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Conversations and Images From Highway Africa 2014

Highway Africa 2014 took place on 7-8 September, 2014 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. The theme of the conference was Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream. Find images and conversations about the conference here.

Digital Media Guru Headlines Highway Africa 2014

Highway Africa organisers have announced that Dan Gilmor will be the keynote speaker for the 18th edition of the conference which takes place from 7-8 September, 2014 in at Rhodes University, South Africa:

The theme of the conference is Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream and Gillmor, who wrote the seminal book on citizen journalism, “We the Media” (2004), will revisit his initial optimism on the potential of the internet.

Gillmor teaches digital media literacy at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Over 400 delegates from 36 African countries are expected to attend including others from the United States of America, Bolivia, the Netherlands and Germany.

Second Biggest Arts Festival in the World Taking Place in South Africa

Live reports from the National Arts Festival taking place in Grahamstown, South Africa:

Every winter, for 11 days in early July, the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed with theatre, dance, performance art, film, comedy puppets and face paint with the sweet sounds of jazz spilling onto the streets. The National Arts Festival, that celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is the second biggest arts festivals in the world. For the last couple of years, a group of journalism students at Rhodes University cover the festival through a pop-up newsroom called CueTube, where they interview a variety of artists, choreographers and directors. Here’s some samples of the work.

Project Uses Mobile Phones to Encourage Reading

Lauri writes about a project in South Africa, FunDza Literacy Trust, that takes advantage of mobile phone technology to encourage reading among kids:

What I find lovely, though, is when Africans sort out innovative solutions to their problems. FunDza Literacy Trust is one such solution. Cellphones have taken off big in Southern Africa and FunDza has latched on to that to get kids reading. I'm proud to be writing regularly for them.

How it works is a story begins on a Friday. Each story has seven chapters and one chapter goes out on the kids’ cellphones each day. Here is my author's page with all of the stories I've written at FunDza. Click on any story and see the comments the readers leave. The kids are reading and seriously engaging with the stories! I think this is wonderful!

Mandela and Mao, Not Much in Common

Jeremiah from Jotting in the Granite Studio comments on the China's state broadcaster CCTV's attempt to draw the link between Mandela and Mao Zedong:

Mandela didn’t really have much in common with Mao. Mao was an idealist in the strictest sense of the word, a man who believed that how you did something mattered more than the results, often with disastrous consequences. During his long career, Mandela always kept his eyes on the prize. He repeatedly showed a willingness to compromise tactics to realize his dream of equality in South Africa.

An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Highway Africa 2014 Extends Deadline for Registration

The deadline for registration for the 18th annual Highway Africa Conference has been extended to Friday, 08 August 2014:

Due to the influx of interest in the 18th annual Highway Africa Conference, the deadline for registration has been extended to Friday, 08 August 2014.

The world’s largest annual gathering of African Journalists takes place at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, from 7 – 8 September 2014.

With the theme, “Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream”, the event will explore how social media have impacted on all aspects of our lives in the last ten years.

On Being Young, Black and Queer in South Africa

Leila Dee Dougan shares a music video from the latest album by the South African artist Umlilo:

Umlilo (previously profiled on Africa is a Country here) continues to push societal boundaries, crushing the norms of sexuality and gender roles with ‘Magic Man’, a track from his latest album, which will be released in July 2014. Watch the making of the music video and hear his thoughts on circus troops, being an outcast and how his music has become his freedom.

Mandela's lesson for Hong Kong

Sa Law from left21 wrote a piece on Nelson Mandela and his lesson for Hong Kong, a city where migrant workers are living in apartheid.

Due to their long working hours for six days a week, they lack the chance to socialize and mingle with the rest of Hong Kong society as others; they also generally lack ability to speak, read and write Chinese. Thus, they end up spatially and linguistically separated from the majority of Hong Kong people; and despite forming a large community of 320,000 workers, they are never considered part of the greater Hong Kong community, and their demands for equality or better rights are often greeted with deep outrage, as if they do not know their place.

On Twitter, Peruvians Remember Song Dedicated to Mandela

When South African leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison in the 90s, Spanish-Peruvian musician Miki Gonzáles [es] wrote the song “Liberaron a Mandela” [Mandela was released]. Peruvian Twitter users remembered the song when they learned about Mandela's passing:

What a hit by Miki Gonzales when Mandela was released, back in the 90s. I remembered the melody but not the lyrics.

Tribute by a Peruvian musician to a liberty icon: Miki González, “Mandela was released”

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