Popular musical expressions are important for discourses of citizenship and belonging. Focusing on popular music and political processes in Ethiopia today, this discussion uses Tewodros Kassahun aka Teddy Afro’s music as an example. Teddy Afro is a popular voice challenging the prevailing political discourse in Ethiopia. Several of Afro’s songs have been banned by the government on radio and television in Ethiopia, but are found to provide alternative sites of political and cultural resistance to the autocratic regime. Reasons for censorship are discussed as well as how music can provide alternative sites of resistance. The findings show that oppressing political expressions may not always kill the ideas, as they may find alternative arenas in the face of obstacles.
During recent years, considerable attention has been paid to the negative portrayal of the African continent in the media of the so-called ‘global North’. Significantly less focus has been put on how to actually represent Africa in the news as more than the site of catastrophes or in other ways than through sunshine stories of the ‘struggling but smiling African’. The present article argues that the lack of a wide range of different genres in the North’s mediated representations of Africa is problematic, because the ‘hard news’ we receive is deficient in information about the background and context of news event. The article looks into different cultural expressions such as film, television entertainment and literature to explore how they can play a role in illustrating the concept of ‘Africa’ as both diverse and multifaceted. It argues that opening the northern mediascape to more content from the south would serve as an important backdrop and help in understanding a variety of messages from the African continent.