English Department Research Seminar

August 29, 2017   English Department

You are all invited to the English Department Research Seminar as follows:

Date:Thursday, 31st August 2017

Venue:Language Lab (Room M)

Time: 3-4 pm

Speaker:Dave Mankhokwe Namusanya

Topic:Popular Culture as a Mirror: Contextualising the Music of Mafo Within the Situation of the Youth in Malawi"


Urban music in Malawi has become one of the most followed popular culture products, especially among young people, owing to its easier accessibility and experimentation (mixing genres that young people are familiar with). Despite this being the case, it is one of the under researched areas in Malawi with most of the academic research on Malawian music focusing on old and established musicians such as Lucius Banda and Joseph Nkasa. One of the urban musicians who has mostly been reviled owing to what is said to be obscenity or suggestive lyrics in his music is Mafo. At the same time, Mafo is one of the urban artists who has a considerable following among young people with most of his releases generating conversations in the spaces of the youth including the social media. My paper will focus on urban music as a popular culture product, specifically arguing on the relevance of urban music, precisely Mafo’s, as a resource for academicians, researchers, and policy makers.  My paper considers Mafo’s music as a mirror of the hard-to-reach young people in Malawi whose voices are mostly outside the traditional spaces of conversations on youth. I show in this paper how Mafo (re) presents the fears, aspirations, hopes and wishes of what Fanon would call “the wretched of the earth” among the youth. The paper concludes by highlighting the opportunities that such music presents to the wider public in understanding the situation of young people, especially those outside of ‘mainstream youth’.

You Are All Welcome!








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