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CALL for papers/panels NVAS jubilee conference

Call for Panel and Paper Proposals
NVAS 25th Anniversary Conference

Conciliation and Conflict:
The Role of Language in Bridging Social Differences in Africa

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2022

Conference Description
The NVAS dedicates its jubilee conference to Africa’s most widely acknowledged contribution to the heritage of mankind: spoken mediation. This is a multimodal phenomenon that encompasses spoken words, songs,
bodily gestures and communicative silence. Each of these means of communication can serve to break up or cement social cohesion. As we know from premodern and modern history, often the fighting with words can be as harmful as fighting with swords. Polemics of religion, identity (of ethnic affiliation, sexual orientation, a.o.) or politics often precede or are cotemporaneous with physical violence. Similarly, in reconciliation and cooperation, speech (in all its expressive forms) is an essential resource. The conference will bring together specialists from different fields of studies (linguistics, anthropology, communication studies, literature, rhetoric, history, politics, social media studies, economics) to discuss the dual functions of language in social relations.

Panels and individual papers for general sessions are invited on the following themes (but not restricted to these):

  • Public speech and argumentation
  • Linguistic practices of reconciliation and peace-making
  • Expressions of social inclusion and exclusion: taboo (transgression), curses, blessings
  • The language of activism
  • Persuasion, polemics, debates
  • Expressions in monuments and public memorials
  • Artistic and poetic performances (poetry, songs/rap)
  • Humor as a weapon to convince or win arguments
  • Metaphoric language in public contexts

All papers will be published if they meet standard criteria of academic work and if they are submitted in time.

Important dates

  • 1 May 2022, deadline for panel proposals and paper proposals
  • 1 June 2022, notification of acceptance panel/paper
  • 1 December 2022, submission of [preliminary drafts of] papers


  • African Studies Center Leiden, Leiden University.
  • Collaborative Research Group at the African Studies Centre: Collaboration and Contestation in Words: dialogues and disputes in African social realities


The conference will be held in the vibrant town of Leiden, home to Leiden University (venue). Leiden has won the competitive European City of Science status for 2022. Besides, 2022 is the start of UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages and Leiden is one of the major hubs in the Netherlands where language/culture studies flourish.

Registration fee (if conference will be 100% on campus):
NVAS members: €50,-;
Non-members: €100 euro;
Students: €60 euro

Organizers: Azeb Amha and Jan Jansen

Correspondence address for queries and for sending panel/paper proposals:

Presentations NVAS Africa Day 2021: Entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa

(Re-)watch the presentations of NVAS Africa Day 2021 here!

Magnus Ekeland: Longing to break free: Ethnographic reflections on the Basic Income Grant in South Africa’s potential to boost entrepreneurship among young men in rural townships

Lotte Marie Brouwer: Adaptation strategies among successful women agri- entrepreneurs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya

Corneill Spaapen and Lucia Ameli: Supporting entrepreneurs during Covid-19: Insights from African Entrepreneurship Support Organizations

Hanaa Benchrifa and Steven Kator Iorfa: Entrepreneurial intentions among Moroccan University students in times of crisis: A focus on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic

NVAS Africa Day 2021: Entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa

Dear members,

Our annual NVAS Africa Day will take place on line on Saturday 16 October. Would you like to attend? Please click on the registration link below. If you leave your postal address you will receive a stay-at-home package prior to the event!


12:00 – 12:45
Annual General Meeting/Algemene Leden Vergadering
(NVAS members only)

12:45 – 13:00
Opening and welcome

13:00 – 13:20
Lucia Ameli; Crosswise works
Corneill Spaapen; Crosswise works
“Supporting entrepreneurs during COVID: insights from African Entrepreneurship Support Organizations”i

13:20 – 13:40
Hanaa Benchrifa; Hassan II University
Steven Kator Iorfa; University of Nigeria Nsukka
“Entrepreneurial intentions among Moroccan University students in times of crisis: A focus on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic”

13:40 – 14:00
Magnus Ekeland; Radboud University
“Longing to break free: Ethnographic reflections on the Basic Income Grant in South Africa’s potential to boost entrepreneurship among young men in rural townships”

14:00 – 14:30
Plenary discussion

14:30 – 14:40
Coffee break

14:40 – 15:00
Lotte-Marie Brouwer; Women’s Entrepreneurship Lead at Bopinc/Utrecht University
“Adaptation strategies among successful women agri entrepreneurs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya”

15:00 – 15:20
Susanne Roeloefsen; MDF Africa
“The importance of knowing your market and formalising your business”

15:20 – 15:50
Plenary discussion

15:50 – 16:00

16:00 – 16:15
Coffee break

16:15 – 17:30
Short film + Q&A with filmmaker Laura Molsbergen

“A-town – Moving towards visibility”
The film provides a glimpse of the lives of three dancers, who are part of the wider ViaVia dance community in Arusha. They all have their own dreams to pursue, their own money to make to survive on a daily basis. As a unity, they share their passion for dance and the willingness to take their dance practices to a higher level. But the Tanzanian government and its people do not value dance for the development of the country. A-TOWN: Moving towards visibility shows how the dancers try to use their talent to escape the shadow and instead search for the spotlight to be seen by their fellow Tanzanians – but are they able to do so without the help from outsiders?

Call for papers NVAS Africa Day 2021: Entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa (Extended Deadline!)

The deadline for abstracts for our upcoming NVAS Africa Day: ‘Entrepreneurial Responses to Covid-19 in Africa’ has been extended to 15 July 2021. 

We very much welcome contributions from members of our community from both academia and practice. Feel free to share the extended call for abstracts with your network:

If you have any questions about the upcoming Africa Day please send an e-mail to

Call for papers NVAS Africa Day 2021: Entrepreneurial responses to Covid-19 in Africa

We are happy to announce a call for papers for our annual NVAS Africa Day, which will take place in an online/hybrid format on Saturday 16 October 2021.

Both NVAS members and non-NVAS members can apply, and we encourage submissions from PhD and early career scholars from African institutions.

More information on the program and registration will follow. For questions, please contact

You can download the call for papers below. Feel free to share this with your network.

Panel Covid-19 in Africa

On October 31 2020 NVAS organised a panel on the effect of Covid-19 on the African continent. We had the pleasure to hear from five speakers from different countries in Africa. They spoke about how the coronavirus has affected their personal and professional lives, and how their governments dealt with battling the virus. You can re-watch their presentations here.

Samuel Ntewusu is a social historian who holds an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Ghana and a PhD from Leiden University (2012) with a socio-historical study of northern traders and transporters in Accra’s Tudu, 1908-2008. Since 2011 Ntewusu has worked at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. He is also the co- coordinator of the ASCL research programme Society and Change in Northern Ghana: Dagomba, Gonja, and the Regional Perspective on Ghanaian History.

I was born into an Afrikaans middle-class family with a long Dutch name: Petronella Jacoba Jacobs. My mother decided to call me Kobie, so thankful for that!I teach drama. I started my professional teaching career in 2007 at a rural school At present, I am at a city school, The Settlers High School.

Setargew Kenaw is an associate professor of philosophy and cultural
anthropology at Addis Ababa University. He has published two books, a
considerable number of journal articles, and book chapters. His research
interests include epistemology, existentialism, and classical Ethiopian

Mariama Mary Fall (Senegal) is in the process of finishing her PhD dissertation on youth, employment and education in Niger at the University of Ottawa. To her, it is urgent to work towards quality education, beyond enrolment rates. Beyond basic literacy and classic schooling, she focuses on youth lifelong learning and skills to ease their school-to-work transition, which should lead to healthier economies and communities.

Abdallah Ally lives in Mwanza Buhongwa and recently obtained his diploma in clinical medicine at the Sengerema Health Institute in Sengerema, Tanzania. At the moment he is looking for a job and would prefer to work as a doctor. His mothertongue is Swahili, his mother is Haya and his father is Zaramo.

Annual meeting and panel on Covid-19 in Africa

Dear NVAS members,

It is our pleasure to invite you to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of NVAS members to be held online on Saturday 31 October at 14:00. After the AGM there will be a panel about the impact of Covid-19 on the African continent. Speakers from Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania will briefly share their experiences with the virus and the impact of their personal and professional lives. There will be plenty of time to ask questions. More information about the speakers can be found in the attachment. Please register for the event here.

The program of the afternoon is as follows: 

14:00 – 14:30   AGM

14:30 – 16:00   Panel Covid-19 in Africa

You are welcome to join the meeting at any time. You can choose to attend both events, or just the panel. To join the Zoom meeting, please click the following link:

Click here to join the meeting. The password for the meeting is nvas2020. 

The agenda for the AGM is as follows

1. Welcome and announcements  
2. In- and outcoming board members
3. Adoption of minutes
4. NVAS report 2019
5. NVAS financial report 2019 + report by auditing committee 
6. Upcoming NVAS events 
7. AOB
8. Closing statement

We hope to see you on 31 October! 

Interview with Henk Breman: Agricultural development expert

Biologist Henk Breman travelled to Mali in 1972 to avoid military service. He arrived during one of the longest droughts on the continent – triggering him to conduct research on the caring capacity of natural resources in Africa. Since then, he obtained over 40 years of experience in 27 African countries. His most recent publication, ‘From fed by the world to food security: Accelerating agricultural development in Africa’, is a plea to policymakers in Africa and beyond to invest in agricultural development. According to Henk, it is the only way to reach socio-economic development. NVAS visited him in his countryside house, surrounded by lush greenery, to discuss his book and the future of agricultural development in Africa.

Read the full interview here.

Interview with Sangu Delle: Author, entrepreneur and investor

Sangu Delle’s versatility is undeniable. The Ghanaian born Harvard graduate is Chairman of Golden Palm Investments Corporation (“GPI”) and Managing Director of Africa Health Holdings, an innovative company based in West Africa focused on “building Africa’s healthcare future”. He is also co-founder of non-profit Cleanacwa, which is working to provide water and sanitation in underdeveloped communities in rural Ghana. As if that is not enough, Sangu spent the last seven years visiting 47 African nations, studying local entrepreneurial ecosystems and interviewing over six hundred young entrepreneurs. In his book ‘Making Futures: Young Entrepreneurs in a Dynamic Africa’ he discusses seventeen of them, telling stories of their entrepreneurial journeys and the social, economic, and political context in which they operate. The NVAS spoke with him about his writing debut and the future of entrepreneurship in Africa.

Read the entire interview here.

New ASC Press and Communications Officer

The Africa Studies Centre in Leiden has a new Press and Communications Officer: Rik Jongenelen. Rik is succeeding Marieke van Winden and his new role includes to manage the NVAS membership.

More info about Rik:

Rik Jongenelen holds a BA in Education (2016) and an MA in African Studies (2018) from Leiden University. Being a teacher he has been involved in active learning programmes in Uganda and Malawi as a programme supervisor and peer coach. His fieldwork for the MA took place in Zambia, in which he explored the potential of role models in disability advocacy. Rik’s primary research interest lies in education, but also in a wide range of topics related to inclusive development, disability, history and politics. His region of interest is mostly the Sahel, but also Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently he works at the African Studies Centre as a Communications and Press Officer.