Spirit media: The electronic media and Islam among the Dyula of northern Côte d'Ivoire

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14 Scopus citations


In 1973 the Muslim Dyula of northern Côte d'Ivoire, in their quarter of Korhogo town or in the villages, listened to the radio and might occasionally see an Italian ‘western’ at the cinema. Television was an exotic rarity; cassettes were a novelty. By 1984 television was ubiquitous; households that had not been interested in radio were now enthusiastic about watching television in the evening. Cassettes had become even more common than radios, and tapes were pirated and copied. The shift from radio and film to television and cassettes brought religion more fully into the forefront of the electronic media. For Muslims, religious cassettes consisted of sermons or ‘recitations’ in Dyula. Sermons, given in the open air and accompanied by refreshments, are festive occasions, a spectacle where the audience expects to be entertained. The form of the sermon bears a striking resemblance to Mande epic recitation, and are readily taped by individuals in the audience, to be listened to as entertainment; they are not a commercial commodity. Sermons on television, however, have very different requirements: the Thursday evening Muslim ‘show’ has younger, Saudi-oriented clerics who are not allowed to ramble; the ‘show’ is tightly scripted, with precise times allotted; clerics read from a text rather than quote from memory, extempore. Despite the generational divide in tastes and styles, the two genres still coexist side by side—though for how long?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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