http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_grandiose.gif comments on the apathy amongst Nigerian bloggers not writing on the elections and is particularly irritated by the response from bloggers and media using the phrase 'I am not surprised' in reaction to the violence and chaos. He goes on to say
'We can’t all fold our arms and watch some rogues make nonsense of these votes. Although the majority of Nigerian bloggers operate from the Diaspora, of the Nigeria-based blogs, very few has substantial posts on the elections.
If 70 year old men and women spent hours in the sun waiting to vote, if foreign observers dodged bullets and confronted teargas fumes to capture the “tone of the elections,” then Nigerian bloggers have no excuse!.....For the sake of those men and women that voted, the least Nigerian bloggers can do at this time is do a post on the elections - if you can’t write, link to another blog or a news site that has something relevant on the elections.'
It is disappointing that considering the number of Nigerian bloggers, so few have commented or reported on the elections. Any comment whether negative or positive is better than silence which in the Nigerian blogosphere has become very loud indeed.
More and more bloggers are writing about Uganda, both Ugandans and foreigners working in the country. Below are a couple of relatively new entries to the blogosphere.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_countryboy.gifCountry Boyi Boyi celebrates the election of Susan Abbo as guild president at Makerere Univeristy as she becomes the third female to hold this position and quotes her acceptance speech.
'I’ve come as the only organic students autonomy who will never give up in times of moral crisis', she said amid thunderous applause. 'I’ve come as an agent of transformation because our freedom has been bedevilled by agents of false propaganda, of inefficiency, and of slavery. Am going to use my strong will and dedication to make things happen.'
However all is not well with this post as the Boyi has a strange way of emphasising the need for the university authorities to work with Ms Abbo and the students – surely he could have come up with something less offensive and sexist than this:
'Can she woo the university authorities to come to bed with her so that the great power that the 84-old Makerere once wielded is rejuvenated?'
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_africanminute.gifIn An African Minute is a blog by an American working on post-conflict development in Uganda. In the 'Dark Side of Mobilisation' he comments on the Ugandan governments intention to 'hand over one of the nation's most prominent tropical forest to Kakira Sugar Works, a subsidiary of a huge Asian-owned conglomerate'. The response by grassroots organisation has been to start a campaign to block the move. One of the tools they are using are SMS messaging via mobile phones. Unfortantely last week the campaign turned ugly as:
'we wondered what the results of such a massive mobilization would be. Western observers may be saddened that the results may be far from positive, and even catastrophic. A peaceful protest march in Kampala gave way to anti-Asian riots which resulted in three deaths, including one Asian who was stoned to deal in the streets.'
What is interesting is the use of mobile phone technology as a tool for activism. Using SMS for campaigning, distributing information and education is becoming more and more widespread across the continent.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_ernestbazanye.gifErnest Bazanye has a different take on the riots mentioned by 'In An African Minute'
'Ugandans don’t care about the environment. Well, you might, but that that mob doesn't. If Ugandans gave a shit, why would we still have a problem with buveeras and why would people still not be using energy saving bulbs, and why would they still be doing their laundry at the lakeside, right next to the sign that asks them not to, and what about that mess called Nakivubo channel? And why are they always encroaching on wetlands? They are encroaching on forests too! And what about all the kasasiro and rubbish heaps everywhere you go? And why is it everyone’s ambition to own a gas-guzzling smoke belching 4-wheel drive?'
I think he is being somewhat harsh on the Ugandan public. If we are honest most people in the world don’t care about the environment. Ugandans are not the only people aspiring to drive around in huge guzzling 4x4s – the same can be said of Americans who use 3 and 4 litre engine vehicles not to speak of the hummer which is basically a tank for god’s sake. The same goes for plastic soda bottles, bags and so on. Partly it is lack of information but it is also a 'don’t give a damn selfish' mentality driven for one thing by capitalist imperatives to constantly produce more for less.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_oneafrican.gifOneafrikan tried to organise a Web2 conference in South Africa but unfortunately there has so far been little interest in the idea possibly because of the marketing strategy used. The conference 'Technology for Africa 07' is due to take place in May. It reminds me of the Africa Blogging Indaba that took place last year under much controversy, although this one will cover technology in general and not just blogging. It will be interesting to see, if it does happen, who attends, who the guest speakers are and the content of the discussions especially how they address access and take up of technology in South Africa.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_sociolingo.gifSociolingo I am not sure who writes this blog except that at present s/he is living in Mali and writes about a wide range of African issues including language and in this piece he posts an interview with Senegalese Deputy Minister in charge of Basic Education and National Languages of Senegal on language policy in Senegal. I chose this piece as the issue of codification, translating and teaching African indigenous languages is essential if languages are to remain alive. In Nigeria for example where there are some 250 languages, there are still many that have not been codified and because of the movement from the rural areas to cities are in danger of dying out in the next 50 years. Sociolingo also raises the point of a “common” language or linga franca in those countries where multiple languages are spoken. This has generally been the colonial language such as English, French and Portuguese. The question
'Can languages be planned? Is it desirable to intervene in the maturing process of languages?(2)……If that quotation is put back into context, it means that, where languages are concerned, there is a need for mediation that a decree cannot resolve. This problem has come up in Senegal. It has been said that In order to achieve national unity, there must be a language of unification in Senegal. But which language should we choose? Obviously, if the government decides to choose one language rather than another, that doesn’t mean that the social process taking place in the real world will obey the decree exactly as issued. Languages have their own dynamic. There are many factors involved, such as trade, migrations, historical and social factors, that cause one language to spread more than another. If a government arbitrarily decides that a particular language must be the language of national unification instead of acknowledging these ongoing processes for what they are, it’s on the wrong track.'
It will be interesting to see how Senegal deals with this issue which affects a large number of African countries with multiple languages. Languages do not exist on their own, they are an intricate part of culture, tradition and history so choosing one over another can easily become a highly continuous issue.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/300/blogs_blacklooks.gifBlack Looks comments on the Don Imus affair in which he, a US TV journalist describes a black female basketball player as 'nappy-headed ho'. Fortunately he has since been relieved of his job but the fall out from this remains in the news.
Last week hip hop commentator Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur of AllHipHop.com was calling for Hip Hop to apologise to Black women for it’s misogyny and sexism. This week an American sports commentator was openly dissing Black women 'nappy head ho' - how bad can it get? Where did this white man get to speak this language - well he got some of it from this same Black Hip Hop and street language. So before we rush and condemn the white man and hey on that side I have learned to have little expectations but lets speak the truth - and the truth is that this is Black man talk. Not just in US but also in Britain and here in Africa as local youth get off on using this same kind of misogynist language.
• Sokari Ekine is the Onlne News Editor of Pambazuka News and produces the blog Black Looks, http://www.blacklooks.org
• Please send comments to [email protected]