New Media To Rebrand Africa
Written by Michael Onsando
Above were the winning tweets of the just concluded Storymoja twitter poetry competition. The competition, that ran over 5 days between 28th September and 3rd October and had over 20,000 mentions and had 500 entries, was concluded during the Storymoja Hay Festival 2010. It has been seen as another innovative way to use the internet to reach out to all the writers and aspiring writers in Kenya. Here in the age of Blogs and Facebook notes and online writing competitions the internet is becoming more and more of a preferred media for expression of literature and the arts in general.
“The foreign media has created a picture that shows Africa as a backward land plagued with drought, disease, famine and war. The essence of this competition was hence to let the youth say what Africa is to them, after all they make up majority of Africa. For them to give their side of the story…a cosmopolitan view of what it means to be African today,” said Densu Moseti of Storymoja, who was part of the team in charge of the competition.
And really when you think about it isn’t that so true? The entrants to the competition were putting it out there to the world that Africa is not really as ‘backward’ as it appears. More and more the internet is showing the world that Africa is taking leaps and bounds in development of technology and hence this new media is really shedding more light on the ‘dark continent’.
Ryan Lewis Operations manager of 826 National USA, when asked about how internet affects the writing scene in Kenya, said that “The Internet takes away limitations and this is a good thing. However, on the flip side, the quality of writing will inevitably dip.” Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents he also went on to describe the internet scene in Kenya as pretty much what he had expected to see once he came to Kenya. He concluded by saying that there is a lot of room to grow in Kenya and “the only way you can go now is up.”
It is interesting to note that with 739 Blogs in Kenya it ranks 3rd in Africa after Nigeria’s 1,351 and South Africa’s 9,183 . And with 50 million Blogs the world over the really this new media is yet to completely rebrand Africa although it has a foot strongly set in the right position.
Muthoni Garland, a Kenyan writer and co-founder of Storymoja Africa said “Africa has shut up for far too long and we to be stirred from our slumber and shaken from our complacency. If the internet be the venue for this awakening then so be it.”