African tertiary institutions.</p> Abiodun Olayiwola Copyright (c) 2023 2023-11-02 2023-11-02 31 2 99 120 10.4314/jh.v31i2.6