Book Project

Call for Proposals:

Indigenous Language for Development and Social Change Communication in the Global South

Since the 1970s, the active role and involvement of marginalised citizens in development and social change programmes at local, national, and in some instances, international levels, has sparked much interests from scholars around the globe (cf. Waisbord, 2008). At the heart of this scholarship is the need to coordinate active citizen participation in different aspects of development, which is a breakaway from the earlier top-down development agenda of the 1940s- which placed emphasis on the Marshall plan of economic growth (i.e. Modernisation), where beneficiaries of development played little or no role in decision-making processes involving them (cf. Melkote & Steeves, 2015; Manyozo, 2008). Through participatory communication- which was influenced by Paulo Freire’s work on dialogical praxis, liberation pedagogy, and conscientisation as part of his classical treatise: “Pedagogy of the oppressed” (cf. Molale, 2021), scholars around the global south, largely from Latin America, began exploring ways in which different theories, frameworks and models can be established to facilitate and enhance meaningful and sustainable transformation in the quality of life for local citizens through their active involvement in development processes (cf. Manyozo, 2012).

The alternative paradigm that emerged was geared toward the popularisation of the development and design of campaign messages, that are supposed to be culturally sensitive, language specific(emphasis intended) and in tune with the social realities of the people of the developing world (cf. Salawu, 2015; Nwuneli, 1993; Uribe-Jongbloed, 2013). The language in which a development message is disseminated is a very important aspect of the message treatment. It is posited that the indigenous language of any community is the best suited for the purpose of conveying any message, whatsoever, to the said community (cf. Salawu, 2015; Nwuneli, 1985: 203). Indigenous Language Media, as it is still the case presently, played a vital role in facilitating “voices from the margins” through alternative “bottom-up” participation and communication platforms such as community radio and newspapers, theatre and traditional communication platforms such as song, dance, and folk media (cf. Kamlongera, 2005; Mlama, 2002; Alia, 2010); as well as the use of digital/social media for the coordination and sustenance of social movements (cf. Tufte, 2017). However, it has been recently discovered that there are instances where indigenous language media have been used to further the interests of development managers/bureaucrats at the expense of marginal voices, through an information transfer mechanism where the local citizens are passive recipients of messages from the top-down (cf. Molale, Ogunsanya, Leketenyane & Asak, in press.) or where the English language has been used in indigenous community media platform as a lingua franca (cf. Molale & Mpofu, 2021) to further marginalise local knowledge and languages.  

In light of the foregoing, it is pertinent to ask to what extent indigenous language media can offer space and platform for resistance, and coordination of an empowered and active citizen voice from below- as a way of advancing genuine development and social change.

In trying to answer this question, scholars from around the world are invited to submit proposals aimed at exploring the following different themes:

·     Indigenous Language Television and Radio Programming for Development and Social Change

·     Indigenous Language Media and Health Communication

·     The role of Indigenous Language Community Media in Agricultural and Sustainable Resource Management (i.e. Food Security and Climate Change)

·     Indigenous Language Media/Communication and the Environment

·     The role of Indigenous Language Media in promoting Childcare, Youth and Gender Empowerment

·     Indigenous Language Community Media and the Participation of People with Disabilities 

·     The role of Indigenous Language Media in deepening Democracy

·     Indigenous Language Media and Literacy

·     Impact of Indigenous Language Media reporting on Rural Societies 

·     The use of Social Media by Indigenous Language Media outlets for an engaged Mass Audience

·     The use of Indigenous Language Media in Mass Mobilisation and Social Movement Formation

·     Indigenous Language Media, Protest and Resistance

·     Indigenous Language Media/Communication, Peace and Conflict

The above themes are by no means exhaustive.

Submission details: 

Interested contributors are invited to submit a 500-word proposal and a short biography to Dr Tshepang Bright Molale (North-West University, South Africa) at devcoms123@gmail.comand ccto tmolaleb09@gmail.com.  Deadline for abstract submission is May 23, 2021. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by June 6, 2021. Final chapters of approximately 5000-7000 words will be due on the December 6, 2021. Please note that all submissions will undergo a rigorous blind peer-review process.

Abiodun Salawu – North-West University, South Africa

Bright Molale – North-West University, South Africa

Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed – Universidad Externado de Colombia

Ullah Sahid – University of Chittagong, Bangladesh


Alia, V. 2010. The new media nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication. Berghahn books.

Kamlongera, C. 2005. Theatre for Development in Africa (in Hemer, O., & Tufte, T. eds.Media & Glocal Change: Rethinking Communication for Development.Buenos Aires: CLASCO. p. 435-452).

Manyozo, L.P. 2008. Communication for Development: An Historical Overview. Reports prepared for UNESCO on the occasion of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Media, Communication, Information: Celebrating 50 Years of Theories and Practice, Paris, France, 23-25 July 2007. 

Manyozo, L. 2012. Media, Communication and Development: Three Approaches. New Delhi: Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd. 

Melkote, S.R., Steeves, H.L. 2015. Communication for Development: Theory and Practice for Empowerment and Social Change,3rd ed. New Delhi: Sage. 

Mlama, P. 2002. Popular Theatre and Development- Challenges from the Future: The Tanzanian Experience. Contemporary Theatre Review, 12(1+2), 45-58. DOI: 10.1080/10486800208568651.

Molale, T.B. & Mpofu, P. 2020. Making sense of Mmega Dikgang’sShift from Setswana to English. (in Salawu, A. ed. African Language Media: Development, Economics and Management. New York: Routledge, pp.74-89)

Molale, T., Ogunsanya, A., Leketanyane, P., & Asak, M. 2021? Deconstructing the Participation of Rural Dwellers in a Community Radio Station: A Participatory Development Communication Approach to a Radio Station in the North West Province, South Africa. (in Chiumbu, S., & Motsaathebe, G. eds. Radio, Public Life, and Citizen Deliberation in South Africa, Routledge) (In press).

Molale, T.B. 2021. A framework for participatory communication in the IDP context of Ward 31 in Rustenburg Local Municipality. Potchefstroom: NWU. (Thesis- PhD).

Nwuneli, O. 1993. Communication and Development: International Perspectives. Paper presented at a Conference on making the Media work for Southern Africa Development. Rhodes University, Ghramstown, South Africa.

Nwuneli, O. 1985. Communication and Social Development in Nigeria. In O. Nwuneli (Ed.) Mass Communication in Nigeria: A Book of Reading[sic]. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co. Ltd. Pp. 185 – 210.

Salawu, A. 2015. Language, Culture, Media and Development: A Nexus of Harmony. Professorial inaugural lecture. North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa. August 20.

Tufte, T. 2017. Communication and Social Change: A citizen’s perspective. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Uribe-Jongbloed, E. 2013. Minority language media studies and communication for social change: Dialogue between Europe and Latin America. InJones, E.H.G. & Uribe-Jongbloed, E. eds.Social Media and Minority Languages: Convergence and the Creative Industries. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Waisbord, S. 2008. The institutional challenges of participatory communication in international aid. Social Identities, 14(4), 505-522. DOI: 10.1080/13504630802212009. 
Professor Abiodun Salawu, PhD

Director of Research Entity: Indigenous Language Media in Africa

Faculty of Humanities

North-West University

Mafikeng Campus

Private Bag X2046

Mmabatho 2735

South Africa

Telephone: +27 18 389 2238

E-mail: abiodun.salawu@nwu.ac.za salawuabiodun@gmail.comsalawuabiodun@yahoo.com

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