C est l homme qui fait l homme
204 Pages
English
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C est l homme qui fait l homme

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204 Pages
English

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The idea that human beings are inextricably bound to one another is at the heart of this book about African agency, especially drawing on the African philosophy Ubuntu, with its roots in human sociality and inclusivity. Ubuntu's precepts and workings are severely tested in these times of rapid change and multiple responsibilities. Africans negotiate their social existence between urban and rural life, their continental and transcontinental distances, and all the market forces that now impinge, with relationships and loyalties placed in question. Between ideal and reality, dreams and schemes, how is Ubuntu actualized, misappropriated and endangered? The book unearths the intrigues and contradictions that go with inclusivity in Africa. Basing his argument on the ideals of trust, conviviality and support embodied in the concept of Ubuntu, Francis Nyamnjoh demonstrates how the pursuit of personal success and even self-aggrandizement challenges these ideals, thus leading to discord in social relationships. Nyamnjoh uses a popular Ivorian drama with the same title to substantiate life-world realities and more importantly to demonstrate that new forms of expression, from popular drama to fiction, thicken and enrich the ethnographic component in current anthropology.

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Published 12 August 2015
Reads 1
EAN13 9789956762293
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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C«C-’ES-ST L’HUOMME-QUIFCAITL’HIOMME» «C’EST L’HOMME QUI FAIT L’HOMME»CUL-DE-SACUBUNTU-ISMINCÔTED’IVOIRE
Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Cquim e ’est l’hom fa it l’hom m e”: Cul-de-SacUbuntu-ismin Côte d’Ivoire
Francis B. Nyamnjoh
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com ISBN: 9956-762-52-0 ©Francis B. Nyamnjoh 2015All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechinal or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Praise for this Book The idea that human beings are inextricably bound to one another is at the heart of this book about African agency, especially drawing on the African philosophy Ubuntu, with its roots in human sociality and inclusivity. Ubuntu’s precepts and workings are severely tested in these times of rapid change and multiple responsibilities. Africans negotiate their social existence between urban and rural life, their continental and transcontinental distances, and all the market forces that now impinge, with relationships and loyalties placed in question. Between ideal and reality, dreams and schemes, how is Ubuntu actualized, misappropriated and endangered? The book unearths the intrigues and contradictions that go with inclusivity in Africa. Basing his argument on the ideals of trust, conviviality and support embodied in the concept of Ubuntu, Francis Nyamnjoh demonstrates how the pursuit of personal success and even self-aggrandizement challenges these ideals, thus leading to discord in social relationships. Nyamnjoh uses a popular Ivorian drama with the same title to substantiate life-world realities and more importantly to demonstrate that new forms of expression, from popular drama to fiction, thicken and enrich the ethnographic component in current anthropology. “In several respects, the book is a treasure-trove, as it poses problems encountered by ordinary people in their daily lives, such as the problem of relations between social elders and juniors, the big and the small. In the background are themes such as the migration of young Africans to Europe, the garden of Eden, in search of self-fulfilment and a better life for themselves and their families, even amid all the attendant frustrations, including relations with those left behind.” Aghi Bahi Professor at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny Abidjan – Côte d’Ivoire
“This book’s readers will recognize how acutely it projects the very contemporary experience of “being African” and its predicaments. Predation and altruism, monopolization and circulation of resources, unequal exchanges and Ubuntu-like generosity, who “belongs” and who doesn’t to shifting constellations of wealth, power and community, market and gift economies: the worlds of Milton Friedman (with not at all subtle touches of Ayn Rand) and Desmond Tutu, converge and mingle. So, also, the text is informed by the fluid, transactional character of human lives not defined by such binary constraints.” Milton Krieger Emeritus Professor, Western Washington University USA “An absorbing narrative. In this sociological tour de force, Nyamnjoh explores the hardships, challenges, and dilemmas that confront Africans in the Diaspora, as well as those who seek to undertake adventures in different parts of the world. Mobile Africans seeking “greener pastures” overseas are affected by social and cultural expectations and norms, as well as social obligations to cater for their kith and kin in villages and cities. The adventures are fraught with risks. Yet the dangers are not enough to discourage the adventurers from undertaking their journeys. Beyond all these is the challenge that modern lifestyle and market forces pose to the welfare, security and wellbeing of families, individuals, and friends across Africa. Anyone who is interested in understanding the social, political, cultural, and structural factors that underpin the lives of Africans will find this absorbing narrative by Nyamnjoh riveting. In it, there is something for everyone.” Levi Obijiofor (PhD) Senior Lecturer in Journalism, School of Communication and Arts The University of Queensland Brisbane Australia
Acknowledgements C’est l’homme qui fait l’hommematerialised largely thanks to has relationships and interactions I and others have mutually cultivated and maintained with one another. I have leaned on far more shoulders in my journey of the making of this book than is possible to do justice to in a brief acknowledgement. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all those who in one way or another have contributed with humbling generosity their ideas, time, suggestions, discussions, intellectual and related energy to inspire my efforts. In particular, I am grateful to Les Guignols d’Abidjan, a theatre troupe of which Gohou and Nastou are founding members. Les Guignols d’Abidjan are most famous in francophone Africa, and their plays and TV drama series seek to bring to the stage and television the ups and downs of the everyday lives of Africans. Their popularity extends beyond francophone Africa into Europe, especially to African immigrants. My gratitude goes as well to Teena Dewoo who assisted with the transcription and translation into English of the original dialogue in French; to Polycarp Ambe-Niba, who translated the preface by Aghi Bahi into English from the French original; to Achille Kouhon, a doctoral student in Social Anthropology at Félix Houphouët Boigny University in Côte d’Ivoire, for his detailed comment elaborating on the origin and popularity ofC’est l’homme qui fait l’hommein Côte d’Ivoire; to Crystal Powell, Divine Fuh and Mohammed Umar who readily pointed me in the direction of relevant literature; to Simon Bekker, Dominic Boyer, Ingrid Brudvig, Oscar Hemer, Mary Kinyanjui, Ute Klingemann, Bernard Lategan, Lindiswa Jan, Jimu Malizani, Ayanda Manqoyi, Motoji Matsuda, Munyaradzi Mawere, Robert Morrell, Patience Mususa, Noxolo Nozuko, Xolela Ntsebeza, Henrietta Nyamnjoh, Walter Nkwi,
Levi Obijiofor, Itaru Ohta, Sophie Oldfield, Sanya Osha, Cecilia Rosengren, Mats Rosengren, Mike Rowlands, Primus Tazanu, Jean-Pierre Warnier, Joanna Woods and participants at the writing workshop of May 16-18, 2014 at Mont Fleur Conference Venue in Stellenbosch, South Africa for reading and commenting various drafts of the book. I am most grateful for two fellowships, one from the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (April – June 2015) and one from the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies of Kyoto University (June – July 2015), which enabled me to complete the book. I benefitted enormously from the generosity, both intellectual and social, of fellows and staff of the two institutions. I am in their debt. Special thanks go to both Aghi Bahi and Milton Krieger for generously agreeing to write a Preface and an Epilogue respectively, despite their busy schedules. I acknowledge with profound gratitude the editorial contributions of Rosemary Ekosso, Mieka Ritsema and Kathryn Toure. Last but not least, I am grateful to Dr Julien Adhepeau of the Département des Sciences de la Communication, UFR Information Communication et Arts, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny d’Abidjan, for permission to use his lovely photo of the towering and welcomingMonument Akwaba of Abidjan, on the way from the Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. Created by the Ivorian sculptor Koffi Donkor in the 1990s, the monument is an appropriate symbol for the generous hospitality, conviviality and open-ended humanity that the ideal of Ubuntu evokes.
Table of Contents Préface par Aghi Bahi.........................................................ix Preface by Aghi Bahi………………………………...xvii 1. Introduction………………………………………..1 2. Treasure-Hunting Beyond Familiar Shores…… 25 3. One Good Turn Deserves Another……………... 354. Shared Intricacies and Entanglements…………...59 5. Ubuntu-ism and the Seesaw of Opportunity and Opportunism……………………...79 6. The Zombies Are Back at their Risk and Peril………………………………………………87 7. Conclusion…………………………………………127 Epilogue by Milton Krieger..........................................…149 References……………………………………………157
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Préface Enfant d’Abakwa, fils de Bamenda, de cette région des Grassfields camerounais d’une grande richesse culturelle, enfant d’Afrique et surtout véritable citoyen du monde, Francis Nyamnjoh est aujourd’hui bien plus qu’un simple enseignant chercheur universitaire ou, dans les termes de Jean-Paul Sartre, beaucoup plus qu’un « technicien du savoir pratique » (Sartre 1972 : 29). En effet, ce travailleur infatigable et prolifique est un intellectuel véritable, solide dans ses positions, ouvert dans ses dispositions et courageux dans ses prises de position sur les grands sujets qui agitent ces « temps qui tanguent » pour 1 reprendre l’expression de Bernard Zadi Zaourou . Cet amoureux et défenseur de l’Afrique n’en demeure pas moins un de ses observateurs attentifs et lucides. Grand esprit de notre temps, ce penseur hors du commun se démarque toujours et naturellement des produits intellectuels en vogue dans le (super)marché mondial des idées à la mode sur la culture populaire. C’est, je crois, avec cela à l’esprit qu’il faut entrer dans l’univers de ce livreC’est l’homme qui fait l’homme. Cul de sac Ubuntu-ism in Côte d’Ivoire. En effet, l’homme peut-il advenir et devenir seul ? Peut-il même être seul ? Peut-il être homme sans les autres hommes ? Lecteur de Francis Nyamnjoh depuis ses premiers écrits déjà critiques, dontMind Searching(1991) ouThe disillusionned African(1995), c’est en tant que liseur « indigène » que je prends la parole car l’Ubuntu-ismeétudié dans le est contexte de la Côte d’Ivoire, d’Abidjan en particulier, lieu de mon vécu quotidien ordinaire et de mes propres recherches.
1 Bernard Zadi Zaourou (1938-2012), professeur de littérature africaine à l’Université de Cocody, poète, dramaturge, écrivain, ministre de la culture (1993-1999). Sous le nom de Bottey Moum Koussa, il publiait de 2002 à 2006, dans Fraternité Matin, quotidien ivoirien de service public, la fameuse « Chronique des temps qui tanguent » (Zadi 2008 : 156) où, avec dérision et acuité, il passait au crible d’une analyse caustique les apories d’une société ivoirienne en proie à la guerre civile. ix