Africa, Surprising Africa

Cross media storytelling, vibrant, social and creative development from cities across Africa

26 Sep 2008
26 Sep 2008

You think you know what's happening in Africa?
Well we had a great time yesterday sharing stories, if you missed it, check out the twitter page on this day:
and the flickr photo page:**

Find out why Google, Vodafone and Nokia are developing new businesses there, how Africans are buidling peace using mobile tools and how young artists are investigating their changing cultures through new media. Come and see what we can learn from Africa.

Main organising partner: SICA and Butterfly Works
Contact Jorn Konijn or Emer Beamer
Sponsors: Butterfly Works, SICA, Hivos-NCDO Cultuur fonds


Moderator - Andrew Makkinga, Uganda, Netherlands

10.00 – 10.30 / Opening Session: Surprising Africa
Key-Note - Binyavanga Wainaina, Kwani?
Influential Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize, founder Kwani?

10.30 – 11.30 / African Mobile Revolution
Eric Hersman - Africa 2.0 trend watcher, blogging at, USA
Younghee Jung - Nokia Senior Design Manager, Japan
Andy Chung - Mobile banking, Vodafone, Kenya

11.30 – 12.15 / Digital learning for Young Africa
Mark Kamau –, Digital design school for youth from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya
Uju Ofomata – OneWorld UK,, cross media Hiv and Aids prevention program, Nigeria

12.15– 12.30 / Book launch: Butterfly Paper No1
Gisel Hiscock receives the first copy of The Butterfly Paper No1, a case study of NairoBits; presented by Mark Kamau and Butterfly Works

12.30 – 14.00 / Lunch Break

14.00 – 14.30 / What's Google doing in Africa?
Gisel Hiscock - Director Google, New Business Development, Europe Middle East & Africa

14.30 – 15.15 / Citizen Journalism in Africa
Olivier Nyirubugara - Africa Interactive, mobile phone reporters, Rwanda, Netherlands
Ethan Zuckerman - Founder Global voices, America, Ghana

15.15 – 16.00 / New Urban African Art
Nontsikelelo 'Lolo' Veleko - Photographer, street fashion, South Africa
Lamis Saidi - WebPoet, Arabic literature, Algeria
Francis Kwere - Architect - Burkina Faso

16.00 – 16.30 / Film: This is my Africa
Zina Saro-Wiwa - guerilla filmmaker shows preview and tells about her film 'This is my Africa', Nigeria, London

16.30 – 17.00 / Close your eyes and think of Africa
Close your eyes and think of Africa. What do you see? Why is a Japanese manager designing phones in Ghana and why the heart of a geeky, activist, blogger from America lies in Accra. All speakers of the day tell about their Africa and how they see the future.


Binyavanga Wainaina - Kwani? - Kenya
Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize. He is the founding editor of Kwani?, to offer a counter image of Africa in the media. Kwani? is also an exponent of the lively, critical online culture in Nairobi.

Eric Hersman - White African - Sudan, America
Raised in Sudan and Kenya, Erik brings unique energy and insight to the world of technology – bridging the gap between Africa and Silicon Valley. On his weblog
he writes about technology and how it is impacting, and can change, Africa. He is also one of the founders of

Gisel Hiscock - Google - East Africa
Gisel Hiscock is Director, New Business Development - Europe Middle East & Africa at Google. Previously she has worked as Finance Director, Global Compliance at Google Inc and in companies such as Sony and

Younghee Jung - Nokia - Japan
Senior Design Manager, The leader of a multidisciplinary research team. A product and interaction designer by education, exploratory design researcher by practice. Nokia Open Studio, a community design competition was hosted in Ghana where a series of home interviews were done on mobile phone usage.

Andy Chung - Vodafone - London / Kenya
Andy Chung, Senior Manager Mobile Payment Solutions at Vodafone, Andy Chung heads up the international mobile payments business unit at Vodafone Group, a new team created to build on the success of M-PESA – Kenya’s first mobile payment system that has seen significant customer uptake in its first commercial year of operation (+1.5m subscribers). Andy Chung will give a presentation on mobile banking services in emerging markets and specifically on the launch in Kenya.

Ethan Zuckerman - Global Voices Online - USA / Ghana
Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Founder of Global Voices (, a group of bloggers from around the
world who are bridging cultural and linguistic differences through their weblogs. Also founder of Geekcorps (]), an international non-profit organization that transfers tech skills from geeks in developed nations to geeks in emerging nations, especially entrepreneurial geeks who are building small businesses. Ethan Zuckerman gives a presentation about the surprising role of citizen media during the Kenyan election. It shows how a new generation of globally focused digital empowered Africans are fighting old political structures and problems.

Mark Kamau - NairoBits, Kenya, Tanzaniza
Works with, a mixed group of artists, designers, wizz kids, media workers and youth teams set up by Butterfly Works in 2000 to create a direct media channel for youth from the slums of Nairobi in Kenya. Their motto is creative thinking will solve all challenges. Mark started as design student, later became design trainer and is now the manager of Kilimanjaro Film Institute in Tanzania.

Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko – Photographer - South Africa
Born in 1977, Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko lives and works in Johannesburg. She is a highly original photographer and project manager/co-coordinator at the Market Photo Workshop, where she previously trained in the art of photography. In the last couple of years, Lolo has been gathering a great deal of attention with her striking work entitled Beauty is in the eyes of a beholder. Her work is currently in the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam.

Uju Ofomata – Learning about Living – OneWorld UK - Nigeria
The HIV/AIDS pandemic calls for innovative solutions and inspired thinking. ICT-supported learning approaches can have an impact as will be shown by Uju Ofomata (Nigeria). She is the OneWorld UK project manager for, a cartoon based electronic and mobile-learning program, designed by Butterfly Works and One World. Learning about Living is made compatible for OLPC and the Intel's Classmate PC project.

Olivier Nyirubugara – Africa Interactive - Rwanda
Olivier Nyirubugara (Rwanda) was working as a journalist in different African countries. Now he is working with Africa Interactive and is coordinating the mobile reporting project, Voices Of Africa. Reporters in Africa use mobile phones to produce video footage, written reports and photographs. The footage is raw, fast and real. The mobile reports are published on the websites Voices of Africa and AfricaNews. With this innovative project, African citizens – from the sprawling metropolises to the most isolated villages – can let their voices be heard across the continent and around the world.

Lamis Saidi - Online Poet - Algeria
The Internet has brought a revolution to Arabic literature.
For many young Arabic writers, the Internet is a major medium that allows their voices to be heard. Algerian poet Lamis Saidi regularly publishes in on-line Arabic forums. "The best part is that readers can directly comment on my poems," she enthusiastically explains. "There are few literary magazines in the Arabic world and many talented writers have difficulty getting their work published. As poets, we can reach a much broader audience."

Zina Saro-Wiwa - This is My Africa - UK / Nigeria
Close your eyes and think of Africa. What do you see? This is the request British-Nigerian director Zina Saro-Wiwa made to 20 different London-based Africans and Africaphiles. She remixed their answers and reflections and the result is a "50-minute crash course in African culture called This Is My Africa" according to the documentary-maker. A film about the Africa that exists in the hearts and minds of 20 individuals that are from Africa or have lived, travelled or worked there, This Is My Africa paints a very different picture from the one we see in the Western media. Zina Saro-Wiwa is a film-maker, broadcaster and founder of AfricaLab, an organisation dedicated to changing the way the world sees Africa.