Wednesday, December 21, 2005

African bloggers find their voice | My reflections

As the end of the year 2005 rapidly approaches I want to write about something today that has been on my mind for months. It is an act of Thanksgiving, not exactly the kind of *Thanksgiving we celebrate as a holiday back in my home country the United States of America, but another kind of thanksgiving.

I was thinking overnight about my post from yesterday re: the BBC News article by Andrew Heavens titled “
African bloggers find their voice”. Andrew did a fair job of bringing attention via his article to African bloggers and international blog authors who write about Africa, but in reality it was just that, a fair job. It just skims the surface of an ocean like a seagull going after a small minnow, missing everything that is swimming down in the depths of the Africa Sector of the Blogosphere. Those waters are very deep (like an ocean), the currents (dynamics) are fast moving like a wild river, and the landscape is as breathtaking as that of the deep blue sea.

I personally cannot give enough praise to the skills, imagination, diversity, passion, information and entertainment value shown and shared by just the small fraction of Africa bloggers I have followed in 2005. As I told my friend Bill Ainashe some months ago at his
blog, I am humbled by these beautiful minds.

I think it may have been said best by The Zimbabwean Pundit in the August 15, 2005 post “
The State of the African Blogosphere”. Here is an excerpt from that great post from the very fine African blogger The Zimbabwean Pundit:

“The African blogosphere is a heterogeneous amalgam of blogs not only by Africans and people on the continent as much as it is comprised of blogs that write about the continent. There are many people around the world that write about Africa. This miracle of cyberspace—that it allows for cheap communication unfettered by geopolitical boundaries—has made it possible for the African odyssey to share center stage alongside the big issues in the west, thanks in part to Africa’s bloggers. The latest news from Africa is available to anyone in the world with access to the internet.

Like the continent itself, content from Africa’s bloggers is vast and varied; from personal to politics, sports to short stories, and poverty to development economics. This wealth of information in the African blogosphere is categorized in many different ways. Most blogs are grouped according to their country of concentration. Many times this is the blogger’s country of origin or residence, other times the writers are expatriates.

The hallmark of African bloggers is authenticity. African bloggers are retelling the African story from their authentic perspective with an avid passion for their countries and continent to boot. It is impossible to read the posts on any of the blogs in the African blogosphere and come away without a sense of the writer’s deep connection to the country and continent. “

Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online recently addressed misconceptions about Africa held by some journalists and other media professionals in his postings “And now, a rant from our listeners” and “Chris Tenove responds!”.

Therefore I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to not only the thousands of readers who have visited
Jewels in the Jungle this year, but I would also like to say a special Thank You to the hundreds and hundreds of excellent citizen journalists who write about Africa in the Blogosphere. You are the real Heroes of Africa 2005 in my mind. I have learned so much about the people, places, and natural wonders of Africa from your work online this year.

I have been especially entertained and informed by the work of some very special people listed below who write regularly about Africa and African affairs. Like Andrew Heaven’s article, my list just skims the surface of a vast ocean of interesting blog authors who have emerged to write about Africa today.

Congo Crew & Co. (Democratic Republic of Congo)
007 in Africa by J. Bond (Canada, D.R.C.)
Breaking Hearts in the Heart of Darkness by Sahara Sarah (U.S.A., D.R.C.)
Tangawazi and Mundele by Lulu on the Bridge (Argentina, D.R.C.)
The Salon of News and Thought by The Malau (D.R.C., U.S.A.)
Exiled Soul by Carine (D.R.C., U.K.) (new blog, original blog is offline)
Telegraphe Congolais by Louis Ableman (U.S.A.)

Ethiopundit by ethiopundit (Ethiopia, U.S.A.)
Meskel Square by Andrew Heavens (U.K., Ethiopia)

Kenyan Pundit by Ory Okolloh (Kenya, U.S.A.)
Mshairi (The Poet) by Mshairi (Kenya, U.K.)
Kenya Unlimited (Kenyan blog community)
African Bullets & Honey by MMK and Akinyi Arunga (Kenya, U.K.)

Chippla’s Weblog by Chippla Vandu (Nigeria, The Netherlands)
Grandiose Parlor by Imnakoya (Nigeria, U.S.A.)
Black Looks by Sokari Ekine (Nigeria, Spain)
Timbuktu Chronicles, Africa Unchained by Emeka Okafor (Nigeria, U.S.A.)

On Safari with El Jorgito by George Conrad (U.S.A., Rwanda, Uganda)

Somalia and Somaliland
Inside Somaliland by Yvette Lopez (Phillipines, Somaliland) by Bill Ainashe (Somalia, U.S.A.)

Sudan Watch by Ingrid Jones (England)

…My Hearts in Accra by Ethan Zuckerman (U.S.A.)
Black Star Journal by Brian (U.S.A.)
The Head Heeb by Jonathan Edelstein (U.S.A.)
Booker Rising by Shay (U.S.A.)

*An aside:
Owukori, my blogger buddy over at Black Looks, likes to tease Americans about how much we like to “EAT-EAT-EAT” during our traditional holiday festivities Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Well honey, let me tell you. My European friends here in Germany are no better. I made the mistake of roasting a fresh Tom Turkey with a side of candied sweet potatoes for a dinner party we threw for friends this past November and you should of seen ‘em. Not only did our guests rave about the turkey with stuffing and the baked candied sweet potatoes (recipes from my dear grandmothers and Mom), some guests attacked me afterwards as I was trying to discard the turkey carcass to the trash bin, snatching the poor bird out of my hands so that they could pick at the little bits of meat that was left hanging on the bones. Heathens. Worst than any behavior I’ve ever seen at a feast or banquet back home. Right out of the
Middle Ages these people. Professionals too, managers and lawyers!

Wishing a
Very Happy Holidays 2005 to all of my readers and friends. Worldwide.



Imnakoya said...

Hello BRE:

I agree with you, there is a sea and ocean of African blogs and bloggers on there, and it just gladdens with heart that the hitherto tiny Nigerian corner of the blogosphere has really burgeoned and growing exponentially since I ventured into the rarefied space of the blogosphere about 6 months ago.

Yours was among the very first comments on Grandiose Parlor then, your words of encouragement, the ideas you have shared, and your frankness and open-heartedness have really helped and are appreciated.

I have nothing but gratitude to Ethan Zukerman and his tireless crew in making Global Voices what it is today. You-guys-rocks!!!

Blogging has been a heck of challenge and fun for me, and I hope it brings more fun and fulfillment to me and other blogosheric pundits this coming year. More grease to your fingers, wrists, and elbows as you rant, rave, ramble, muse, meander and ponder on your respective issues.

Wa-paa / Be well!

sokari said...

Now how could I resist coming here and making a comment on this food thing. Yuk yuk - How wasteful is this to throw a perfectly good carcass in the bin? Dont you know you are supposed make soup with it for the next week's dinner? Honestly whatever next! :)): Maybe your German friends have been watching too much Flintstones!!

Have a happy holiday and New Year.
Yes GV is the best and lots more to come next year!

Black River Eagle said...

Thank you for your kind words and your avid committment and contributions to blogging, Imnakoya.

Nigeria is in the House! Yo! Darn, look at all dem Nigerian bloggers...

Black River Eagle said...

Thank you Owukori. Your writing and work in the Blogosphere is some of the best in the world, but I think you already know that.

You darn near single-handedly brought hundreds and hundreds of African bloggers, writers, and artists to the fore and to the world's attention via your blog, and your writing on women's issues and gender equality and sexuality are second to none.

We may not agree on many issues, but as you stand up and fight for what you believe in I'll stand up with you, you can count on that.

Happy Holidays and all the best.

007 in Africa said...

I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out how you manage to read of Gazzillion blogs, leave interesting thoughts on most of them, and write articles that have a miminum of 4 references everytime (you'll have to let me in on the secret).
Anyhow, thank you for being a tireless promoter of African blogs! In other selfish news, I love how my blog comes out first because DRC happens to come first in the alphabetical listing :) Happy Holidays and Enjoy nice warm Christmas food on my behalf.

Anonymous said...

In the Ethiopian blogosphere, there are atleast a couple of other spots worth mentioning. For incisive witt and brainiac presentation nothing comes even close to Weichegud! ET Politics. But two others including One Ethiopia and Ethiopia on My Mind are worthy timely and insightful.


One year on from the IGAD Somalia Peace Process, a State of tears and prayers


Christians Held in Eritrean Prisons, Military Confinement Camps and Shipping Containers

jamal said...

More definatly needs to be written about this great continent. Good links there too.

lulu on the bridge said...

Happy New Year, BRE! And thanks for your support and enthusiasm to African blogs/blogs from Africa. I also wonder how you find the time to read all those blogs and to make substantive comments in them, with the DRC blogger crew we have been wondering if you are actually only one person or more than one :)

ps: btw, 007 is not Canadian and I'm not Argentinian... (she's French-American and I'm Spanish)

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Lulu for stopping by and sorry that I got your nationalities mixed up. Spanish huh? Boy I could tell you some great stories about Spain and Me back in the old days (1980's). My friends over in Madrid had a special name for me because of the way I would just show up unexpectedly and then disappear like a "wind in the night". Great people and a beautiful country, excellent brandy and good beef too! My apologies to 007; I kinda knew in my heart she was one of U.S. BRE says, "Pardon moi Madamoiselles 007 and Lulu, s'il vous plait."

Actually I don't read a lot of blogs thoroughly but I do follow a number of specific news items and information flows via the Web. I can devote substantial time to it at the moment because it is part of my job to do so. We (some of the oldtimers) want to make sure you youngsters get it right before you move on to bigger and much better online communication & collaboration tools and other neat stuff in the near future.

Black River Eagle is only one person in the flesh, but my sidekick Tonto is always by my side when I need him...:-)

jobs in frica said...

I agree with you