Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Payal Shah


This dissertation was a 23-month comparative case study of Y’en a Marre, a civic organizing movement based in Dakar, Senegal and FESCI, a student organization in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. This study investigates the ways in which these organizations view Hip-Hop and its pedagogical utility as a means to encourage socialization, promote authenticity, and foster leadership. Through Hip-Hop, young people are drawn to a cultural expression that reflects the social, economic, and political realities of their lives speaking to them in a language and manner they understand. This is critical given sub- Saharan Africa’s tremendous youth population and their potential impact on the continent.

Utilizing a transnégritude theoretical framework, this study situates Hip-Hop pedagogy and epistemic disobedience as vehicles of expression impacting language, identity, and engagement as a means to decolonize and liberate from dominant narratives. To articulate Hip-Hop pedagogy as an effective tool for engagement, a comparative case study methodology was employed study to consider the macro, that is the social, political and historical dynamics that have shaped and influenced young people, education and engagement; and the micro—the multilayered lived realities of young people in West Africa.

By focusing on young people as an asset, this study considers young people to be at the helm of social change, playing a crucial role in curtailing corruption, migration, and political instability. The influence and notoriety of organizations such as Y’en a Marre and FESCI, illustrate the impact of a Hip-Hop pedagogy that not only heals but promotes leadership, ownership, and autonomy.