Episode 7:

Urban Effervescence: Youth Culture, City Space, and Afropolitan Projects

There are over fifty cities throughout Africa with a population of more than one million inhabitants. However, urban spaces tend to be left out of America’s collective imagination of the continent. Cities are cosmopolitan places where ideas circulate, people mix and mingle, trends are set, and influences of innumerable origins meld together. In this episode, we explore the experiences of young people in urban settings throughout Africa. We focus on the ways youth cultures can affirm a vision of Africa that cuts against the grain of stereotypes and dominant narratives.

Episode Terminology

Afrofuturism: A cultural aesthetic that combines science-fiction, history and fantasy to explore the African-American experience and aims to connect those from the black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry (tate.org)

Cosmopolitanism: Having wide international sophistication; having worldwide rather than limited or provincial scope or bearing (merriam-webster.com)

Afropolitan: Someone who has roots in Africa, raised by the world, but still has an interest in the continent and is making an impact (cnn.com)

Collective Effervescence: A powerful form of synchrony that is associated with intense emotions and communal shared experiences (psychologytoday.com)

Vibe: A distinctive emotional quality or atmosphere that is sensed or experienced by someone (thefreedictionary.com)

Guest Bios

Anima Adjepong

Anima Adjepong, PhD, is a sociologist and Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies at the University of Cincinnati whose research examines culture, identities, and social change in West Africa and the diaspora.

Lilian Sibanda

Lilian Sibanda is a English Second Language Teacher in Peru and a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston who is from Zimbabwe.

Shamiso Ngongoni

Shamiso Ngongoni is a Salesforce Administrator at The African, a nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio focused on the socioeconomic advancement of the African Diaspora, and is from Zimbabwe. 

Irene Asuwa

Irene Asuwa is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and an environmental activist in Kenya.

Katherine Manning

Katherine Manning is a World History teacher and Model UN Advisor at Lexington High School in Lexington, MA. 

Free Resources and Featured Books

Episode Acknowledgements

Thanks to Anima Adjepong, Lilian Sibanda, Shamiso Ngongoni, Irene Asuwa, and Katherine Manning for sharing your insights and expertise.

Thanks to Nico Rivers for audio editing, mixing and mastering this episode.

Special thanks to the Boston University Africa Studies Center and the Teaching Africa Outreach Program for collaborating and providing support for this podcast.

Image Credits

“Lights and Ambience at Kona Bar, Osu Oxford Street” by Warmglow, under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo of Anima Adjepong University of Cincinnati website.

Featured Music

  • “Unguja” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.

  • “Bazaruto” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.

  • “Djerba” by Xylo-Ziko, from the album Polyrhythms, under CC BY-NC 4.0. This track has been excerpted and overlaid with narrative.

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