Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MADE : The Case Studies

ZUKA has eyes for the internet and in particular initiatives such as Women Make Movies this non profit is for all intents and purposes that is making and distributing films by women, a cooperative and its been around since the 1970s. This collective is nothing short of inspiring in the way they go about their business, how they organize themselves, individuals from diverse backgrounds and different generations.Yet they  still put out award winning films largely independently. Happy 40th bday.

African Writers Series is another initiative that is worth celebrating, going through its anthology, at of all places the public library on Buganda Rd., offered insight into this institution that brought to life so many memorable characters from all walks of African life. Its success appears to be result of drawing on the talents of a number of young writers with independence on the mind, owing perhaps to the post colonial era, from different parts of Africa brought together by a love of  the written word by a lover of the medium

 These two initiatives and another one closer to home, the Kakuto SACCO,are instructive I find. Cooperatives and Savings association are nothing new and because they champion collective action based on individual responsibility, they are a means to grass root development and hence the fuss about them.

This post is about social entrepreneurship and some successful stories worth a read.
In that vein, step forward.Shahidul Alam fed up with the portrayal of his country in the Western media, he decided to start Pathshala.

Femi Kuti wonders will we ever unite  which leads one to ask what will this look like?
The Ndere group bears the DNA of what collective purpose might look like and how it would work or perhaps  Kibera Youth Reform, doing organic farming in the slums.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Of Cause celebs, #KONY 2012 to #ZUKA and beyond

It goes without saying that I personally have been left rather bemused confused but not dumbfounded,as this post will attempt to show, at the phenom that is KONY 2012. I have been aware of Invisible Children, the charity behind this campaign to get KONY, for some time now.Mainly through endorsements by musicians, a strategy that has paid off handsomely this time round. This association with celebrity has made their cause, cool and is it happening. If anything this campaign has demonstrated the media savvy of this group but it has raised in my mind more questions than answers. For, instance why now? Students of American foreign policy are quick to point to the new found oil riches of Uganda and the scramble for these between China and the US. It is a compelling argument, given that Invisible Children are calling for US military action. These folks will do well to read up on Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands . Be that as it may, KONY must be stopped that's cool. Is it possible that so many can possibly miss the point so spectacularly?

More relevant to this blog is the relationship between traditional media, and so called new media, Web 2.0,twitter,Facebook,blogs e.t.c. If anything it will be interesting how this episode plays out. The success of KONY 2012 owes much to the failure of traditional media say, TV, radio and film to place this issue on the global agenda and keep it there. However this campaign has also relied heavily on traditional media to manipulate this agenda. You only have to look at the celebrities and opinion leaders such as P Diddy, Rihanna, George Clooney to name but a few who have used their high profile to bring this issue to every one's attention. They have tweeted the video link to their followers and have largely eschewed press conferences and live aid music concerts  the tried and true way of raising awareness about Africa favoured by celebrities. Still at the heart of this is a well made film that has captured if not hearts and minds but twitter accounts, Facebook profiles and blog posts.

It seems its too soon to call time on traditional media and if anything this episode is showing how old and new are working to frame and set the global agenda.

 PS:This brings me to #ZUKA, been tweeting for a while but this is the first hash tag I have helped create, so feel free to join the discussion, celebs invited too.

Oh! don't forget to check the video out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5pF_Jl1z2c&context=C4582f7eADvjVQa1PpcFOA8Xk893w3246Zg5FCbbBrA_hDtfMIZP0=

And this too...http://www.indiegogo.com/ZUKA-Students-Film-Festival?i=fblk.. and visit zuka.co.ug