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In many parts of the world, rather fixed divisions have been set up between different realms of existence (public/private, living/dead, inside/ outside, etc.). In sub-Saharan Africa these domains are often seen to overlap. Incorporating foreign building styles, accepting outsiders as members of local communities, integrating local rituals into Christianity or Islam, even enforced coexistence with European colonial powers (or, more accurately, managing it), can be seen in the light of this strategic flexibility. Here we present examples from across the continent of the ‘paradoxical’ coexistence of what might at first sight be considered opposites. This could be an artwork dealing with the relationship between local realities and global pop culture.   It could be an architectural project that at its core embraces reconciliation with a still present and painful past. Or a photograph indicating the coexistence of visible and invisible family members. Openness to the unknown or contradictory is a key element of social life in sub- Saharan Africa. Coexistence is built on the training of cultures and individuals in embracing categorically different worldviews, judgments of taste, tones of discourse and states of being. COEXISTENCE 25


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