chapter  21
19 Pages

Trajectories of Communication Studies in

BySub-Saharan Africa

The early stages of communication study in Sub-Saharan Africa date back to the 1950s. This was a decade when the continent was preparing for decolonization and political autonomy, alongside growing emphasis on local culture and education. Thus, when Ghana declared independence in 1957 as the first nation to become decolonized in Sub-Saharan Africa, its leader, Kwame Nkrumah, already had clear ideas about the need for deliberation in the media sector. As a result, the first journalism program in Sub-Saharan Africa was opened in Ghana shortly thereafter. The emphasis on building local cultural awareness in the various newly independent African nations did not however mean that communication practice or study came to be immune to geopolitical influences. On the contrary, any history of African communication study must take into account interactions with the rest of the world; these have continuously shaped both practice and scholarship in the field. A case in point is the impact of the Cold War in African communication education, where one can detect how communities have favored collaboration with Europe, North America or other parts of the world, often for political reasons.