April, 23 – Words like Weapons: Postcolonial African Rap and the Performance of Violence

The lecture will explore ongoing debates about the nature and impact of violent lyrics in rap music. Taking case studies from South Africa, Angola and Burkina Faso, it will discuss the different manifestations of violence which can be found in rap music, and relate the use of violent words, scenarios and performances to the surrounding socio-political context as well as the history of colonization/decolonization of these different nations. The discussion will further integrate rap performances within a larger framework of reflections on the political power of words in decolonial struggles, and the place attributed to violence in anti-colonial resistance.

Prof. Dr. Ana Sobral, English Department, University of Zurich

Powerpoint slides for download