This chapter introduces free speech as a value that must be studied ethnographically in specific historical contexts. The perspective from provincial Zambia challenges the focus on Ancient Greece, the French Revolution, and the First Amendment in the literature on free speech. It also challenges a more critical perspective on free speech as fearless speech, based on Foucault's definition of parrhêsia. By drawing on observations about Gogo Breeze's hierarchical and yet multivocal approach to public speech, as well as on other anthropological studies on political communication, the chapter prepares the ground for the rest of the chapters. It also introduces the history of radio broadcasting in Zambia and particularly the use of radio personalities. The chapter introduces as a key theme the relationship between Breeze FM's need to generate revenue and its founder's vision of public service. A discussion of anthropological work on past and present forms of elderhood in Africa precedes a final section on the research that this book is based on.
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