• Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed
  • College of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Georgia
  • Abstract Title: Mediated Translations: Theorizing African Languages and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Bio: Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed is an assistant professor of global media at the College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is co-editor of the book, African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora (forthcoming 2021). Her research which focuses on feminisms, broadcast media, indigenous language media, development communication, and political economy of communication have appeared in the Howard Journal of Communications, Journal of Radio & Audio Media, and ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology. She has worked as a radio journalist in Ghana for several years and has done some public scholarship on Al JazeeraAfrica is a countryGlobal Voices,Okay Africa, and several Ghanaian media platforms including the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

Abstract: While there is an extensive body of literature on English language media production, distribution and reception in Ghana, very little research has focused on indigenous African language media. This essay examines the importance of translation in supporting the production of media in African countries like Ghana. I argue that translation not only makes knowledge available in other languages but supports the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems in the academy. Translation in this vein is both a methodological and theoretical undertaking that constantly questions the legitimacy of the Western canon while demonstrating the embeddedness of resistance in indigenous African languages. I draw extensively on indigenous African knowledge systems to present various strategies of translation in my research and how translation manifests in the findings of my research on indigenous language media in Ghana. I assert that to build on the knowledge of Africa in translation it is imperative to take into consideration the importance of multidisciplinary research. My work on translating Africa within the context of media raises questions about what constitutes knowledge, what knowledge systems are valued, and the ways in which we can inadvertently participate in the erasure of the existence of indigenous African communities in media research. To hinge my work on indigenous African knowledge systems means that my work in documenting the media histories of communities in Northern Ghana merely supplements the already existing oral epistemological systems that have preserved and transmitted knowledge from generation to generation.

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