Departmental Bulletin Paper African National Anthems: Their Value System and Normative 'Potential'

ONDITI, Francis

56pp.3 - 20 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Arguably, a national anthem defines a country’s identity. Globally, it it regarded as a symbol of national unity. In Africa, they assert a country’s independence from colonial imperialism. Despite their strong symbolism and nationalistic ingenuity, national anthems have remained latent in both academic and policy discourses. Moreover, they not only exhibit nationalistic elements, but also propagandistic, aggressive or even chauvinistic constructs. In view of this dichotomy, the debate continues to deepen as the dilemma unveils, how to reconcile the positive elements of the national anthems with the antagonistic lyrics they produce in order to promote values and norms for full realization of ‘African potentials?’ Drawing upon Ian Manners’s concept of ‘normative power, ’ this article employs thematic network analysis tools to examine the pattern of lyrics within the African national anthems as potential sources of ‘norms’ for framing the philosophy of ‘African potentials.’ This article goes beyond the common argument that national anthems are historical effigies to discover the ‘potentials’ within the diversity of constructs emerging from their lyrics and thematic network analytics.

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