Tuesday, 15 October 2013

AFRIKA'S OWN STORY...AFRIKA AND THE INTERNET

While the use of the internet is spreading like a virus across the globe and the digital space is growing larger and larger by the day statistics released by Google a couple of years ago revealed that about 5% of information on Google is from Africa. Of the 5%, half is only from South Africa. The remaining 2.5% is dominantly from Francophone countries while the remaining 1% is shared among the rest of Africa. While, it may be 5 or so years since this was spoken, I know the situation has not changed much. There may be a lot of information on the internet about Africa, but very little of this information is from Afrika. Even the spelling of "Africa" is not "Afrikan" according to my good old Professor, Prof Mandi Rukuni. So who will tell AFRIKA'S OWN STORY?

The little amount if information about Afrika that we will find on the internet is not even in vernacular languages. If technological advancement especially through the web is a source of information; it's information for who? for what? Does the internet have a real purpose. I believe the internet is about information for the people, to help them make better decisions. Now who are the Afrikan people? The rural, the poor. No matter how much we don't like to hear this, this is true. These people are our majority and Governments of Afrika should start rethinking about celebrating technological development if they are not doing anything to ensure so that its vast majority do not remain excluded from this revolution. 

Academics, professionals, entrepreneurs, experts, the youth and all other people who do have much better access to the internet should start thinking about how we can Afrikanize the internet so that it can  change the face of the African continent. All Afrikans shouldn't be celebrating the expansion of the digital space as long as a minority of that space is occupied by Afrikans in a purely Afrikan identity. We need Afrikan scholars, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, leaders and everyone else to start telling the Afrikan story in the Afrikan language in this "internet auditorium." 

We all need to stand up, stand tall and fight for our space. The good thing is that through developments such as Web 2.0 and Social Media, the platform to be speak heard is becoming more open and less constrained. (Of course there are risks, but we also need to see the opportunities and use them). Today, there are so many platforms to raise the Afrikan voice, you don't need any long profile or swollen bio to say your mind, to write more about Afrika, to write more in the Afrikan language, to translate what has already been written, and distribute it in the digital space. 

By so doing, Afrika will gain more and more digital territory and be equally empowered and poised like any other region in the world to benefit from the technological revolution.

Colonization, could have been our "silver lining." Now we know the former colonizers' languages and cultures so well, but we have also retained our own Afrikanness. There is no greater strength than knowing both your own strengths and weaknesses and also those of your competitors; and being able to blend your capacities with those of others for much greater impact and results. On this premise there certainly can be an Afrikan century.

If you think this is a serious issue Afrika should be thinking about: what do you think would help? how can it be done???  


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