Event Reports

#AfricaBlogging at re:publica TEN

Study and Dialogue Program explores digital Berlin

Celebrating its tenth consecutive year, re:publica - Europe’s largest conference for bloggers and digital experts – recently welcomed more than 7 000 participants from all over the world to Berlin. A group of 15 bloggers from #AfricaBlogging, a network for political bloggers from sub-Saharan Africa were amongst them. With the support of colleagues from KAS headquarters, who took care of the on-site organization of the DKLB program, and KAS Media Africa, the participants also gained some insights into the historical and digital aspects of Berlin.

Meetings with Johnny Häusler, one of the four founders of re:publica, and Constanze Kurz, spokesperson of Chaos Computer Club, provided a platform for lively discussions about online culture and digital issues in Germany as well as in the bloggers’ home countries. But also the more “analogue” parts of the program, such as the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and the former Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen, were met with great interest by the group.

Owing to the cooperation with re:publica, the bloggers were part of more than ten panel discussions and ‘Lightning Talks’ at the conference. The wide range of topics included social media shutdowns during elections in some African countries, freedom of speech in the digital age and discussions around so-called zero-rating, whereby companies like Facebook and Wikipedia are spreading their content in developing countries. Most panels drew large audiences and sparked interesting debates with people from the audience.

Head of delegation Christian Echle and Stephanie v. Meien from KAS Media Africa were very happy with how well the program went. “We significantly contributed to an African presence at re:publica and showed that the bloggers are contributing to shaping public opinion in their countries. They enriched many of the discussions and met the other experts on a level playing field - despite the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world,” said Echle on the final day of the trip. It is hoped that the group’s participation and European exposure attracts even more readers to africablogging.org, the joint website of the blogger network.

Watch the video of our panel here.

Contact Person

Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Subsahara Africa

christoph.plate@kas.de +27 11 214 29 00 +27 11 214 2913