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Open Access Pan-Africanism as a laughing matter: (Funny) expressions of African identity on Twitter

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Pan-Africanism, a concept that attempts to capture the essence of being an African, needs to be reconsidered in the age of social media. In this article, we examine how Twitter users negotiate the question of African identity through humorous hashtagdriven conversations. We specifically question whether a new kind of Pan-Africanism is emerging on Africa’s Twitterverse through the use of a popular hashtag in 2015, #IfAfricaWasABar. In our analysis of tweets linked to #IfAfricaWasABar, we conclude that Twitter provides temporary solidarity by engaging users in humorous exchanges regarding the sociocultural, political and economic issues that define the African continental condition today.
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Keywords: #IfAfricaWasABar; Pan-Africanism; Twitter; globalization; humour; identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Karlstad University

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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