Blogging in Africa

Africa is notoriously the least-explored continent in the world, but this does not just extend to its tropical forests and vast deserts. The African blogsphere is also very rarified and little-known. Blogswana is a good place to start:

Blogswana is a one-year pilot project. Our plan is to work with a group of about 20 college students from one of the major universities in Botswana, and provide them with blogging and journalism expertise and guidance. They must commit to a year of “blogging for others.” Each student participant will start one blog for themselves and another for their “partner” (the person for whom they will blog). Each partner will be one of the many people in Botswana who has been affected in some way by the AIDS virus.

As well as promoting a completely new NGO model (they call it 2.0, in reference to the […] distributed, networked, user-generated, shared and easily transferable content […] of the Web 2.0), Blogswana is a good source of information about the vaster African blogsphere. Via Sokari‘s, I came across the African women’s blog, which I hope will destroy the old stereotype that it’s only geeky guys like myself obsessed with blogging.

Also very useful is the BlogAfrica aggregator, which – like all aggregators – is fairly random but hugely interesting in its un-editorialised perspective. Its blogroll contains an impressive list of African or Africa-themed blogs. One of the most insightful is from a former Peace Corps volunteer, who lived in Africa but now writes from the US: Black Star Journal. His latest entry is a lesson on the ills and shortcomings of African development, as well as an invite to further conversations. I’d love to exchange more views with him.

The blog-hopping could go on forever. I wouldn’t know where to stop. I’ll just conclude this post with a poem celebrating African women, taken from Mshairi’s blog, who incidentally also writes for Global Voices On-line:

Because I am smiling
Does not mean I am happy
Being a pacifist
Does not mean I can not fight back
Being self-sufficient
Does not mean I am masculine
Standing by my convictions
Does not mean I am obstinate
My confidence
Does not translate to conceit
Being sensitive
Does not make me foolish
Not saying much
Does not mean I am not well-informed
Being confident
Does not mean I am aggressive
Because I am firm
Does not mean I am inflexible
Acting on impulse
Does not make me fickle
Being emotional
Means I am human
Because I do not flutter my eyelashes
And flirt
Does not mean I am not feminine
Being feminist
Does not mean I am not a woman

Asante sana…

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4 responses to “Blogging in Africa

  1. hi – thanks for recognising the African Women’s Blog and Blogswana which is an excellent project and I hope they can find the funding to get it off the ground.

  2. Hi Sokari

    Indeed, a really interesting initiative. I hope they find funding too, but having worked in this kind of fundraising before, I know how hard it is…

  3. Thanks for shedding some light on the African blogosphere. While I certainly agree these blogs are ‘little-known’, I doubt if ‘rarefy’ is an appropriate qualifier for these conversations. While this is a call best made by your readers, I feel compelled to add that the commentaries on these blogs are as diversed as the continent itself. The topics range from Socio-political to music, human-rights, pop-culture, technology and business.

  4. Imnakoya

    let me clarify, I mean rarified as “diaphanous, ethereal, fragile”. Just another way of saying the African blogsphere is not as omnipresent in the public discourse as the European or North American ones. I wasn’t referring to its contents, which are clearly as diverse as Africa itself.

    A.

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