Kelele, the African Bloggers Conference, was announced today at Barcamp Africa. That event has an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm behind it, and it makes the perfect segue to the next big African community event: Kelele! This event was born out of connections made at TED Global in Tanzania last year, when 25+ bloggers from around Africa were brought face-to-face for the first time.
The specific theme of Kelele ’09 Nairobi is “Beat Your Drum” â€“ which connects the traditional African method of getting your message across vast distances â€“ the talking drums â€“ to the 21st century and the tools we use today, blogs and the Internet. We anticipate that this conference will continue to be called Kelele wherever it is held.
“Kelele is the Kiswahili word for noise. We are organising a gathering of African bloggers in the tradition of historical African societies where everyone has a voice. With too many voices marginalized, or simply ignored in Africa society today for a variety of reasons, we believe that the internet in general and grassroots media tools such as blogs in particular represent the most powerful way in which to give Africans back their voice. We are gathering to make a powerful, positive, inspirational noise that will be heard across the continent and beyond. KELELE!”
I think we’re at a place saying, if Africans want to do something, then do it. So, let’s do it! Let’s celebrate the cultures we have in Africa and let the conference be a reflection of that. Let’s make it truly African, where the people involved are coming from all 52 countries on the continent and the diaspora. Let’s seed the next generation of bloggers and advocates of open dialogue in Africa – which is why one day will be focused on having the top 100 bloggers around Africa training new bloggers in whichever host country it’s in.
This is a pivotal kind of event that I think will grow each year. The goals are big – REALLY big – and I think we’ll reach them.
Sponsorships and a big Thanks!
Sponsors – We have only begun canvassing for sponsors for Kelele this week. Already, the Berkman Institute at Harvard is on board. If you’d like to join us and be a part of making some real noise in Africa, please get in touch with Daudi, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As my friend and fellow organizer, Ndesanjo, puts it: Peace and kelele!
[follow along on Twitter @kelele]