Re-blogged: Meet The TED Global 2011 Fellows Working Within Africa

Re-blogged via Timbuktu Chronicles

5 spectacular individuals with Africa related connections are part of the recently announced TED Global 2011 Fellows class. They are:

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2 Represent Ghana At Big Brother Africa Amplified

On May 1, 2011; M-net Africa; organizers of this year’s Big Brother Africa Amplified revealed the new 26 young, energetic, talented & adventurous housemates for the season 6 reality show.  Among the 26 house-mates; two Ghanaians; AlexConfidence are presenting Ghana in the competition.

Big Brother Amplified Logo

The competition running 91 days and 24/7 non-stop with a dream prize of USD200 000. The sixth season of Africa’s biggest reality show, according to organizers, will include more drama, emotions, excitement and suspense. Fourteen of the housemates are ‘somewhat’ celebrities in their countries, with careers ranging from radio and television personalities to models and actors.

In my previous post: Big Brother Africa – Season 6 Is On; I made mention how Big Brother Amplified will be showcasing Housemates from 14 countries including:

Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

There are two housemates from most countries except Angola and Mozambique, with one housemate each. In total, there are 16 female housemates and 10 male housemates.

Alex - Ghana

Alex – 31-years old Fashion Designer from Accra is pretty sure, Africa would like him whiles in the house. He’s once worked in the fashion district of New York and believes in empowerment of the individual. According to Alex; he wanted to be in Big Brother Africa because he believes he “can bring it home for Ghana”.

Confidence on the other hand is a 37 years old Night Club owner also from Accra, Ghana.  She’s also the CEO of a Multimedia company in Ghana. According to Confidence; she would love to turn out like her role model aunt who, she believes, is “sexy, strong and principled”.


The rest of the 24 house-mates are:

Ernest & Sharon O – Kampala, Uganda

Vimbai & Wendall – Harare, Zimbabwe

Millicent & Nic – Nairobi, Kenya

“Miss P” – Peo & Zeus: Gaborone, Botswana

Lotus – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Weza – Luanda, Angola

Michael – Maputo, Mozambique

Karen & Vina – Jos & Lagos, Nigeria respectively

Kim & Mumba – Livingstone & Lusaka; Zambia respectively.

Felicia & Lomwe – Lilongwe & Blantyre Malawi respectively.

Bernadina & Jossy – Keetmanshoop & Windhoek; Namibia respectively.

Luclay  & Nkuli, Cape Town & Johannesburg; South Africa respectively.

Wishing all the house-mates the very best. Meanwhile, you can catch all the action on DStv Channel 198 24/7.

You can follow the discussion on the social media platforms here; e.g. Facebook or on Twitter with the hash-tag: #BBAamplified

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Google’s Zeitgeist Announces 12 Winners For Young Minds Competition

Google's Zeitgeist Young Minds Competition

Somewhere in February, 2011; Zeitgeist & Google announced the commencement of applications for the Young Minds Video Competition 2011 via this website: which saw young people between the ages of 18 and 24; passionate about making a difference in your community apply.

Google has always championed innovation and is proud to help young people showcase their ideas and achievements. Zeitgeist Young Minds is an incredible platform for future world-changers to meet some of the most powerful and inspiring people on the planet today.” Philipp Schindler, Vice President of Northern & Central Europe, Google

The competition was to find 12 exceptional, motivated and inspiring young adults from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa; who are making a positive impact in their worlds. Those 12 individuals have been found and selected. See below for full details of the selected:

  • Orly Keit Setton – South Africa
  • Karabo Thosa – South Africa
  • Phofane Ludwick Marishane – South Africa
  • Brian Magwaro Mogaka – Kenya
  • Grace Ihejiamaizu –  Nigeria
  • Michael Mulunga – Namibia
  • Paul “slim” Banda – Zambia
  • Matheus Zancul Ortega – Haiti
  • Richard Serunjogi – United Kingdom
  • Sebastian Thiel – United Kingdom
  • Anna Debenham – United Kindom
  • Sadiq Miah – United Kingdom

Click here to read their profiles and watch the winning entries!


Zeitgeist is Google’s annual European partner forum held just outside London, currently in its 6th year, bringing together around 400 business and thought leaders from across Europe. Highlights from last year’s event can be seen at:

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Big Brother Africa – Season 6 Is On…

Big Brother Africa Season 6

The Naspers owned M-Net subscription-funded television channel in South Africa and proud organizers of the Big Brother Africa reality show are happy to announce the opening of applications for the Season 6 of the most watched reality show on the continent of Africa.

The search for new housemates from the 14 participating countries including: Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe is on.

Do you have what it takes to enter into the Big Brother Africa Season 6 competition? Do you have the game plan, skills and intellects to win the impressive US$200,000 cash prize? If you do, this is your chance…

Before you go any further please remember you have to be 21 years or older and applications closes on Feb 27, 2011.


Step 1: Download the BBA 2011 application form.
Step 2: Please read carefully the “Information for Applicants” section on the BBA 2011 Application Form.
Step 3: Please complete the application form and attach your photographs.
Step 4: Email the completed application form to or drop it off at the following Multichoice offices across Africa:
Angola-Luanda, Botswana-Gaborone, Ethiopia–Addis Ababa, Ghana-Accra, Kenya-Nairobi, Malawi-Blantyre, Mozambique-Maputo, Namibia-Windhoek, Nigeria-Lagos, South Africa-Johannesburg, Tanzania-Dar es Salaam, Uganda-Kampala, Zambia-Lusaka, Zimbabwe-Harare

M-Net has also confirmed that the new season of BIG BROTHER AFRICA 6 begins on Sunday May 1, 2011 and once more the dedicated DStv channel 198 will be providing 24/7 live coverage for the 91 day duration of the series.

In case you need more information: please contact your local Multichoice Office. Download the application form now (file size 2.9 MB)


Step 1: Click here to access the online application form
Step 2: Please read carefully the ”Information for Applicants” section on the BBA 2011 Online Application Form.
Step 3: Please complete the online application form and upload your photographs.
Step 4: Submit the form online

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A Promulgated Constitution – A New Beginning For Kenya!

A New Dawn For Kenya. Vision 2030

It was whiles in Kenya that I heard the word; “Promulgate” for the first time in my life. According to; to promulgate means – to make known by open declaration; publish; proclaim formally or put into operation (a law, decree of a court, etc.).

Kenya has done it! Yes, the constitution of Kenya got promulgated on Friday, 27th Aug, 2010. I was so glad, blessed and honored to be in Kenya when this historic event took place at the Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

Citizens of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. The new constitution heralds a new beginning for the country. It addresses political patronage, gender disparity, negative ethnicity and land grabbing; issues which have afflicted Kenya since independence.

The expanded Bill of Rights guarantees equal representation for women and increased rights holders’ participation in democratic governance. A lot of humanitarian organizations including ActionAid Kenya laud the provisions for socio- economic rights which guarantee right to health, right to clean environment, right to life and right to decent housing.

“Kenya joins a few socio- democratic states in Africa, which constitutionally bind governments to concrete actions to provide for social- economic rights.  Socio- economic rights are major tenets of human development and social justice.”

The new constitution delivers on many points that have been at the heart of pro-women movement in Kenya since 1980’s. Key among them is the provision for at least one third representation of either gender in all governance structures.

“The new constitution gives the Kenyan women new impetus to claim their position of influence with the governance structures. This is a position women have fought so hard for and must take full advantage of.

The new law also prohibits all forms of discrimination including violence against women and any customary law that perpetuates such acts. The new constitution again gives women the legitimacy to pass citizenship to their spouses or children born outside the country.

The increase in women representation both at the policy and judicial level as provided by the constitution will ensure that the gains made are followed through and fully implemented.  Among other far-reaching changes in the new constitution is land use. Land disputes have been an underlying cause of the blood-letting that followed the last General Election in Kenya.

The constitution says land in the new Kenya will be;

“held, used and managed in a manner that is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable”.

It sets out to address the disparities that have seen a few individuals own large tracts of land even in highly populous areas by requiring Parliament to “prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages in respect of private land.

Next Steps

The new constitution will come into full implementation in 2012.

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African Ingenuity at Maker Faire Africa 10

Over 500 Inventors, Makers, Designers & Artists from all over Africa especially, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa &

Cyrus Kabiru displaying his glass-less glasses at MFA10

Burundi convened at the fore-court of the University of Nairobi, Kenya for the 2-day African ingenuity event which actually showed case a cross section of latest and most creative innovations in Africa and by Africans.

MFA10 was in its 2nd year and was organized by volunteers that included Erik Hersman (AfriGadget) together with TED Africa producer Emeka Okafor, Mark Grimes from, Jennifer Wolfe, Henry Barnor of GhanaThink and social designer, Emer Beamer of Butterfly Works.

The idea behind the event is to create a platform that showcases the ingenuity in the informal sector or what is called Africa’s second economy. There’s a great phrase to describe this in Kenya where this sector is called the “jua kali”. A Swahili term for “hot sun”, this phrase refers to those people who sit in the sun on the side of the road making goods for sale.

The event, whose main sponsors included General Electric, Google, Twaweza, Mozilla, and Engineering for Change, aims to promote African ingenuity, technology & development.

According to Emeka Okafor – Event Curator at MFA10;

“We’re excited to be coming together with Kenyans to celebrate the signing of their new constitution… The fair is free and open to the public on both Friday and Saturday; 27th – 28th from 10am to 6pm and inventions will be demonstrated and put to work.”

“There is a huge need for more local manufacturing in Africa. If you take Kenya as an example, the economy is beginning to improve, and a lot of this is driven by technology and big business such mobile operators, ISPs and technology companies. But underpinning almost every single African economy is this ‘jua kali’ sector, the informal manufacturing base that makes it work. There’s definitely more need for platforms that showcase the innovation that happens in this sector,” says Erik Hersman.

There were a lot of inventions, products made from simple materials and a whole lot at the fair. Among the designers and makers that really intrigued I and other inventors at the fair were;

Robert Mburu; a physics teach living in Nairobi was the winner of GE’s Best Innovative Inventions Award at MFA10. His security system links cameras, televisions, alarm systems and mobile phones. This idea came about when his television set got stolen and he decided to use very simple tools to design a security system.

For his prize, he’s meeting General Electric’s Chief Scientist at the John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, India where he’ll get the opportunity to explore and develop on his invention. According to Deo Onyango, GE Commercial Director for East Africa;

“Mburu’s idea was a cut above the rest and also is in line with GE’s business initiative, eco-migration which promotes being environmentally considerate and producing products that are environmentally friendly without compromising the bottom line.”

Another Maker; Cyrus Kabiru, a Kenyan artist based at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi makes unique sunglasses from recycled material. Each pair of glasses is made only once; each one has its own name and story behind it, and they are each sold for a relatively inexpensive Ksh. 5000 ($60). “According to Cyrus, his work has been the glass with no “glass” made with found object is an idea he developed a couple of years ago. Also, his father never liked wearing “real glasses” therefore his desire to make something of this nature was born.”

One artisan/desinger whose work really fascinated me was Chika U. Okafor from Nigeria. He designed a prototype “Hawker Back-to-School Bag” that transforms into a foldable carrier bag to aid hawkers (street sellers). This way, they can ply their trade with ease and thus avail them the opportunity to educate themselves, train and retrain themselves to further empower themselves for present and future semi-skilled and skilled job opportunities.

Match-A-Maker; a project aimed at connecting Makers/Inventors offering solutions all over the world was made available online at the fair since it was introduced at the first MFA in Ghana last year. NairoBits and BLOC Kenya were the organization behind designing a website/blog for the makers, introducing them to social media’s positive effect on their inventions and also aiding them on whatever way they could technically.

In my opinion, this year’s event was a huge success. Congrats to the organizers for putting up such an interesting event. Hopefully, next year we shall be meeting again for Maker Faire Africa 11 somewhere in Africa.

Maker Faire Africa 2010: Nairobi, Kenya!

In two weeks time, I’ll be traveling to Nairobi, Kenya to attend Maker Faire Africa. This is an event which is bringing together inventors, ingenious craftsmen/women, artisans and innovators under one roof to showcase their latest inventions & products, dialogue between experts and non-experts and also network in promoting their works.

Maker Faire Africa is a celebration of African ingenuity, innovation and invention and will take place in from 27th – 28th, Aug 2010. Last year, I volunteered at the very first Maker Faire Africa event in Accra, Ghana.

According to one of the organizers; Erik Hersman of Ushahidi & AfriGadget;

“The aim is to identify, spur and support local innovation. At the same time, Maker Faire Africa would seek to imbue creative types in science and technology with an appreciation of fabrication and by default manufacturing. The long-term interest here is to cultivate an endogenous manufacturing base that supplies innovative products in response to market needs.”

Among the projects and workshops which will be take place during the 2-day event are:

a). Match-a-Maker: A project which link people who needs some sort of support with their projects and inventions.

b) Entrepreneur Workshops : Talks by various local and international experts on various topics on everything from manufacturing, fueling your business with social media to fostering partnership with other inventors.

I want to say a BIG Thank You to Bertelsmann Stiftung & Future Challenges for making it possible for me to attend and blog at this event by sponsoring my air-fare and lodging whiles in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information; Follow Maker Faire Africa Blog and also via Twitter: @Makerfairafrica. Photos from the event will be on their flickr page; MFA10 Flickr Page

Kukutana na wewe katika Nairobi, Kenya. [trans; Meet you in Nairobi, Kenya]

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Ushahidi & Talk Morocco Wins The BoB’s Award

Ushahidi won the Weblog of the Year award from Deutsche Welle at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. The award ceremony took place on Tuesday 22nd June, 2010 at the Planery Chamber of the World Conference Center where the Climate Change and the Media forum were on-going.

@MacJordan with Erik Hersman; @WhiteAfrican displaying Ushahidi's Award

According to award recipient – Erik Hersman;

“The Ushahidi platform is an African technology innovation that is changing a lot of things, not least of which is the way that information flows during human rights events.”

Ushahidi is a blog that collects and shows reports from users who have the Ushahidi application built into their own websites. This application makes it possible to visualize information from conflict and disaster regions on an interactive map. The application was first used in Kenya in 2008 to map out the violence and riots after the elections. Since then, users in many different countries have used Ushahidi to help save lives – like in finding the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.

“One of our goals with Ushahidi has always been to help save lives and speed recovery,” ~ Erik Hersman.

Also at the same event; Talk Morocco; a blog by Jillian C. York & Hisham Almiraat also won the 2010 Best English Weblog People’s Choice and Jury BOB awards!

Jillian C. York & Hisham Almiraat displaying their award.

According to Co-found; Jillian C. York,

“Blogging plays an important social role in Morocco, where bloggers often tackle subjects the main press cannot. Talk Morocco provides a unique a platform for established and unknown bloggers, journalists and authors, Moroccans and non-Moroccans, English speakers and non-English speakers, to comment on subjects relating to Morocco and the Moroccan diaspora.”

Congrats to Erik Hersman of Ushahidi, Jillian C. York & Hisham Almiraat of Talk Morocco for their blog awards.

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Mobile Web East Africa, Nairobi-Kenya.

MWEA10 Banner

MWEA10 Banner

Last week, I saw a couple of tweet updates from my colleague blogger; David Oluniyi Ajao about the Mobile Web East Africa Conference which took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 3rd– 4th Feb, 2010 at the Hotel Intercontinental. The hash tag for the event on twitter was #MWEA10.

The event focused on “harnessing the potential of the internet and applications on mobile devices”. Even though I couldn’t make it to the event, I followed a couple of bloggers for more updates on the proceedings from Nairobi.

Joshua Goldstein of In An African Minute wrote; the conference has several key themes. To me, the most interesting questions relate to how consumers will experience the mobile web in East Africa, and what this will mean for social and economic innovation. For example:

What handsets, standards, networks and designs will allow consumers to successfully access the content and consume it?

How will the consumer be able to discover that content – through a portal, application, browser, search engine, advert, and social network?

 Erik Hersman of White African and Ushahidi fame did a web-stream from the venue. Following Erik’s blog is just like you were at the venue. Read more here….

 Emer Beamer from Butterfly Works also spoke on Positive Chain of Events. See Emer on the podium giving a talk here: Emer Beamer @ #MWEA2010 Emer Beamer @ #MWEA10

 There were some fantastic speakers at the event, amongst them were Eric Cantor of Grameen Foundation, Vincent Maher of Vodacom South Africa, Agosto Liko of Pesapal and Jon Gosier of Appfrica Labs

 Ghana Blogging Group is working around the clock to host a Blogcamp in Ghana soon.

 Stay tuned for more….!