Stage 2
16:15 - 17:15
Boundaries and Technology - How Africa Can Overcome Linguistic Troubles from a Colonial Past

Short thesis

Even 50 or 60 years after many African countries gained their independence the colonial legacy lingers on in many spheres: media reports about political developments in London, Paris, Brussels or Lisbon far more extensively than on the events in a neighboring country. This even more so, if another colonial language is being spoken across the border. It is up to the tech-savvy generation in African countries to overcome this legacy by using modern means of communication.


KAS Media Africa through its platform tries to support the breaking-down of linguistic barriers: bloggers from anglophone and francophone Africa participate. All of them have been overseas, but the West Africans hardly know the East and vice versa, let alone an African country where another colonial language than theirs is being spoken.

Two of our outstanding bloggers illustrate this dilemma and the successes in a very strong way: Jimmy Kainja is a lecturer at the University of Malawi. He is a very active blogger who tries to reach out from his tiny and politically not-that-important country by commenting about events elsewhere on the continent. When Jimmy went onto a trip to Senegal with afrocablogging a whole new world opened up.

Ann Marie Befoune is a blogger from Cameroon who is based in Dakar. She is young, energetic and sometimes at a loss to explain the insanities of the continent: her country Cameroon is engulfed in a language conflict of sorts, Cameroonians fighting each other along the lines of colonial language boundaries - which were a result of the former colonial power Germany starting World War I and subsequently having had to "surrender" Cameroon.

Both, Jimmy and Ann Marie, will elaborate on the strange language mix-up they find themselves in and how modern means of communication are helping to overcome them. The one-hour-discussion in English will be moderated by Shoks Mzolo, Programme Manager of KAS Media Africa in Johannesburg.