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The world in creolisation

  • Ulf Hannerz

From the time when I first became entangled with the Third World, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I have been fascinated by those contemporary ways of life and thought which keep growing out of the interplay between imported and indigenous cultures. They are the cultures on display in market places, shanty towns, beer halls, night clubs, missionary book stores, railway waiting rooms, boarding schools, newspapers and television stations. Nigeria, the country I have been most closely in touch with in an on-and-off way for some time, because of its large size, perhaps, offers particular scope for such cultural development, with several very large cities and hundreds if not thousands of small and middle-size towns. It has a lively if rather erratic press, a popular music scene dominated at different times by such genres as highlife, juju and Afro-beat, about as many universities as breweries (approximately one to every state in the federal republic), dozens of authors published at home and abroad, schoolhouses in just about every village, and an enormous fleet of interurban taxicabs which with great speed can convey you practically from anywhere to anywhere, at some risk to your life.

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