Sounds of ancient Africa | Big Brother Naija and Nigeria's image

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Friday, 28 August 2020


Music has been an integral part of African life for a long time – rock art depictions confirm this – but when it comes to finding what music and sound-producing instruments have been used, there is precious little evidence of artefacts. This is because sound instruments were made from mostly organic materials that have not survived the passage of time. But as the field of music archaeology grows, a picture of a range of these artefacts from the Stone Age is starting to become clear. There were bullroarers and clay whistles and ivory trumpets and flutes and many others, as Joshua Kumbani details in a report on his important new survey of southern African archaeological finds.

Nowhere is the reality show, Big Brother, more talked-about than in Nigeria, where the fifth edition of Big Brother Naija is currently on air, with contestants filmed interacting while isolated in a house. The show polarises viewers, with critics calling it ‘immoral’ and ‘un-African’ and fans tuning in to support its entertainment value and to comment on the latest set of stars created by the show. But a new study takes a different angle. Olusola Ogunnubi and Akinlolu Akinola report on their research, in which they set out to investigate the benefits of the show as a public relations exercise that is able to improve the portrayal of Nigeria’s image abroad and, ultimately, benefit foreign policy goals.

Charl Blignaut

Arts, Culture and Society Editor


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Joshua Kumbani, University of the Witwatersrand

There is not much information on artefacts used by Stone Age humans to make sound and music – but the first comprehensive survey is a good start.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu is the host of the popular reality TV show, Big Brother Naija. AfricaMagic/DSTV

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Olusola Ogunnubi, University of the Free State; Akinlolu Akinola

Big Brother Naija continues to dominate cultural conversations among African youth. Is this Nigeria's strongest PR move?

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