Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What it means to be a Kenyan Blogger

Kenyan Bloggers Day 2006 Button

June 1st is Madaraka Day in Kenya.The day commemorates when the country attained self rule.How do I relate that to being a blogger.An interesting question.Well Madaraka day heralded the beginning of a time when a national identity was established.We ceased to be a part of the East African Protectorate and became Kenyans.
I think that the elation that came with the freedom must have been a heady experience for the citizens what was going to be the Republic of Kenya.The shackles of colonialism were broken and now Kenyans were free to establish their own destiny.
How does this experience relate to my blogging?I believe that blogging in its' own way is a way of establishing one's independance and identity from the nameless masses that are in the world today.It is a well known fact that Africa is very poorly represented on the World Wide Web, I doubt that the websites created and ran by Africans comprise more then 5% of those on the Web.Ignorance about Africa abounds greatly and this ignorance is further spread online.The spread of this ignorance for me is a form of recolonisation.When Kenya was colonised, native identities were torn from the people, divisions were created, resources and heirlooms were ripped from their rightful owners.I feel that this still continues today in terms of the global economy (that is a whole book on its' own) and the potrayal of Africa on the web and other forms of media (my focus). The potrayal of Africa online has very few variations.The news sites
revel in their gory depictions of the natives constantly at war, the many humanitarian disasters that bedevil the nation, the poor governance of many African nations.The Non profit and Religous Organisation sites feed on this. They magnify it and use it to line their pockets as the implement stop gap solutions that will only last so long, after all you don't want to kill the wild African goose that lays the diamond egg.To many of the Information Superhighway, we are still the Wild Wild West.An exotic land to go to safari that is populated by exotic people who need to be civilised, introduced to the "one" living God and educated.
Not to say that all sites on the Web potray Africa like that.As a blogger I see myself as no longer a member of the Africa Online Protectorate but a citizen of the online Kenyan community.I may no longer be in Kenya but I am still a Kenyan.I am free from ignorance and I know that with each day that I blog even though I do not always blog about Kenya each key stroke is a blow against the anonymity and ignorance about Kenya.
As a Kenyan blogger I see myself as a one of many bloggers who fight off the hordes of ignorance that bedevil Kenya each day.Each post however enlightening or mundane does its' part to shine a light in a dark place.As the sunlight at dawn on June 2nd 1963 heralded a new day, each new blog by a Kenyan is a ray of light in establishing a new strong and vibrant identity for Kenya far beyond its' physical borders!


mocha! said...

Happy Madaraka Day Aco!

Have a nice one.

Girl next door said...

Very well said. Blogging is a powerful way for us to establish our identity as Kenyans and make our mark on the world. These days, everyone and everything is online. It's sad that many of our stories in the past were never told, or at times narrated by outsiders (with an obvious bias). It's definitely time for us to speak up for ourselves.

acolyte said...

@ Mocha!
Have a good Mada day too!
@ Girl Next Door
Thanks!I guess the onus is on the few of us that blog to establish a strong Kenyan identity online.

Kabinti said...

Happy Madaraka Day! Great points.

acolyte said...

@ Kabinti
You have a good one too!Thanks!

Valedon said...

Whoa...great post!

acolyte said...

@ Valedon