Debating Africa : BBC's documentary "Heart & soul - return to Zanzibar"

Hickman, Katy, Sheriff, Abdul and Alibhai-Brown, Yasmin (2010) Debating Africa : BBC's documentary "Heart & soul - return to Zanzibar". Information, society and justice journal, 3 (2). pp. 177-185. ISSN 1756-1078


This issue of ISJ carried another article in the irregular series "Debating and Documenting Africa", the first one having been published in volume 1, number 2 (June 2008). This issue carries a discussion between Katy Hickman, Senior Producer at BBC World Service Religion and Ethics and Prof. Abdul Sheriff, formerly Professor of History at the University of Dar es Salaam and Director of Zanzibar Museums and the author of forthcoming titles, Dhow Cultures of the Indian Ocean: Cosmopolitanism, Commerce and Islam and The Early Dhow Culture in the Indian Ocean: From the Periplus to the Portuguese. The context of this debate is BBC Radio’s "Return to Zanzibar" programme in their series, Heart & Soul. Setting the scene is Katy Hickman’s contact with Prof. Sheriff in which she enclosed an early outline of the programme. This is followed by Prof. Sheriff’s response which raises various key issue of relevance to the study of Africa. This is followed by Katy Hickman’s response which explains how the final version was influenced by points raised by Prof. Sheriff. Also included is a later piece by the presenter of the programme, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. While not part of this discussion, the latter is included to provide the presenter’s perspective. All these provide a look behind the scene on debates that take place before programmes are made and bring out the key role that historians, researchers and academicians can, and need to play, in social communications. ISJ’s Editorial Board re-presents this debate to stimulate further discussion.

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