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“Why I blog about Africa”

(See Part 2 on why anglophone bloggers blog about Africa here)

A few days ago, Théophile Kouamouo [Fr], a blogger based in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), started a meme asking bloggers to reflect on why blog about Africa:

Bloguons nous pour la diaspora et le vaste monde, coupé de nos contemporains sur le continent ? Blogue-t-on sur l'Afrique comme on blogue sur l'Europe ou l'Asie ? La blogosphère afro-orientée a-t-elle quelque chose de spécifique à offrir au concert de l'universel version 2.0 ?

Do we blog for the diaspora and for the world at large, cut off from our contemporary on the continent? Is blogging about Africa done in the same way as blogging about Europe or Asia? Does the African-oriented blogosphere have something specific to offer to the world version 2.0?

After tagging a few fellow African bloggers, Téophile offered his own answer to the question:

Je blogue sur l'Afrique avec joie parce que je crois que c'est de nos voix individuelles et mêlées que naîtra la renaissance africaine qui arrivera aussi sûrement que le rêve de Martin Luther King est devenu réalité quarante années plus tard. Je lis les blogs afro-orientés avec bonheur parce qu'ils me donnent une image moins monolithique et moins catastrophiste du continent et de ses habitants.

I blog about Africa with joy because I believe that it is from our individual and mixed voices that the African renaissance will sprout, which will come as surely as Martin Luther King's dream became a reality forty years later. I read African-oriented blogs with joy because they give me a less monolithic and less doomed image of the continent and its inhabitants.

Amongst the many Francophone bloggers that participated in the meme and gave some thinking to Téophile's question, here is a selection of their answers.

Hilaire Kouakou [Fr], also from Côte d'Ivoire:

… parce que l'Afrique ne peut se soustraire du monde. Ensuite bloguer sur l'Afrique, est la preuve que ce continent a une vie, existe, a des voies.

… because Africa cannot escape from the world. Thus blogging about Africa, it's the proof that this continent has a life, that it exists, that it has its ways.

Claudus [Fr]:

Je voudrais pour nos petites sœurs, nos petits frères et nos enfants une Afrique respectée dans le monde car devenue digne et sure d’elle.

For our little sisters, our little brothers and our children I would like an Africa respected in the world, proud and self-confident.

Ramata Sore from Burkina Faso, commenting on l'Atelier des Médias [Fr] of Radio France Internationale:

Parce que l'Afrique, fait partie du monde,
Parce que ce chaleureux Continent fait toujours l'actualite
c'est le Continent aussi dechire par le cri de ses Enfants

[...]
Parce que c'est un Continent qui existe tout simple
Et parceque c'est Nous l'Afrique.

Because Africa is part of the world,
because this warm continent is always in the news
it is also the continent torn by her children's cries 

[...]
Because it is a continent that exists, that's all
And because We are Africa

Africa 2.0 [Fr]:

* Essayer de gommer la mauvaise image qui colle à ce continent à mon niveau
* Rencontrer d’autres personnes ayant le même idéal
* Informer les autres peuples sur les réalités africaines
* Faire bouger les choses
* Participer au débat planétaire
* Faire entendre la voix de l’Afrique
* Discuter de nos problèmes et essayer d’y apporter des solutions

* Try to rub out the bad image stuck on this continent with my contribution
* Meet other people with the same ideals
* Inform other peoples of the African realities
* Shake things up
* Participate in the world debate
* Make the voice of Africa heard
* Discuss our problems and try to bring solutions to them

Maintikely [Fr] from Madagascar collects a list of common stereotypes about Africa before describing how different she can be from them:

…l'Afrique n'est pas seulement la couleur noire, elle n'est pas seulement synonyme de SIDA, ni de guerre civile à tout bout de champ. Elle n'est ni la malnutrition, ni la pauvreté ni la misère, ni la mortalité infantile. Elle n'est pas la corruption, les pirates, le braconnage, la lutte pour le pouvoir, les dettes, les safaris, les pyramides, ni les paysages exotiques, ni le Sahara, ni Mugabe et compagnie, ni les lions et les éléphants etc…

L'Afrique c'est aussi le berceau de l'humanité, le berceau de toute civilisation, le sourire de sa population, son sens de l'accueil et de l'hospitalité, l'amitié, sa population, son diaspora, l'espoir d'un jour meilleur, le soukouss, la diversité de ses habitants, la diversité du paysage, l'esprit de famille et les valeurs familiales, le maghreb, l'accent qui caractérise tant un africain mais qui vous rend nostalgique loin de votre pays, kouakou, les couleurs vives , sa culture diversifiée etc…

…Africa is not just the black colour, it's not just a synonym of AIDS, or of civil war at every turn. It is not malnutrition, or poverty, or misery, or children mortality. It is not corruption, pirates, poaching, power struggles, debts, safaris, pyramides, exotic landscapes, the Sahara, Mugabe and company, or lions and elephants, etc… 

Africa is also the cradle of humanity, the cradle of all civilisation, the smile of her population, the hospitality and welcoming sense, the friendship, its population, its diaspora, the hope for a better day, the soukous, the diversity of her inhabitants , the diversity of landscapes, the family spirit and family values, the Maghreb, the characteristic accent of an African that makes you nostalgic for your country, kouakou, bright colours, her diverse culture…

And finally she answers the question of why she blogs about Africa:

[...] parce que je suis africaine, et fière de l'être. Une africaine qui connaît mal l'Afrique mais qui l'aime et qui souhaite qu'on jette un regard nouveau sur ce continent, un regard qui transcende les clichés qui lui sont associés, un regard au delà de l'opinion touristique, et des maux de l'Afrique pour voir aussi l'autre côté de la médaille.

[...] because I'm African, and proud to be. An African woman who doesn't know Africa well but who loves her and who wishes for a new look on the continent, a look that would trascend the clichés associated with it, a look beyond touristic opinions, and beyond her troubles to see also the other side of the coin.

(Map of Africa tagged by participants of Barcamp Africa last October, from the Maneno Flickr photostream)

  • http://rakotomalala.blogspot.com/ Lova Rakotomalala

    Thanks Elia for summarizing this meme on Global Voices. I wonder what the English-speaking afrosphere thinks of the meme.

  • http://afromusing.com/blog Juliana Rotich

    Nice post Elia! This really bridges the language divide for some of use who do not speak french :-) I think its time we continued the meme on the Afrophile blogs that write in English.

  • http://wildlifedirect.org paula

    I blog and help others to blog about Africa to open the worlds eyes to the positive and negative developments affecting our natural environment, our wilderness, and our natural resources. Blogs on wildlifedirect.org give a voice to the unsung heroes of conservation who at times risk their lives every day to save wildlife in places like DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa. It’s really sad that bloggers in some countries have to hold back information for fear of being targetted (Zimbabwe).

  • Pingback: africa2point0.com - Bienvenue à Tana

  • http://www.elia.ws Elia Varela Serra

    Lova, I see that you have already answered the question as well :) I hope Juliana will spread the meme in the anglophone blogsphere too!

  • http://africanews.com Ben

    There are now about 400 individuals (anyone can join) registered on AfricaNews.com.

    Each member has their own account and publishing platform (weblog). You can see the combined contribution on the site.

    From our surveys we know most publish to the site with the interest to reach a wider audience (outside the readers of the local newspapers or media they work with).

    But maybe we should just ask them to participate directly in this survey !

  • Pingback: 27 months » Why I Blog About Africa

  • http://myafricanfather.blogspot.com/ BamendaBabe

    This is quite beautiful. All the feelings here echo the reasons why I blog. Thank you.

  • Pingback: Global Voices na srpskom » “Zašto pišem blog o Africi”

  • Pingback: El Oso » Archive » SA bloggers are thriving in cyberspace. They just aren’t nearly diverse enough.

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