{ resistance }


The number of humans living in urban conglomerations has since 2008 overtaken those living in rural settlements. These heavy movements from smaller types of settlements toward larger ones and from there into world megapoleis can be considered as linked to the dichotomy between nature and culture, modern and primitive. Exodus has arguably been an important strategy for humans as it permits other ways of dwelling and even emancipation. For the last decades, exodus has been invading western political discourses, generating moral panic, and leading to a reframing of biopolitics; not to mention necropolitics, inciting civic insurgence and polarizing the social imagination.[1] It is through this filter that many have developed an understanding of the movement of bodies. During this time in history, the focus has largely been around “grand movements” from the global south to the west; a perspective which neglects softer movements taking place between the rural and the urban, despite the fact that urbanization is largely informing global movement.[2] Therefore, a reframing of the spatial/temporal conditions around rural sites in countries often associated with global migration (for example West African countries) could enable us to grasp the totality of challenges we are facing. For the last seven years, I have been returning to a conglomeration of small villages named Kuma in Togo, West Africa. I have been collecting glimpses of the spatial temporal realities and layers through which these conditions have been generating subjectivities, objects and spaces. My interest in the site has to do with the question of the position from which I think, and the direct consequences of that thinking on where I am. Among the global territorial sites that inform our contemporay socio-economic structure, these postcolonial rural sites are in some way always present in our actuality, through their ability to generate movement of unwanted bodies. Yet, they are almost completely invisible, remote, distant, and silent.


[1] Paolo Gaibazzi, Bush bound: Young Men and Rural Permanence in Migrant West Africa (New York: Berghahn Books, 2015).
[2] Charles Piot, Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).


Kibandu Pello-Esso