Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rural stories remain untold

By Rebecca Wanjiku

Africa’s best stories remain untold, because journalists and bloggers have concentrated in urban areas and neglected rural areas, said Tanzanian journalist Ansbert Ngurumo.

Presenting at the Digital Citizens Indaba, Ngurumo indicted journalists and bloggers for the insufficient content of African stories on the internet.

“The stories have to cover the feelings and aspirations of people. Most of the stories cultural, social and political are in the rural areas. These rural people are isolated because they have no access to the technology and if they do, they may not be able to blog or publish their stories,” Ngurumo added.

With journalists, he said they concentrate in town centres because that is where there is technology to transmit the stories meaning that most stories told are from the urban centres and occasionally from the rural areas.

In developing local content, Ngurumo argued Africans have to develop the civic will to blog more because “it does not take political will to start and maintain a blog”. Ngurumo told the Indaba that Africa has to “villagize” the internet and make sure that people in the rural areas blog, podcast and tell their stories to the world.

Speaking about lack of a critical mass of African languages on the internet, Ngurumo said he chose to blog in Swahili because that is the language he knows best and is spoken by about 100 million people in east, central and parts of southern Africa.

“Why would I want to blog in English yet 100 million Africans communicate in Swahili?” asked

Through his blog- www.ngurumo.blogspot.com , he was able to reach several people mostly from Tanzania where Swahili is the national language. The comments on the blog, he says, have been used to gauge the political and social temperatures. For instance, he said he had been forced to delete certain posts after readers complained about them.

Ends

8 comments:

Ansbert Ngurumo said...

You got it right. Keep it up.

mloyi said...

another challenge from Ngurumo? we need to take it.
Why should I blog in English while almost all my communications with neighbours are in Kiswahili? another version of the question.
We do all the time communiucate better in Kiswahili, anf few of us who use english more frequently are not appreciated by our society and there communications mostly fails.
If my blog is in english then most of my people will not be able to communicate with me, or it will be directed to few who are proud of a foreign language even though they do not understand it well. Just like jumping ouuta frying pan and jumping inna fire.
I blog in kiswahili because it is a language of our society, the main readers of my blog, and those who are touched by by blah blah. I sometimes get probles with few who do not understand Kiswahili but not to such an extent as thinking to change my language. I think as i had learned to some extent their language they should also do learn mine. Imagine my English speaking freind come to visit me. once he is lost will he be able to communicate with my people to get me?
All languages are equally important, and are needed to be developed equally unless we are interested in colonialism, colonising other languages, kicking them to extinct then our question will be relevant, with no need of asking ourselves why should we blog in Kiswahili? to be a command, do not blog in Kiswahili.

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