Abstract: A remarkable feature of hip hop cultures in Africa is their symbolic engagement with the “connective marginalities” (Osumare 2001, 2007 & 2012) of the youth on the continent. Equally remarkable is their decolonial project which overthrows the hierarchy of languages and the strategic fashioning of ethnic identities engendered by colonialism. Importantly, not only do African hip hop artists trouble and resist essentialized ethnic and linguistic identities that have for long defined the post-colonial contours of the continent, they also gesture to reimagine, transcend, and reinvent the almost fixed geographies of these identities through the invention and/or intensification of new transethnic “resistance vernaculars” (Potter 1995). Focusing on four sub-Saharan African contexts (Nigeria, Kenya, Gabon, and South Africa), I sketch in this presentation a preliminary outline of this counter-discursive enactment of postcolonial resistance in African hip hop cultures. I specifically ask: how does African hip hop language and discourse rework and/or postpone the colonial iterations of the African postcolony?
Bio: Tosin Gbogi received a BA in English Studies from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Nigeria and an MA in English Literature from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. His essays on African literature and African hip hop cultures have appeared in Matatu: Journal of African Culture and Society, Ibadan: Journal of English Studies, and Pragmatics. Gbogi was a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he is also currently finishing up his doctoral studies in the Interdisciplinary Program in Linguistics. He is the author of two collections of poetry, the tongues of a shattered s-k-y (2012) and locomotifs and other songs (2018).