Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


African and African Diaspora Studies

First Advisor

Abera Gelan

Second Advisor

Robert Baker

Committee Members

Abera Gelan, Robert Baker


African Identity, Cultural Empowerment, Decolonization, Education


Narratives pertaining to the cultural inferiority of Africans have plagued the mindsets and consequently, the actions of millions around the world. The undermining beliefs of societies globally towards the African continent and its people has historically created opportunities for colonialism, imperialism and various other forms of exploitation. Various educational, political and socio-cultural gaps have manifested themselves in disguise of fundamentally/intrinsically poor African management. Examples range from more educational and socio-cultural issues such as cultural rejection/dissociation to everyday manifestations of identity displacement which can be understood as western cultural mimicry. Throughout this thesis, I shall argue that the core of the reason for these seemingly superficial developmental gaps in contemporary African society can be answered with a deeply socio-cultural issue: The lack of reinforcement in the empowerment of the African identity as worthy, capable and certainly inferior to none other. All of this directly influencing the potential of true and active African agency. I will also argue for the use of various cultural tools such as African music, fashion and media as a means of empowering the African identity.