I dag kommer min første engelskspråklige bloggpost, og det takket være Théophile Kouamouo. Han stiller seg spørsmålet «hvorfor blogge om Afrika», et spørsmål som også passer inn i en norsk sammenheng. So, here we go!
In a blogpost dated November 21, Teophile poses the quesiton Pourquoi bloguer sur l’Afrique?
His question was quickly picked up by other francophone African bloggers, whose posts were translated, condensed and presented in English through the brilliant blog portal Global Voices Online. This again was picked up by the anglophone African blogmog, with bloggers like Mootbox, Afromusings and others.
I won’t get into a depiction of these bloggers’ reasons for writing about Africa. You can read yourself what they and Global Voices have to say. But why do Norwegian bloggers write about Africa? Or do Norwegians with different cultural backgrounds blog about Africa at all?
Well, a quick google of Norsk afrika blogg puts this blog on the top of the list of Norwegian blogs where Africa is mentioned as a subject. Searching my own blog using the word «Afrika» shows that I have written about Afrika in one way or another excactly 61 times, including this post. So I wonder if this puts me on the top of the heap when it comes to Norwegian Africa-blogging. This is something I have to excamine a litte further, so I go to the different Norwegian blog portals using the same term in their search boxes. A search at Ratix.no gives me one hit on Africa for the last month. Bloggurat, though hard to search, doesn’t give one tag for Africa on their page today. Maybe the largest portal of them all, VG Blog gives a better impression with 2922 posts on 842 blogs. The ten first hits write about safari, relief work and soccer. Blogg.no have 685 posts in all their blogs since it was established.
Not a very scientific research, but people write about Africa in Norwegian blogs but I can’t say from this quick search what they write about, since searching for the term «Afrika» doesn’t in any way say whether a blog has an African focus or not. And come to think of it. this present blog has would make up 10% of all blogposts about Africa if it was hosted on a site like blogg.no or vgb.no.
So I really am left with two questions:
1. What do Norwegian bloggers write about Africa?
2. Why do they write about Africa?
And the answers? Well, that would be something for the bloggers to answer for themselves. And maybe I should limit myself to looking at my own blog and my own reasons for blogging about Africa.
Of course, Africa is a prime subject in these pages. But do I write about Africa? What is really Africa? I have a limited experience. It stems from living in Kenya as a teenager in the middle Seventies. And inspiration comes from visits to 9 countries for longer or shorter periods through twenty years. My experience is limited to Southern and Eastern Africa plus a short visit to Nigeria and thrice to Egypt. So how can I say if I write about Africa or not? I write about the places I have been, people I have met and issues that concern me. But they are all limited to fragmented experiences.
How representative is my writing? I’ve studied Africa, read books and enjoyed writers from the continent. I’m a white guy living in a dark and cold place as far from the warm temperatures and sunny weather of the East African savannas. I have barely four years of real life experience, and It’s a long time since I lived somewhere relatively close to the daily life of any African anywhere.
So how interesting is the question really? Why do i blog about Africa? Well, someone told me once that with your first encounter with this continent you’re either drawn towards it and it grips you for life, or you never want to come back. I’m in the first category, and I don’t know if I can explain why. I’m caught by the bug, I believe there is something that is essentially African in spite of the mosaic that somehow by accident has been given that name.
But the real question I’m left with is not what relationship blog has to African questions, or whether a white guy in Norway has the right at all to embark in this question. What I ask myself, is the question I ask Norwegian bloggers out there. What place does Africa have in your blogland? And what image of Africa do Norwegian blogs give of this continent that is so many cultures and so many regions that to speak of it as one seems devaluate it’s immence value to humanity.
Jeg tror ikke det er så mange som blogger om Afrika. Jeg har funnet veldig få. Men det er noen der ute. Norske misjonærer som bruker bloggen sin til å fortelle hjem. Folk med erfaring fra Afrika som i enkelte drypp trekker fram ting fra opphold i et afrikansk land,. De som av en eller annen grunn som de (foreløpig) ikke forteller meg har et kjærlighetsforhold til et land, et område, et tema osv. som de bare må fortelle om. Studenter som forteller hjem fra studieopplevelser. Men jeg har enda ikke funnet noen som har sine røtter i Afrika og som bruker bloggosfæren til å fortelle om «sitt Afrika».
Uansett, jeg vil gjerne høre fra dere hvorfor dere blogger om Afrika, og jeg håper at dette kan bli et stort tema i norske blogger framover.