A couple of weeks ago, we collected some posts from a meme that was doing the rounds in the Francophone blogosphere answering the question of why to blog about Africa. Started by Téophile Kouamouo [Fr] from Côte d'Ivoire, it inspired many bloggers to open themselves to their readers, with honest, passionate and personal answers as diverse as the continent itself. After we collected a few of those reactions in French (while Kouamouo was doing the same thing at Rue 89), the meme spread into the English blogosphere, of which we bring now a second selection.
For Zambian Economist the short answer is:
… because if we don't blog about Africa for ourselves, others would do it for us.
And he also has a long answer very worth reading, involving learning, influencing and sharing experiences.
Simunza S. Muyangana, from Zambia, enjoys sharing good news:
While I am not in denial of our need as continent to address the numerous social injustices that set us back, I do fervently believe that it would be a tragedy if we didn't acknowledge our successes or celebrate the unique circumstances that make Mother Africa the gracious benevolent lady that she is.
Mulumba of Mweshi, another blogger based in Zambia, also wants to share positive stories about Africa:
Africa is my home and a land of immense beauty, great food, fantastic sights, captivating music, and amazing people. We have our problems, but I believe we have many more success stories than failures and I remain overly optimistic about the future. […]
I blog about Africa because I want to share some of the amazing experiences I’ve had and continue to in living and working on the continent. This is a continent steeped in rich history with an equally prosperous future ahead.
(Graphic made by White African)
Sci-Cultura, from Kenya, emphasizes the cultural diversity of Africa :
We are young nations that make up Africa and I strongly feel that we need to define Africa for ourselves.
[…] I blog about Africa to observe and scrutinise the past in order to understand the present, as well as the dawning future. To explore the Africa of here and now. To explore the links that Africa makes with the rest of the world. To challenge and dispel the untruths of what this mythical singular place called Africa is. To showcase the diversity and depth that Africa has to offer; both on the continent and around the globe, by people who call themselves Africans and those of African ancestry either in recent memory or distant past.
For Juliana of Afromusing, also from Kenya, it's all about the music:
…because it is fascinating, fantastically diverse culturally, beautiful and cool […] I am fascinated by the different types of music from Cameroon (Zangalewa!! eh eh eh – Kibe Zangalewa!), the chilled romantic grooves of Madagascar, Tabu Ley of the country then known as Zaire, Jolie Detta of Congo -even though I thought that was only music for my parents, to my current obsession with Kizomba music from Angola.
What an African woman thinks offers a very poetic explanation:
Africa is under my skin. Africa is the voices in my head. Africa is the itch on my back that I can’t quite reach.
[…] She’s beautiful and she’s strong and she’s got so much to give, she inspires me and I love her truly madly deeply.
She’s battered and bruised and sometimes broken and I love her even more.
She’s always on my mind and in my heart.
It’s not so much, then, that I choose to blog about Africa. It’s that I can’t not.
I really wish the world would see in her all that I see in her.
That’s another reason why I blog about Africa: To make this wish come true.
Dulce Camer, from Cameroon, writes in a similar vein:
I am an African first before anything else!
“Africa” is like the blood that runs through my veins, the thoughts that fills out my brain, the medecine that keeps me sane.
Sokari of Black Looks, from Nigeria, Africa “is like a contrary but charming friend“:
… she makes me angry and frustrated, lets me down, goes on walkabouts and is influenced by some pretty horrible characters many from distant lands. But I cant help loving her deeply – she is alive, she is real and wise with so many wonderful meaningful stories of humanity and life. She is rich in stature and spirit. I love the way she moves, her facial expressions, the taste of her food and the smell and colours of the earth but most of all I write about her because I so much want her to be OK to be right to prosper and to be in control of herself and to be confident enough to love herself!
For Osize of Mootbox, from Nigeria, it's simply therapy:
There is no grand reason behind me blogging about Africa. I do not blog for hungry kids or to broker peace between warring factions. My blog does not influence which African child will receive an OLPC and one that will not. Blogging about Africa is therapy for me.
For Rafiq Phillips of Web AddiCT(s), from South Africa, it's about the innovation :
The fact that we are finding solutions to our own difficulties that those outside do not report on in most cases even those on the African continent choose to ignore. The various perspectives intrigue me. The patterns, fractals, huge divide between the haves and have-nots inspire me. The feeling of knowing that with a bit of tweaking of tech, education, design and some progressive partnerships that the divide in our society can be shrunk.
For Bill Zimmerman of 27 months, an American expat in Cameroon, it's the African tech Renaissance:
… because I’m intrigued by the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship I see here in Cameroon and the continent as a whole. I’m passionate about technology, and I truly believe we’re on the verge of witnessing a Renaissance that will largely be fueled by ICT and led by pioneering young Africans. It’s an exciting place to be, and blog about, for this reason alone.
Mwangi of The displaced African, wants to be part of the solution:
My reason is not as glamarous. Nor popular. Nor poetic. I started blogging about Africa because one day I looked in the mirror and realized that of all the socioeconomic, spiritual, physical, wordly or “insert way of categorizing people here” groups I belonged to, the one which was weakest was the African side.
[…] Now the list of things that are wrong with African people is endless. The theories are endless: we are the cursed sons of Noah meant to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. We are simply cursed for the sins of our ancestors and so on and so on.
I didn’t want to be a part of that conversation anymore.
[…] I wanted to be a part of the solution. All my heart and soul knew was it wanted to be a part of the solution.
Sci-Cultura concluded her post with a music video of Salif Keita's Africa, and so do we:
Hey, I have finally been featured in Global Voices Online. I’ve always wanted to do this, thx for featuring me.
I enjoy seeing people blogging about Africa, that’s I started a project to provide free tools and services to all African bloggers. I call this project Pen 2 Net and it is sponsored by CIWABA (Computer, Internet and Web Awareness for a Better Africa)