Podcasting as Activism and/or Entrepreneurship: Cooperative Networks, Publics and African Literary Production

Madhu Krishnan, Kate Wallis


Over the last decade, a variety of new podcast projects have been launched on the African continent, including 2 Girls & a Pod and BakwaCast. Linked with a variety of emerging and established independent literary institutions, these podcasts serve simultaneously as a natural extension of literary activism on the continent and as an important new avenue for exploring its contours through the particularities of its medium. This article explores and documents this emergence, examining the ways in which these new forms of literary activism curate and cultivate outlets for the production, promotion and dissemination of literature, building communities of readers and cultural value through a range of strategic positionings, openings and interpellations. Through this we ask questions about the relationships between medium, audiences and location, between sound and print, as well as the role of this new literary form in ‘commoning’ (Hardt and Negri), and forms of public engagement and network-formation. Through this we argue for the potential of podcasts to build a new pan-African networks of readers, writers and literary producers beyond the supposed orthodoxies of the written word, leveraging the flexibility of their medium to generate dynamic networks of practice.

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