Saturday, September 27, 2008

So many links to African literature

Back in class and reflecting on the past sessions. Sorry there was no time for postings yesterday as we were over-speeding through the PowerPoint material meant for three full days in just a few hours.

Here’s some notes. You might read more from the participants’ blogs. Links on the right.

We edited a bit the Wikipedia page on Iringa and visited a number of other websites from eBay to the Drudge Report. The idea was to show sites that have changed the ways how people live their lives, how they communicate or how they relate to the media. The Drudge Report is a website by one young American guy in Los Angeles who was the first one to come out with the story on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

I showed some statistics and graphics on the numbers of internet users in different world regions and African countries in particular. Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria are growing very fast, doubling or tripling the number of users in just one year. There was a good discussion to try to explain why internet usage in Tanzania isn’t yet growing so fast as in neighbouring Kenya. Nkirote Mwongera, who is Kenyan herself, came up with some good points. I wish she would elaborate more on that also in her blog.

Later in the day, we visited practically all Tanzanian media websites, from to weekly paper Raia Mwema. The developments have been fast. Two years ago when we started this training project here in Iringa, there were only three media companies in Tanzania which had a website, and of those only was updating its content regularly.

With the current network, there was not enough time to go deeper into good international websites and portals touching on Africa. We took a look at a website called African Elections Database with all election results from Africa since the colonial times until today. We also visited the Stanford University website on African literature and writers with hundreds of links to websites from Chinua Achebe to the Zimbabwe Book Fair.

The more deep-going issues on the changes and challenges of the media industry in the age of internet had to be left for another time.

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