Kelele – the African Bloggers Conference

Kelele - the African Bloggers Conference

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” – which connects the traditional African method of getting your message across vast distances – the talking drums – 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.

Daudi Were is producing the event, along with an organizing committee of bloggers from all over Africa. This includes Ndesanjo Macha, Dave Duarte, Nii Simmonds, Mshairi, Sami Ben Gharbia, and myself.

Bloggers Representing: Nigeria, Kenya and Madagascar

Why Kelele?

From Daudi:

“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 main@kelele.org.

A very special thanks goes out to Foxinni and David Kobia for the logo and WordPress design work.

As my friend and fellow organizer, Ndesanjo, puts it: Peace and kelele!

[follow along on Twitter @kelele]

18 thoughts on “Kelele – the African Bloggers Conference

  1. Toby

    Love the concept image behind Kelele — talking drums of the 21st century. Hope you live blog and tweet the conference for those of us who can’t make it to Africa. Wishing you great success!

  2. Crystal

    Fantastic! We will be there. We are having a conference on ICT4D and Poverty Alleviation in March 2009 in Mombasa and would love to publicize your event!

  3. HASH

    @Théo – West, North, East and South Africa will all be represented. In following years, we hope to have a different host country with that country’s bloggers running the show and giving their own spice to the mix.

  4. Nairobian Perspective

    thats an event to definately look up to.The issue now is logistics and sponsorship and im certain kelele can surmount them! for now i hope there will be more local sponsorship than ever before!

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  6. Loy Okezie

    Hi Hash, This is great initiative! But, May i suggest that every host country has its own voice, thus the conference could be tagged depending on the native language of the host country?

    For instance, an african bloggers’ conference in Lagos, Nigeria couldbe tagged “ariwo”, meaning noise in yoruba.

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  9. Dieudonne e

    oh men..this is such an awesome opportunity for Africa. if we could only get the right resources in place, we could use this as a means to bring the continent closer. we claim to be African’s yet we are so apart from one another, it’s such a sad situation.

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  11. Tumika

    A very interesting initiative. However I note that Central Africa is forgotten. What chance do you give the blogger of Central Africa (french speaking)? Furthermore, I support your project. Now I would follow your project closely.

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