Summary of a Keynote address delivered by Dibussi Tande at the Highway Africa Conference's "Digital Citizen Indaba", Rhodes University, Grahamstown, Republic of South Africa - September 5, 2009 (Orginally published on the Highway Africa Blog)
We just heard the opening keynote talk by Cameroonian blogger Dibussi Tande (he blogs at Scribbles from the den), who talked about “The state of social justice and digital media in Africa”. Below is a summary of his talk from the Digital Citizen Indaba website:
“In Africa the web is understood as not controlled by the state, it is seen as an opportunity by civil society for a digital voice and to freedom of expression”, says well-known blogger Dibussi Tande from Cameroon, who is the keynote speaker at DCI 4.0. “But now how do we use Internet under the current circumstances, where we are dealing with a largely unwired audience and with the bulk of digital activisist outside of Africa?”
Dibussi: “Civil society still needs a digital voice. They can disseminate alternative views, creating a virtual public sphere, organizing collective action for cross-border activism and online campaigns.” The digital activists’ toolkit exists of blogging tools, micro blogging, mapping, podcasting, social networking, video sharing, photo sharing, mobile activism, feeds and aggregators. But: “if you don’t know why you are using it you’re probably not going to get much out of it”, says Dibussi.
A tool is not a strategy nor a goal. “Your digital media must tell a story.” But now what happens next after the revolution has been Twittered? Dibussi argues that “it is important that civil society does not only do digital activism, they must convert it to offline collective action on the ground. Civil society organisations should go into the community with SMS forms to help people who don’t have wheels. There is a mixture between the traditional and the modern and they complement each other. In Africa both new and old will work hand in hand.”
Dibussi concludes: “Information –> Community –> Action… let’s go for the transformational!”
For more on the Highway Africa conference (the largest annual gathering of African journalists interested in the "New Media) and the Digital Citizen Indaba (a platform platform for bloggers, podcasters, vodcasters, mobile journalists, citizen reporters, new media practitioners, online industry experts and civil society representatives) check out these sites: http://www.highwayafrica.com/ and http://www.digitalcitizenindaba.com/