UAL Lecturer Visits Kinshasa

Posted on September 01, 2016

William Kelleher is currently the coordinator of the JUR110 and JUR120 modules at the Unit for Academic Literacy. He is completing his PhD in sociolinguistics. His thesis is a linguistic ethnography of a site of luxury and modernity that relies on a ‘small stories’ approach to narrative research.

Recently, William was in Kinshasa to begin the mounting of a project that could potentially involve Léon Tsambu from the University of Kinshasa and Jean-Christophe from the Centre Norbert Elias (CNRS and EHESS) at the University of Avignon. The project aim would be to link up several ‘dystoptimistic’ cities running North/South but also East/West, and centre on music culture as the lens through which the operations of these city spaces could be examined.

In Kinshasa, William, Jean-Christophe and Léon met the folblues star Jacques Tshimankinda, visited the National Radio and Television Centre of the Congo, and of course linked up with the local stars such as Staff Benda Billili promoted by Crammed Discs.

They saw iconic places such as the Tata Raphaël stadium (then known as the 20th of May) where Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman, they got on motorcycle taxis at the Victory Square, they gazed over the imposing Congo River, bought wax print fabrics, paid a visit to the Bonobo reserve and of course got involved in the local culture: eating salt fish, dancing at a Mabele concert, crushing chikwanga casava before mixing it with chili sauce.

Many of these things can be found right here in Pretoria. Check out Robert Sobukwe Street for chikwanga, wax prints, and many other delicacies from the Congo.

Published by Sannah Gomba

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