When Ghana Television began in 1965, its first director, Shirley Graham Du Bois, explicitly devised it as an anticolonial and pan-African indigenous television system. Likely the first Black woman to head a national station, Graham Du Bois’ prominence, along with Genoveva Marais as head of programing, suggests that in its nascency Ghana Television was an exceptional place for women. Yet each woman’s relationship with Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, shadowed their professional lives and legacies. Rumors situated them along female archetypes with a powerful man firmly at the center: Graham Du Bois as Nkrumah’s mother and Marais as his mistress. In this article, I argue that while Graham Du Bois and Marais’ media practice rarely addressed gender inequality specifically, their work as female broadcast leaders set a precedent for decolonial feminist futures even as the coloniality of gender extended into Ghana broadcasting during the independence period.
The Mother, the Mistress, and the Cover Girls: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the Coloniality of Gender
Jennifer Blaylock is a visiting assistant professor in Cinema Studies at Shirley Graham Du Bois’ alma mater, Oberlin College. She is currently working on a postcolonial media archaeology that analyzes discourse about new media technologies in Africa from the early twentieth century to the present. Her research has been published in Screen and the Journal of African Cinemas.
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Jennifer Blaylock; The Mother, the Mistress, and the Cover Girls: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the Coloniality of Gender. Feminist Media Histories 1 January 2022; 8 (1): 102–133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2022.8.1.102
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