Siyanda Mohutsiwa: How young Africans found a voice on Twitter
Siyanda Mohutsiwa - Writer
When her hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar went viral, Botswana writer Siyanda Mohutsiwa triggered a lighthearted but electrifying discussion of some serious African issues. Full bio
your country be drinking or doing?
about South Africa,
according to the rules
for decades by apartheid,
would be drinking all kinds of alcohol
to get along in its stomach.
where I wondered if I crossed the line.
about my own country
I'm familiar with.
I had ever tweeted
all over the world.
to do many different things.
Nigeria would be outside explaining
the bouncer's account details.]
ordering bottles it can't pronounce
South Sudan would be the new guy
we don't know exist:
Lesotho would be that person
but is always in the pictures.]
that don't think that they're in Africa:
Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco
are we doing here?!!"]
that had made a big turnaround:
Rwanda would be that girl
but leaves drunk, happy and rich]
over their Africanness.
that Pan-Africanism could work,
between us, at our fingertips
from two different African countries.
called Botswana in southern Africa.
our 50th year of stable democracy.
is the Kingdom of Swaziland.
also in southern Africa.
and a royal family
seem very different.
I could see the difference.
it didn't rain quite as much in the other.
I didn't really realize
were from two different places.
to have a very peculiar effect on me.
anything that was being said to me
I was meant to move forward.
by how very non-Swazi I was becoming.
into Africa's private school system,
is to beat the Africanness out of you,
a very peculiar adolescence.
in ideas of identity was born here,
of belonging to two places at once
to either one very well
in between and around simultaneously.
of a shared African identity.
to read about politics
and what all those things mean.
about African philosophies.
of black intellectuals
and black consciousness.
that I had digested these grand ideas,
of iconic African statesmen
that I could get my hands on.
of a teenage girl
of hearing about all this random stuff.
and the whole continent,
for smartphones and Internet surfing
messages to each other on this platform
and a little bit of creativity.
should have been paying attention to,
of being young and African.
was not available to everybody.
a teenage girl in Botswana
to have fun on the Internet,
the three other people you knew online.
Zimbabweans, Ghanaians, Nigerians.
who were travelling around the continent,
under the hashtag #myafrica.
on Twitter or on Google
was just pictures of animals
in hotel resorts.
of the tourism sectors.
on the beaches of Nigeria.
in cocktail bars in Nairobi.
that I began to meet
politics, economic policy.
of something amazing,
the future of our continent in real time,
finances and watchful governments.
about other African countries
might know about Africa as a whole.
were constantly being bombarded
ruled by black people
under crushing white rule
in a black and free nation.
archaic education system,
carried over from the 1920s --
I could name all the various causes
in Europe in the past 200 years,
of my neighboring country.
are deeply intertwined.
largest refugee centers.
or Kenyan problems,
of sharing the successes?
increasing inter-African trade,
and putting pressure on leaders
they've already signed.
for Africa to share its successes
I like to call social Pan-Africanism.
totally new here.
of the political elite.
of the ordinary African.
and shaky institutions,
than a handful of leaders
of the populations has been alive,
is social Pan-Africanism.
to suffocate our innovation.
comes up with something brilliant,
this wouldn't work in my country,"
begin to realize
is our canvas, is our home.
we can begin to think collaboratively,
"If you want to go fast, you go alone,
you go together."
is how we can go far together.
has given young Africans
had to violently take: a voice.
to hear from the youth in Africa,
minister of youth --
he has for your generation
by your possibly tyrannical government,
suffer the consequences
might make someone care.
to back each other up
ridiculously high tertiary fees.
who are marching to parliament.
who are being illegally detained.
with it the most:
a social Pan-Africanist thinking
About the speaker:Siyanda Mohutsiwa - Writer
When her hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar went viral, Botswana writer Siyanda Mohutsiwa triggered a lighthearted but electrifying discussion of some serious African issues.
Why you should listen
Blogger, humorist and math student Siyanda Mohutsiwa explores African topics both weighty (reviving PanAfricanism) and witty (“5 things NOT to say when trying to seduce an Afrikaner”). Her columns for African media outlets like the Mail & Guardian, Za News, and her own website Siyanda Writes have gained a loyal following.
But when Mohutsiwa’s hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar exploded on Twitter, the viral thread (which pondered the hypothetical bar mannerisms of various African nations) became a platform for everyday Africans to unite in a playful dialogue on national differences, and helped turn Mohutsiwa into a social media star.
Siyanda Mohutsiwa | Speaker | TED.com