Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: Muhonjia Khaminwa (
About: Is the message corrupting the messenger

Tue, 2 Apr 1996 13:59:25 -0500

Originally from: Muhonjia Khaminwa <>
Originally dated: Tue, 2 Apr 1996 13:59:25 -0500

I am interested in starting a discussion on the subject of how the use of
"art" forms by people who are involved in what (no matter how well
intentioned) is propagandizing or disseminating a particular message,
e.g. Embroidering fabrics with family planning slogans, affects the
artistic value of the medium.

Bear with me

There is a level at which the production of art that is of value to the
community in that it contributes an ability to look at ourselves, where
we are, where we are going, where we could be going. When the medium for
transmitting this message is used by people from outside the community to
disseminate whatever message they are disseminating does it not erode the
authority of that medium as a voice of the community?

For example the kanga or leso is a wrap that women along the East African
coast tie around their waists. The fabric is patterned with a
decorative border. In the middle of the bottom edge is a frame with what
used to be a saying or proverb inscripted. Now it is likely that that
in itself was its own information dissemination project. But now that
space is used for political slogans and possibly for family planning
messages, doesn't whatever authenticity that space may have had as a
method of transmitting cultural information get eroded.

And does this process magnified over in television series that are really
again vehicles for family planning messages reduce the ability of the
medium to effectively address issues that the community would like to
resolve on the screen?

Doesn't this in turn reduce the places available for the resolution of
whatever issues a particular community needs to address?

Muhonjia Khaminwa

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