Chérie Rivers Ndaliko is an interdisciplinary scholar, activist, and the Executive Director of the Yole!Africa cultural center (www.yoleafrica.org) located in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The focus of her research is art and social justice in African warzones. With data gathered through empirical research, ethnography, and community based participatory methods, she advocates for a paradigm shift in the application of arts activism within humanitarian and charitable aid in Africa. Her analyses of contemporary sociopolitical artworks draw from the fields of African studies, ethnomusicology, film/media studies, and cultural theory.
Ndaliko has written two books arguing for critical engagement with culture in the face of active conflict. These include a monograph, Necessary Noise: Music, Film, and Charitable Imperialism in the East of Congo (Oxford, 2016; recipient of the 2017 Alan Merriam Award), and a co-edited volume, The Art of Emergency: Aesthetics and Aid in African Crises (forthcoming with Oxford), both of which introduce into heated international debates on aid and sustainable development, a case for the necessity of arts and culture in negotiating sustained peace. She is currently working on a multidisciplinary and multimedia project, Commemorating Congo: Unsung Stories of Resource Wars, which curates and contextualizes stories from survivors of and participants in the ongoing war in the east of Congo. This project will include digital recordings of biographic and folkloric stories, as well as essays that situate Congo’s current war in both historical and geopolitical context.
Teaching is another mode of activism for Ndaliko. Her courses and assignments challenge students to grapple with the practical and ethical challenges of social justice and to generate original work that allows them to explore the many intersections of creativity and social change.
Ndaliko is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a B.M. in film scoring from the Berklee College of Music (2005), an A.M. from Harvard University in Ethnomusicology (2008), and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in African Studies (2012), where she was a pioneer of the University’s Social Engagement Initiative.