International Women's Day - African Women Blogging

There are probably hundreds of blogs by African women on the continent and in the Diaspora so selecting this list was not an easy task. The ones mentioned here are because they are consistent, have been around for over a year [keeping a blog consistently is no easy task], they are exceptional in content and/or style and because they are blogs I read regularly and always enjoy.

Wordsbody a literary and arts blog by Molara Wood for those who want know what is happening in the literary and arts scene in London and Lagos.

Recently she posted an interview with Nigerian writer, Mohammed Sule who recently passed away on the 12th February – on reading in Nigeria….

“Given our reading culture in this country, where those who are creating these problems have little or no time to read, how could the writers really change the ills?
The people who are causing the ills are in the minority while those who are reading are in the majority. So if you are able to reach the majority, if you are able to reach about a million people, they may have different perspectives about the book, but your preaching will get through. And then we are moving forward. Of course, I’m also aware of the poor reaching culture. When I was inprimary school, we had a library where we could read. It was the same in secondary school. And we read a lot. But these days, even some university graduates hardly read. So it is a fundamental problem. But I don’t believe theproblem cannot be solve if all those concerned wake up to their responsibilities.”

Mshairi Kenyan blogger who writes on women’s issues, human rights as well as some of the best poetry online. Mshairi has also been involved with me in setting up the African Women’s blog. On the night of the lunar eclipse she wrote

“As night deepens, thrilled we stand in wonder
in awe, a crystalline sky a mantle of stars.
Spectacularly ascending over the surface
the moon regally glides over earth’s shade
little by little, once a crescent then engulfed
we marvel at moonlight’s luminosity loss. A
lingering darkening an effervescent cerise glow
vivid hues of gray and orange.”

Freedom for Egyptians - “Freedom and Democracy are the only guarantees for human dignity, self-respect and human rights – an important statement if you are an Egyptian – one of the few countries that has imprisoned bloggers. Her comment on the sentencing of Egyptian blogger, Abdel kareem Nabil Soliman Amer

“It is really sad! Egypt is setting a dangerous precedent for trying and sentencing internet writers and bloggers when other countries are working on raising the ceiling of freedom of expression………….And the biggest disaster is that it is not the issue to agree or disagree with Kareem Amer's blog, but the real disappointment is that many people are supporting jailing Kareem, including his family. They do not know that regardless where do they stand on politics or religion, their turn is coming......
I am not shocked but sad.”

Ore’s Notes - I was privileged to work with Ore on the BAWo project last year, supporting and encouraging young Nigerian girls in a blogging project. Without Ore’s hard and determined work the project would not have gotten off the ground. This year Ore has single headedly taken the idea further by applying and receiving funding from Hamrambee. Ore writes about life in Lagos, literature, feminism and technology. On Nigerian newspapers, not an easy decision as there are so many but she goes for…..…..

“My paper of choice then was This Day, mostly because it appeared to be so highly regarded. After trying it out for a few weeks, I realized how much I did not like that paper. So much of the news in This Day (and this is common to a lot of Nigerian newspapers) is focused almost exclusively on politics. Yes, politics affects virtually every sphere of our lives, but there is surely more to report than that. Not being very interested in politics myself, I had to admit to myself that This Day was not the paper for me. I recently tried The Guardian and while I enjoyed that, I remembered that I had read an issue of Business Day sometime last year on a flight to Abuja and actually read it cover to cover.”

Kenyan Pundit - is a Kenyan lawyer living in South Africa and a long time blogger on Kenyan, technology and whatever takes her fancy. She is also one of the founders of the Kenyan parliamentary watchdog blog Mzalendo She recently gave birth to a baby girl Gabriella

DOB 23/02/07. Mama and baby are doing very well and hope to give regular updates as soon as Telkom SA deems it appropriate to install an ADSL line at home.

Afromusing - Afromusing blogs on alternative technology especially solar power, renewable energy and technology in general as well as the occasional dip into music and film. Recently she ran a test on an I-pod solar charger….

“Ok: It works well, there are preliminary indications that it functions as designed, marketed and as expected…………I am afraid i did not realise that my schedule today did not afford me more than 2 hrs of direct sunlight, i learnt that next time i promise to test something like this…make sure i have a way of positioning said gadget in direct sunlight for the ideal amount of time to make for a true test……..If you arent stopping….I have attempted to charge it twice today. In the morning i got abt 30 minutes of direct sunlight (I got swamped and forgot to set it up earlier). I started out with a completely dead battery, when the charger was in direct sunlight after 30 seconds the ipod turned on to indicate that it is charging, needless to say, i was excited. After 30 min or so i did not have direct sunlight so it stopped charging. At this point i could turn the ipod on and even play a song, but decided not to, attempting to keep the ‘integrity’ of the experiment he he, so i turned the ipod off.”

R. E Ekosso’s Blog – Rosemary from the Cameroon and blogs from the Netherlands on race, literature, feminism and just about anything that catches her eye. Recently she wrote two posts about Chinua Achebe’s famous essay on Joseph Conrad’s “In the Heart of Darkness” ….some of her thoughts

“The white man knows all the plant species in my world, and can tell where oil will be discovered even before the organic matter has finished rotting. He has complete mastery of the extent of my resources, and can describe my diseases in great detail. If he is particularly knowledgeable, he might even be able to produce small, potted and sometimes wildly inaccurate histories of some of my people……But he does not know who I am. I do not think he wants to know, because there is no money or superiority or power in knowing me…..However, I know him better than he knows me. He studies my vital statistics, and I study his soul”

Soul Searching - one of the older blogs by African women and one of the first I read, Soul does not have an RSS feed, google ads or any other signs of publicity on her blog. She very rarely uses links but just writes and writes – poetry, stories, thoughts. Nubian has been viciously attacked time and time again by, in particular, male members of the Nigerian community of bloggers, but has never let this intimidate her or prevent her from speaking her mind. The thing I love about Soul are her postings on her everyday experiences in London – on the tube, on the street, at work, in a club. Generally I don’t read journal type blogs because to be honest I find them boring but Soul is different – she can tell a story…. Here’s a post on loss – I feel for her on this one as I am sure most of us have experienced it at some time or the other.

“It hurts cos I was gonna back the pics up that evening. (damn you.. bloody jetlag and procrastination)
All the pics I took when I was out of town - Gone
All the pics of 'I' - Gone
All pics of eating at my fav. chicken shack by 'the cage'- Gone
All artistic shots of 'the 7 tracks' - Gone
All pics of 'I and co', 'O', 'A and co', 'K and co' - Gone
All 'artistic' images in various stages of undress - Gone (lol, just kidding)
not again!....
My heart is literally breaking right now. I need a camera for work but dang, buying the same camera again...
I think I'm going to cry. again.”

My Realities Blogging from Soweto in adverse conditions, Latifah’s poems are stories about her life as a lesbian victim of hate crime and living with HIV. She now has her own computer thanks to a generous soul, so hopefully she will be able to post more frequently as she can write her pieces at home and only needs to spend a minimum of time at the internet café. But working nights 6 days a week is a hard additional struggle so anything she writes is a bonus – a brave heart…..For her mother…………………..

“Thank you for being there for me
Thank you for the best mom to me
You’ve shown me that no matter what
You’ll always be by my side
Even though what the world may think about me
You still remain there for me
You have always told me things will work out fine one day and I love you for that
I have not always seen what you meant by showing me right and wrong but now i know.
Thank you for your patience and faith in me
Thank you for not judging me when others find joy in doing so everyday
Thank you for your ongoing support and courage
Akekho ofana futhi ozofana nawe!”

Jackie Tumwine
from Uganda who is presently running an anti-tobacco / STOP SMOKING campaign and covers tobacco and smoking issues across Southern Africa -

Countries in Africa and elsewhere around the world whose tobacco control legislation needs strengthening should take a leaf from South Africa’s on going process of amending her tobacco control law. At the end of January 2007, public hearings on South Africa’s Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill were held. The Bill aims to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act, 1993 in order to close existing loopholes which had long been exploited by the tobacco industry. The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Billl also seeks to bring South Africa’s tobacco control laws in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first global public health treaty which South Africa ratified in April 2005.

Kameelah Writes - On Why I write…….

“why i write-speak//* because i am not supposed to. because prophet muhammad (pbuh) said the 'ink of a scholar is worth more than the blood of a martyr.' because cheryl wright said 'i like fighting with my words. my words whoop people's asses many a day before i have to use my fists.' and audre lorde said 'what are the words you don't yet have? what do you need to say? what are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, in silence? because me'shell ndego'ocello asked 'after a half a century of post-colonialism and swallowing the bullshit that we have been fed, the question is: how are we gonna spit it out?' because swallowing&consuming bullshit all your life is a bad for your health. because this is the real spit or swallow question. because jayne cortez asks us 'to imagine somewhere in the advance of nowhere.' because this pen is pressed for revolution.”

Dogonland - The newest blog / journal, Del Hornbuckle has finally joined the blogosphere. I remember only a year ago her saying she could not understand this thing with blogging and Wikis……. Dogonland is a serious and excellent project as you will see. Del has just returned from the Pan African film festival so she should be writing a lots about that in the next few days… meanwhile here is a tribute to Toni Morrison on her birthday…

“You've given black Americans a fictionalized reclamation of that traumatic memory..........racial history. Shifting back and forth in time has made some uncomfortable with your work because it's not an easy read but like Jorge Amado, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ben Okri, Gayle Jones, Maryse Conde, Pedro Almodovar, Ousmane Sembene, Isabel Allende, Chris Abani, James Baldwin, Zadie Smith, etc. you love "language" and bring the lives, deaths, births, smells, shifting perspectives, ancestral connection, earth/landscape to life. Your stories are sweeping, interwoven tales of how really good and how really heartbreaking life can be........”

Black Looks - Do I read my own blog? Well yes, now that I have Annie writing regularly on colonialism / neo-colonialism and literature, plus Rethabile from Sotho blog (the only man on the blog) but a beautiful one and a poet too, Kym from Askthisblackwoman and Kameelah (see above). So yes I do read my own blog.


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