A Letter To Afro Bloggers. Day 30/30

Its finally the end of the blogging challenge! Woop! Woop!

I went through several stages.

I doubted myself. Tears were shed. I thought I couldn’t do it. I almost gave up.

Clothes were left unchanged. I wore the same shirt for a week. I only got out at night so no one noticed. But I knew.

I showed up late to the challenge. I completed it way past the 30 days, but at least am here. 15 days late, don’t judge me.

The good book clearly says, “thou shall not judge thy blogger that shows up late for the #winterABC challenge.” Let us not argue with the good book, OK.

This challenge kept me up in a good way. I got to share a part of me to my readers.

I can’t wait for the next one. Promise I’ll be early.

Addressing The African Union. Day 15/30

I first learnt about African Union in primary school. It’s a mandatory topic for every child in Kenya so, there was no way I was going to escape it. I tried to understand its purpose to Africa. So a bunch of African leaders and their delegates fly to Ethiopia to discuss about Africa. Then what?

If given the chance to address the AU I know I’ll need a few minutes.

First, when are you making Swahili your official language? Swahili is the second most widely spoken language in Africa. Arabic is first but I believe we all know why. The AU spends so much money and time on translators when they could simply learn a language.

Rwanda dropped French for Swahili. South Africa is about to start teaching Swahili in schools. Again I ask, what’s taking so long?

Kiswahili Kitukuzwe.

Source, Kiswahili Kitukuzwe

When the Chinese government gave you free computers, what did you think was going to happen? Did the people who accepted those freebies did so before or after bribery? Nothing is ever for free; the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta taught us this.

Even after the Chinese got all the information they needed from you. Did you return their gifts or are they still in the building staying pretty?

A room full of grown men and maybe two or three women, and none of you smelled a conspiracy about to happen. I’m ashamed of you.

When will you cut the umbilical cord that’s holding you to the E.U? Will you ever make decisions for Africa without consulting your former slave masters and colonizers? It baffles me that even after our forefathers fought for their independence; we’re still taking orders from them.

Source, CNN

Can we talk about the stolen loot for a minute. Countries like Ethiopia, Senegal and Egypt are trying to get their stolen art from European museums. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to speak with one voice and empty those museums of stolen African art? We can learn so much from our ancestors through their craftsmanship. But it’s almost like we have to fly to Europe to know about Africa.

Until the AU get jealous with her people and put them first. You’ll always be the organization that meets every once in a while to waste taxpayers money.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

5 Africans, Past and Present Who Inspire Me. Day 14/30

Africa is such an underrated continent when it comes to leadership. The world sees Africa as a corrupt place that can’t be saved. Truth be told, inspiring leaders do exist in Africa.

Below are five Africans who’ve inspired me in more ways than one

Esther Passaris: a leaderevolutionary

She’s a feminist, she’s a wife, she’s a mother, she’s a leader and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s confident about her sexuality. She also openly talks about sex and sexuality and has come out in support of the LGBTQ community. Esther Passaris is everything Kenyan men have tried convincing us well never become. These men still use marriage and children as weapons against young feminists. They believe the idea of a married feminist with kids doesn’t exist. Well Esther Passaris is all that plus more. Insecurity is not a good look guys.

Wangari Maathai: an activist, an environmentalist

She protected and fought for a forest from encroachment. A time when protesting was an insult to Moi’s regime. It’s not like today where anybody can get up, gather few friends and family and hit the streets to protest. Back then, few people protested against Moi and lived to tell their story. She was brave to defend that forest.

Wangari led groups of women to fight off the police and army. This attracted a lot of media attention from across the globe. The pressure was too much for the former president. He called the whole thing off. I understand he was to profit from selling the forest for hotels and apartments.

She became the first African to win a Nobel Prize. Her fearlessness saved a forest and inspired many to embrace trees.

Winnie Mandela: a revolutionary

I grew up knowing Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary man. I mean, the guy spent 27yrs in jail for his people. Had young people take arms and protest for his freedom.

As I grew older I learnt more about his life. I got to a point where I needed to know more about Winnie. What was she up to? What was it like for her for those 27 years? Well, Winnie wasn’t the kind of woman to sit down and wait for things to happen. She was out there fighting for black liberation.

Mandela divorced Winnie later after getting his freedom. Most people believe it’s because she strayed from their marriage. Truth is, they both believed in different ideologies. You see, she was more of ‘fight fire with fire’. Mandela was the opposite, more like ‘love thy neighbor.’ They were basically Killmonger and T’challa respectively.

This explains why white media never mentions Winnie. They know she was the real revolutionary.

Binyanvanga Wainaina: a writer, an activist

I never read his books until few years back when he came out of the closet. I read his story in the newspaper and how he knew he was gay at 5yrs. Can I remember what I did at 5yrs? Absolutely not! Binyavanga however, knew who he was. The world didn’t change him decades later. Sadly, he passed away at only 48 years young.

It breaks my heart that Binyavanga never fully lived his life as an openly gay person. For most of his life he was in the closet until the age of 43 when he finally came out. Being a famous African writer and founder of Kwani?, he faced a lot of backlash. That didn’t stop him from enjoying life though.

Binyavanga inspired me to live my life to the fullest, stay true to myself.

Muammar Gaddafi, believer of a United States of Africa

Depending on whom you ask Muammar Gaddafi was a force to reckon with. A leader who saw it fit for a united Africa, a self-sufficient continent with her own currency. He saw a future where Africa would no longer have to get permission from her former colonizers. Unlike the leaders before him, he had the wealth to back him up and get things done. People didn’t see or hear Muammar Gaddafi, people felt his presence. As expected, his ideology on Africa didn’t sit well with America and so they had him killed. Now look at Libya. You can’t imagine this was the same country Gaddafi built.

Am yet to understand why people fear a United Africa. What scares them about African people coming together?

What Its Really Like Blogging In Africa. 13/30

Blogging in Africa is an extreme sport. Everything about it is great until you have to explain to the government why. Why it’s an important tool for Africans to tell their stories to the world.

On day 13 of the blogging challenge, I take on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of blogging in Africa.

The Good

African bloggers own their stories. We get to tell our truth, the unbiased truth. Unlike the Western owned news outlets that want to picture a ‘dark continent.’ We get to share a side of Africa like fashion, culture, music and arts etc.

Source, Essence

Blogging has become a source of income for many. Companies that choose to use blogs to advertise have spearheaded the rise in blogs. Traditional media is slowly becoming an alternative for advertising.

I love working from home. It’s one of those little benefits of blogging. You can be your own boss without ever leaving your home. Except when you need some fresh air.

The Bad

Some Kenyan bloggers have become notorious for supporting the government. “Government Bloggers” has even become an insult to everybody else who blogs. There’s a myth that they’re paid 517sh to blog in their support. I’m not sure if that’s true but it gives a bad name to the rest of us.

Blogging in Africa is expensive. You need at least good Wi-Fi to keep your blog on track. Mobile data is especially expensive although readily available. Try watching a 1 minute video and your data runs out.

The Ugly

Source, ugtechmag.com

A government shutting down the internet during protests has become the norm. Africans can’t vent without risking arrests. This to me comes off as a way to silence people. Are we not supposed to get angry enough to get these governments removed?

How powerful is blogging in Africa? You know there’s power when governments put tax on it. Social media taxes can only be found in Africa. As if buying data wasn’t enough.

Blogging in Africa has come a long way.

The Africa They Don’t Want You To Know About. Day 12/30

Ask anyone what’s the first thing they think about when it comes to Africa. You’re sure to get answers like, Ebola, mud huts, civil wars, drought and famine just to mention a few. I get it. These are the kind of stories covered in the news. Every time Africa gets a little spotlight, people want to report on the bad things, the crazy things. The things that make white people donate all their hard earned money to. You know what I’m talking about.

Let me be the first to say, people should get out more often. Thank me later world.

Here are a few things you never read about when it comes to Africa. Ready? Let’s go!

Cities In Africa

African major cities, our capital cities, they’re growing and yes, they exist. Granted, we still have some of our people living in mud huts. This is no reason to put us in a box. Capital cities across Africa are getting innovative. Within few decades we could be on Wakanda’s level. Trust me; it’s only a matter of time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is not new to us, at least to Ghanaians and Ethiopians. You don’t read about the A.I labs in Africa because the idea that we’re smart is foreign. It scares people to know that we can code and build robots.

Traditional African Food

Traditional Biltong Stew | Source, The Spruce Makes

A group of researchers wanted to find out why Africans had low colon cancer cases. They compared us to African Americans by using our food. Results were as follows. Traditional African food is not only delicious but nutritious. Ok so maybe they didn’t conclude our food is delicious. What they concluded was, this kind of food creates an environment colon cancer can’t survive. Since then, every time I hear an African has colon cancer I have to ask. What does he eat?

Community

International news outlets love it when there’s tension In Africa, usually after an election. They just sit there and wait until something happens. What most people don’t know is we have a sense of community. You know the saying; it takes a village to raise a child. Africans are that village.

Africa’s Spiritual Beliefs

Ala (Odinani) | Source kwamezulushabazz.tumblr.com

There’s a shift in religion when it comes to Africa. When most of our parents go to church, fellow millennials are turning to spirituality, African spirituality to be precise.

I remember the first time I applied for my university application. This guy quickly goes through my papers and stops abruptly. ‘What is Odinani?’ He asks. A staring contest follows. Realising he’s not getting an answer he goes back to my papers. I left the church a long time ago; I don’t have to explain myself.

Want to know more? Visit any country in Africa. Learn to look at Africa through our African eyes.

The Internet In Africa: Affordability, Availability, And Accountability. 10/30

Africa is always a step behind when it comes to technology. Good news is, we’re slowly catching up with Ghana and Ethiopia leading the way.

The internet is one of those average developments we keep getting in Africa. Huawei, the new kid on the block, is already looking to get into 5G network. Sadly, I know countries in Africa that don’t even know what 4G network feels like. That’s Africa for you.

Is the internet affordable in Africa?
That depends on who you’re asking. I’m Kenyan and I can tell you straight of the bat, it’s slightly expensive. These Telco companies make it difficult for people like me. Online businesses are hard to run when data bundles have an expiry date. It’s pricey on a daily basis. I tried buying the monthly bundle and that only lasted about a week and a half.

Telco companies keep giving us data bundles promo every once in a while. But something tells me, we could be paying less and getting more data. These darn networks.

What could I say about the internet affordability in Africa?

It’s more of a luxury than a basic need. If you can afford it, well, cheers to you. Can I be able to access the internet in every corner of the continent? Yes and No. Africa lacks coverage in terms of making internet available to everyone. It’s highly concentrated in urban areas and lacking in rural. It may not be a major factor but I believe this contributes to rural to urban migration.

We’re in the age of information and leaving people behind just doesn’t sit well with me.

Who do we hold accountable if something were to happen to peoples online data?

Can we hold cellular networks accountable to anything? I doubt it. Juggling laws and how to properly use the internet is still up for debate.

Have you heard about Facebook’s data mining scandal? Well, let me tell you about Huduma Namba here in Kenya. It’s sponsored and run by MasterCard. Kenyans had to fill up a form detailing all their digital print. So yes, this is another data mining scandal about to happen.

I doubt if we’ll have our online information protected. Networks can practically do what they want without question.

The internet in Africa may not be seen as a priority. Given the chance, we could change peoples lives. We could change the world.

Featured image by ayaniart.blogspot.com

My Class On Blogging And The Internet For Teens. Day 9/30

Am about to address a class full of adolescents about blogging and the internet. I feel like Anerlise Keating without her signature wigs.

Welcome to blogging 101 kids.

Class is in session.

First and foremost. I know you lied about your age when you first signed up to these sites. I also know you scrolled down past the ‘terms and conditions.’ I see you. There’s no use in denying it.

Now that that’s out in the open, lets dive in shall we

1. Go through any social media site settings. Use it to your advantage.

2. When it comes to blogging don’t wait until “you’re ready.” Start. Start today. Start right now!

3. Share your work. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect.’ It’s your work and you’re proud of it, share it.

4. Not every challenge is serious. Some are fun. Some bring awareness to certain situations. While some could end up killing you. Pick your challenges wisely. It’s okay to watch on the sides.

5. The internet is a shit hole filled with crappy people. Once in a while you’ll come across them. My number one rule is, ignore them. If you can’t, block them. The block button is your best friend.

6. If at any point people start bullying you, deactivate your account. Put your phone down, take a hot shower, read a book. It’s a jungle out there.

7. Not every discussion or trending topic asks for your opinion. You could avoid a lot of arguments when you let these trending topics slide.

8. Always remember this. People will do anything for clout. I get it, you’re broke. That doesn’t mean you should send nudes and do illegal things for money.

9. Everything is Photoshop and filters these days don’t fall for it. Instagram is guilty of this. That girl with a thin waist and large hips is not real, just Photoshop.

10. Always be on the lookout for grown men and women. They’re not to be trusted. They’ll tell you they love you and want to meet you. Never give them your home address or meet up with them.

11. Be open with your parents. If you’re being stalked by anyone, or an adult is asking you for favours. Tell your parents or your guardian. They’ll know what to do.

12. Don’t take those Facebook quizzes and games. Hackers can use them to get your info and all your accounts. Stay woke.

13. People who want to hide their identity make cat fish accounts. Since you lied about your age that means, the chicken nugget asking you to meet up for free food is basically R. Kelly about to happen.

14. Log out every now and then. It’s okay to go a few days without being online. It won’t kill you. Its good for you.

15. Fake news is real. You’ll find yourself reading some unbelievable stories. Turn to the website’s about page. There, you’ll find they’ve clearly stated they’re a satirical site.

16. Be yourself, be authentic, have fun.

Class dismissed.

Wait, did I miss anything?

Technology: A Curse or A Blessing? Day 8/30

Can you read a topographical map?

Imagine this. I dropped you in the middle of nowhere. Gave you a bottle of water and a topographical map. Would you make it back home in one piece?

If you can’t read a map please tell me again how it’s such a blessing. No, Google maps don’t count. You know, tech is great, until you tell people to do random things like, I don’t know, read a map.

A Topographical Map • Source, Bear Foot Theory

That’s the beauty of tech. It’s almost like, the more advance it gets, the more stupid WE get. In other words, you can’t have the rose without the thorns.

Granted, tech has made it easier for us to do things at half the time. For example, I recently bought an electric powered brush. This brush scrubs my bathroom and kitchen tiles in less than 5 minutes. Now, if I were to do it like the way my mama taught me. I’d have to pay someone else to do it. I’m not lazy, am realistic.

I bet if our ancestors lived in this era, they too would thank tech for an easier life.

Advance in medicine is also a great tech benefit we’ve had. Am no science geek, but the things we can do to our DNA these days is truly amazing.

Something else we can thank tech for is space exploration. I understand scientists in the US are looking to occupy Mars. This would’ve made a nice Sci-Fi movie back in the 60s.

I can go on about the many benefits that came with tech. Let’s look at the sacrifices we made.

Our smartphones have become our lives. Even though it connects to people the world over, it disconnected us from the people that matter. People who are close to us; our parents, siblings and even our own children. Social media makes us compare ourselves to each other and in turn, it fueled depression.

Human beings actually made Electronic waste a thing. Ever wondered where your old and worn out gadgets go to once you throw them out. If you’re in Australia your old I-phone is rotting away in a street somewhere in Ghana. There’s a whole 2hr documentary about it.

The lives of people lost in the Congo so that big tech company could extract their minerals. The same minerals and metals use to make smartphones and gaming tech. Yes, your favourite smartphone company maybe guilty of this.

I think, no matter how you look at it, tech will always have that negative side to it. So is it a blessing or a curse is a matter of perspective.

p.s I can totally read the living life out of a map. I learnt how to read one back in High school since Geography was my favourite subject. Now drop me in the Sahara and watch me make it back to Kenya.

I’ll need more than a bottle of water. 😊

5 Apps On My Phone I Can’t Live Without Day. 7/30

What’s a blogger without apps?

A blogger without apps is like Jesus without his disciples, a tree without branches or plain white rice.

As a blogger my apps come in plenty. I have photography, social and writing apps, just to mention a few. These apps make it easier for me to connect with my followers, rant about life and keep up with the web.

So here are the 5 apps I can’t live without. Am sure you already have a couple of these on your phone too.

Honestly, It was hard deciding on the five otherwise I have a whole list

Some of my apps

WordPress

When I first started blogging, like most people, I went for blogger. It was perfect for me but as I grew, my needs grew too. WordPress became my go to app for writing down my thoughts. It’s easy to use and navigate. I highly recommend it. WordPress for life!

Canva

Want really cool pictures that pop? Canva will do that for you. This app is for people like me with zero graphic design skills. It has royalty free pictures to choose from and templates for all social media platforms. Canva is that easy-to-use design app that doesn’t require genius skills to operate.

Crowdfire

This app enables me to plan out my content. It integrates all social media platforms helping me save time. It acts as a virtual assistant. For example, it posts your content on your behalf as long as you have it on schedule. In the words of Tom Cruise, it completes me.

Anchor

This app is great for anyone looking into starting their own podcast. Even if you only want to listen to some thoughtful podcast, this is it. I don’t typically have a favourite podcast, in my case, anything goes.

Pinterest

This app isn’t only for beautiful pictures and videos. It’s an app I use for inspiration. Hundreds of thousands of bloggers pin their work every day. So, whenever I experience a writer’s block, Pinterest comes in handy. This app can also drive massive traffic to a website, try it. Be careful though, it can get pretty addictive.

Bonus:

Other apps I use on the side include Lightroom and Preview for that popping Instagram feed. Twitter for checking out the news in less than 140 characters, and Facebook for friends and family

What mobile apps rock your world?