Since 2007, I have been assisting Kojo Opoku Aidoo of Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, to develop a humanistic Syllabus on ‘Mobilities of Grassroots Pan Africanism’as part of the Humanities across Borders Program. The project attempts to contextualize the praxis of mobilities as a grassroots pan Africanism issue in its multiple manifestations and nuanced dialectics. It also examines the tensions and contradictions of the academy and the community dialectic, bringing up questions of social mobilities and intellectual inquiry. The key entry points of the project include trade and currency, constructions of informal and unofficial transnational routes, food and music.
We have had a number field stints to Hilla Kondji, a frontier on the Togo-Benin border. Hilla Kondji is a neighborhood characterized by institutional and cultural diversity and displays practices via which identities might be constructed and contested. This frontier neighborhood experiences disempowering forms of estrangement and social exclusion to which residents respond via constructions of coping mechanisms that effectively challenge the sovereignty, autonomy, authority, power and legitimacy of the Togolese and Beninois states. More than these, the creation of unofficial transnational, trans-regional infrastructures do not only devise parallel political economies to the states’ thereby challenging the very existence of the nation-state, but also challenge xenophobic and genocidal attacks and create the basis of what be regarded as grassroots pan Africanism.