n African Journal of Rhetoric - African presidential rhetoric : theorising transformational political speechmaking

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


In spite of the underdevelopment of different aspects of rhetoric in Africa, the profuseness of the production of 'speech' and other forms of rhetorical documents by African presidents is remarkable. Africa, like most other parts of the world, is constantly undergoing major political as well as institutional changes. In the past couple of decades, change seems to have been the more constant feature of the African presidential rhetoric, but such that has been dogged by tension, conflict, and insidious challenges. These changes progress from anti-colonial rhetoric that earned most countries their independence. While some of the movement leaders later became presidents, right through to the establishment of indigenous rule, these countries have also been riddled with new and perhaps unforeseen developments, some positive, but mostly negative. My thinking over the past couple of years has been around the instrumentalisation of rhetoric in political practice and governance and as a means of, not only, understanding a president's political posturing, but also, as an instrument for evaluating performance of public office holders. This paper will initialise a constructive engagement with appropriate theories and methodologies with which to support transformational politics through rhetorical best practice.

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