Two weeks ago I won KLM's Club Flying Blue photo competition, where I in return had to give an interview here.
The Facebook page Jadili Africa (Discuss Africa) picked up a quote from my interview (and later invited me to become one of the administrators) of a Facebook page with over 7000 members aiming at discussing issues related to Africa. Here is how people commented:
My point is, KLM's Club Flying Blue communicates to one target group, Jadili Africa to another. Both communicate to people who relate to Africa, but in very different ways.
Obviously, it is an honour to win KLM's competition for the principle of winning and for the 5000 air miles, and to be given the change of expressing my viewpoints for a large target group. It is also encouraging when my friends voted for my photo, and click like on the article. (In fact, I've been amazed by the stable response here.)
However, that was the easy part, so to speak.
The interesting part, and the real challenge to me, the mzungu, is to be invited into the forum of Jadili Africa, and to face comments which fit my own personal kali view so much better on whatever I could be up to in Africa
This is also one of the reasons why I have digged deep into the African pool of social media, because it offers me alternative views which are much more challenging than passing on a stereotype phrase targeting a European reader group where many seem to think that making change in Africa is something you just do.
You don't - and alternative views are hereby brought on.
Important, especially these days where youth in Northern Africa and in the Middle East is taking to the streets - well - basically because they've got potential which has to be used.
It is not a thing I hear very often in Denmark. That you consider your potential, and that you cannot waste opportunities not to use it.
First, we are brought up to believe that we're all equal, that we must blend in and not brag. Secondly, I feel that the Danes take too many things for granted. As if we're expecting that opportunities will always be there, and that opportunities are only there for us.
Not that we have to do something extraordinarily ourselves to reach it.
The theme of the meeting is the present situation in the Middle East and North Africa. My task is to give an insight into how East Africa is debating the issue via social media. How I am gonna do this, I still have to work out, but I think I'll open with the grafitti above from Bagamoyo.
I think it says it all. Elegantly it combines the existential dilemmas of all our lives.
Something we can all deeply relate to on various levels in life.
Something we can control, and something we cannot.
Ask yourself which one you prefer or which one you think you'd prefer to do without the most!
Ask yourself what or how much it takes before you'll stand up and fight for it!
Back to the debate in Copenhagen - the question from the people arranging the debate goes: 'What is the probability that it'll spread to Africa? 'The assumption evidently is that if it can happen in the Middle East and North Africa, why not in Sub-Saharan Africa, too?
So, I've been trawling through newspaper articles, blog posts, tweets and Facebook comments, all dealing with East Africans in East Africa and the diaspora commenting on the situation, many relating it to present - down to earth - situations in East Africa.
Like this one, which popped up in my Twitter feed while I was writing the above:
Finally, I'd like to mention Africa Unchained's blog post Africa and Revolutions, and emphasize this statement, where topics of ethnicity and tribalism are focused upon, which the Kenyan sum-up above also includes:
One thing, I know for sure, is that East Africans active on social media only represent small numbers, mix with people in the diaspora and expats residing in East Africa - and that the ones interested in Egypt and Tunesia tend to be fascinated with politics in general (and power, football, constitution, corruption, Egypt, rain..).
This photo, of Esther from Kanaani Village in Njombe in Southern Tanzania, now made it to the best 11 photos in the competition '5000 Flying Blue Miles'.
The top 11 best rated pictures are now featured on Facebook here, and I REALLY wanna win the 5000 Flying Blue Miles, so PLEASE help me, and go vote by clicking on the ‘Like’-button of my picture. Note that it only works, if you 'like' the '5000 Flying Blue Miles' first.
(KLM will be giving away an additional 5000 Flying Blue Miles amongst the likes!)