I support

I’ve been meaning to designate an afroRise! Person of the Year for 2006.

I think I will dedicate to all Africans conscious of the digital divide and raising awareness about the potentially democratizing effect of the internet. So, my Persons of the Year are African Bloggers. You’re the bomb.

I realize that TIME Magazine and I are on the same page. We took the easy way out by acknowledging everybody and nobody at once. I’m just making the Time Magazine awards more particular: African netizens. Because there’s so much more for us to do!

Here’s the TIME article, which is now a month old. Here’s a snippet if you don’t want to read the whole thing:

NEW YORK (AP) – Congratulations! You are the Time magazine “Person of the Year.”

The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals – citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

“If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people,” said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time’s managing editor earlier this year. “But if you choose millions of people, you don’t have to justify it to anyone.”

Good one. At least by isolating African bloggers I’m choosing hundreds, maybe thousands. (I don’t know, is there a count?)



TEDGlobal 2007: “Africa: The Next Chapter”

On Nov. 29. 2006 TEDGlobal unveiled plans for their first TEDGlobal conference in Africa, to be held in Arusha, Tanzania from June 4 to 7, 2007. “Africa, The Next Chapter” will feature 50 extraordinary speakers (over 30 of them have been painstakingly linked here for you by yours truly) who are shaping Africa’s future though innovation and world-changing ideas.

Underlying this new initiative is our recognition that Africa is at an important tipping point. It’s problems and challenges are well known. But across the continent, tremendous change is afoot. Ingenious solutions are being applied to tackle some of the toughest health and infrastructure problems; businesses are being launched that are capable of transforming the lives of millions. A new generation of Africans is emerging who refuse to be daunted by Africa’s familiar litany of challenges, and instead believe an exciting future beckons. They include leading entrepreneurs, inventors, cultural ambassadors, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians and mavericks making real change across the continent.

Leading their efforts is TEDGlobal Program Director Emeka Okafor: entrepreneur, analyst and creator of the influential blogs Africa Unchained and Timbuktu Chronicles.

Here are the speakers – emerging African leaders, along with a few non-African counterparts:

TEDGlobal 2007 speakers include:

Binyavanga Wainaina: Award winning author of “Discovering Home” and “How To Write About Africa.”

Bola Olabisi: The inspiring founder of Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network, an organization that seeks to identify and support talented women in Africa and elsewhere.

Ken Ofori-Atta: CEO & Co-Founder of Databank, a leading stock brokerage firm in Ghana.

Simon Mwacharo: CEO of Craftskills, an innovative manufacturer of renewable modular energy systems based on solar and wind power.

Carol Pineau: Journalist and producer of the documentary “Africa Open for Business.”

Chris Abani: Award winning author of the novels “Graceland” and “Kalakuta Republic.”

Chris Johns: Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic and acclaimed photographer of “Valley of Life: Africa’s Great Rift.”

Danniel Annerose: CEO and Founder of Manobi, developer of prize-winning cell phone-based services that, for example, give farmers market intelligence and allow them to achieve better prices for their crops.

Dele Olojede: A journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on Rwanda.

Ernest Chijioke Madu: Surgeon, medical outsourcing pioneer and Founder (in the Caribbean) of the Heart Institute, a world-class cardiovascular center.

Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Economist and leading researcher on African agricultural markets.

Andrew Mwenda: Leading journalist, activist and Stanford Fellow.

George Ayittey: Economist and outspoken author of books that have helped redefine the agenda for African development, such as “Indigenous African Institutions” and “Africa Unchained.”

Noah Samara: Founder and CEO of Worldspace, leading provider of satellite radio to Africa and the Middle East.

H Chinery-Hesse: Founder and CEO of Softtribe, a developer of what has been described as ‘tropically tolerant software.’

Jacqueline Novogratz: After 20 years’ involvement in Africa, she founded the Acumen Fund, a leader of the “new philanthropy” movement which, instead of offering charity, supports entrepreneurs who are building businesses in areas such as healthcare, low-cost housing and water distribution.

James Shikwati: A Kenyan writer and commentator on public policy. He is known for promoting trade and economic freedom as a way to tackle poverty.

Seyi Oyesola: Physician and Co-Inventor of ‘Hospital in a Box’, a portable operating theatre that runs on solar power. Also an expert in medical simulator training.

Florence Seriki: Founder and CEO of Omatek Computers, who have proved it’s possible to be a successful computer manufacturer in West Africa.

Kwabena Boahen: A leading Stanford-based researcher in “neuromorphic processors” – he is creating silicon chips capable of emulating parts of the brain.

Jane Goodall: Famous for her pioneering work with chimpanzees in Tanzania, she has become a globally recognized conservationist and a United Nations “Messenger of Peace.”

Leon Kintaudi: Physician leading efforts to rebuild the rural health infrastructure in the Congo.

Ndidi Nwuneli: Founder of Leap Africa, which is committed to inspiring and equipping a new generation of African entrepreneurs.

Alieu Conteh: As CEO and Founder of Vodafone Congo, he has proved the power of cell phones in one of the toughest markets in the world.

Onesmo Ole MoiYoi: A Tanzanian molecular biologist, regarded as a leader in the global research effort to develop environmentally sound ways to combat disease in humans and animals.

Ory Okolloh: Lawyer, Activist, Blogger and Founder of “Mzalendo: Eye On Kenyan Parliament.”

Patrick Awuah: Co-Founder of Ashesi University, Ghana, a leading West African Liberal Arts College.

Russell Southwood: Founder and publisher of Balancing Act, a publication covering ICT developments on the continent.

Moses Makayoto: A globally recognized Kenyan scientist with a string of successful inventions, such as a pesticide for use in refugee camps, new technologies for processing honey and cotton, and a low-cost detergent made from local materials.

Ted Kidane: Co-Founder and COO of Feedelix, the developer of a non-Latin script for Ethiopic, Hindi and Mandarin-speaking cell phone users.

Ron Eglash: Professor and publisher of “African Fractals,” an investigative overview of fractals in African aesthetics and visual imagery.

Raoul Peck: Acclaimed filmmaker, “Lumumba”, “Sometimes in April.”

Spencer Wells: Leading geneticist and anthropologist, author of the acclaimed book “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey,” an account of how genetic data has been used to trace human migration over the past 60,000 years.

Patty Stonesifer: CEO of the Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization. The Foundation funds multiple projects in Africa with a major focus on tackling AIDS, malaria and other public health issues.

We invite all of you to look at Africa through a new lens: the Africa of progress, change and inspirational success, the Africa where powerful new ideas can change the face of the continent. More information and registration details on TED.com.

FYI & Registration: TEDGLOBAL Information.

Confession: I am tired of playing games and I am not that good at playing them.

This is my anti-game manifesto.

If you think the anti-game is also a game then you have a point. The anti-game is a game in some ways but there are no pre-determined set of rules. The only rule is to foster certain values I think are positive about people: creativity, openness, reason, communication, comaraderie, understanding, integrity, responsibility. The difference about the anti-game is that the process and the end result are one and the same thing: conviction, directness, forthrightness, transparency, legitimacy, truth, truth, truth…

Here are some general guidelines I came up with:

  • Express yourself politically. Denounce diplomacy because you are hiding behind it anyway.
  • Tell other people exactly how you feel about them. This should be done at the right time and place because you want to be sensitive to context so that you communicate as honestly as possible. If they have hurt you, tell them. If they made you feel appreciated, let them know. If you love them then don’t pretend you don’t.
  • Overturn gender roles. We all know when we’re performing femininity and masculinity. Stop playing and just do and say what you want – what you feel is natural. One way to recognize when you are playing a gender role is if you do a cost/benefit analysis. I.e. If I act this way I will elicit this response. If you just stop acting entirely I think you will see the most significant parts of us are not gendered.
  • Think. It’s the supreme anti-strategy. In cases of extreme pressure at work, school, family, etc. do not give out the response that’s expected of you just because it’s easiest. Think first. Remember that people don’t expect you to think. They expect you to react.
  • Do not spread hatred. Do not pretend that you don’t know what hatred is or that you don’t know when you are spreading it. Instead, figure out what it is that you have in common with someone you really think you hate, but, of course, …
  • …don’t try to fake similarities. Usually the similiarities between you and another person are superficial at best. They are mostly nonexistent after scratching the surface. Our differences are infinite and personal.
  • Realize your mistakes but then Do Not promise yourself that you will never repeat them. Don’t play games with yourself. Promise yourself that you will try to remember what you did last time and take that into consideration.
  • If you want to laugh or cry or do both at the same time don’t worry about what people will think. They will probably think you are human.
  • Guilt is a personal game. Be anti-guilt. You said it. You did it. So what? Focus on what you can do rather than what you have done.
  • Don’t deny what you said or did. As Thinker’s Room cleverly noted in his “Anatomy of a Kenyan MP” (June 2005):

Jack is one of the few people on this earth who can convincingly deny utterances he has made that have been captured on film. His outrage, shock and disappointment, followed by a loud and almost incoherent denial has to be seen to be believed. Video footage showing him actually say the things he is denying leave him unmoved an unimpressed. If anything the footage brings out the conspiracy theory in him.

Just don’t be Jack.

  • Be grateful for life when you can be. Don’t be unappreciative of what you have. Some people play the need more, gotta get more game. What about playing the anti-game called Enough?
  • Understand your shame. We all have some shame about something. To borrow from Frantz Fanon in Wretched of the Earth: ‘Shame is a revolutionary impulse.’ If you feel shame be at one with it. Face your feelings – you are telling yourself something.
  • You are valuable to people around you. Believe it.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all didn’t play games but anti-games? You are welcome to share some of your own anti-game manifesto ideas.