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Gogo Breeze

Zambia’s Radio Elder and the Voices of Free Speech

Gogo Breeze

Zambia’s Radio Elder and the Voices of Free Speech

When Breeze FM, a radio station in the provincial Zambian town of Chipata, hired an elderly retired schoolteacher in 2003, no one anticipated the skyrocketing success that would follow. A self-styled grandfather on air, Gogo Breeze seeks intimacy over the airwaves and dispenses advice on a wide variety of grievances and transgressions. Multiple voices are broadcast and juxtaposed through call-ins and dialogue, but free speech finds its ally in the radio elder who, by allowing people to be heard and supporting their claims, reminds authorities of their obligations toward the disaffected.
 
Harri Englund provides a masterfully detailed study of this popular radio personality that addresses broad questions of free speech in Zambia and beyond. By drawing on ethnographic insights into political communication, Englund presents multivocal morality as an alternative to dominant Euro-American perspectives, displacing the simplistic notion of voice as individual personal property—an idea common in both policy and activist rhetoric. Instead, Englund focuses on the creativity and polyphony of Zambian radio while raising important questions about hierarchy, elderhood, and ethics in the public sphere.
 
A lively, engaging portrait of an extraordinary personality, Gogo Breeze will interest Africanists, scholars of radio and mass media, and anyone interested in the history and future of free speech.

Listen to an interview with the author.


288 pages | 11 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Reviews

“Englund offers up an unusual ethnography of media that is deeply person-centered and filled with character study and life history. In doing so, he breaks new ground in media studies by delineating how radio can generate an intimate form of the public sphere. Bringing together an insightful reading of multivocality with a rethinking of the authority of elderhood—all but ignored of late in African studies—this book explores what happens when radio is configured through a relation of kinship, allowing for the democratic articulation of multiplicity under the frame of the people’s grandfather.”

Sasha Newell, author of The Modernity Bluff

Gogo Breeze is a rich ethnography that gives a full picture of a host of issues confronting Zambians today. Written in an accessible style, full of many ethnographic anecdotes and theoretical insights, the book will be of interest to a range of scholars and students.”

Laura Kunreuther, author of Voicing Subjects

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART I: BEING GOGO BREEZE
ONE / Mass-Mediated Elderhood
TWO / The Grandfather’s Voices

PART II: OBLIGATIONS ON AND OFF AIR
THREE / On Air: Beyond Charity
FOUR / Off Air: Private Service

PART III: WOMEN AND CHILDREN
FIVE / Between Feminisms and Paternalisms
SIX / Children’s Voices

PART IV: CODA
SEVEN / Radio Obligations

Appendix A: Confronting Mill Owners
Appendix B: Helping Miriam Nkhoma
Notes
References
Index

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