Thursday, September 25, 2008

Atrracting Women to FOSS

It's been a busy blog morning. I was sent this article entitled Ten Easy Ways to Attract Women to your Free Software Project. It explores the ways in which women are discouraged from participating and contributing more to free and open software software (FOSS) projects. It has implications and useful knowledge for projects beyond FOSS and makes for good reading.

Google's Project 10 to the 100th

Social Enterpreneurship seems to be very in right now. Google has launched Project 10 100 (pronounced "Project 10 to the 100th", aka "googol" - what should have been the company's name), which is a call for ideas to change the world, in the hope of helping as many people as possible. They are committing up to $10 million (USD) to fund 5 ideas.

This should be a big idea which a huge reach. Read more and apply.

Mothering on SATC Deconstructed

I just read an interesting analysis of Sex and the City's Miranda's journey to motherhood in S&F Online. Anyone who has watched the series will probably have been flabbergasted that it was Miranda, the most cynical of the quartet, who first became a mother as well as a caretaker for an elderly parent (her husband Steve's mother) by the end of the show. This article explains how mothering does not necessarily come easily to all women, unlike is portrayed in society and popular culture, but is often a process of learning, practice, coming to terms with how much your life will have to change and continuous renegotiating of priorities in life. Very different from the easy, carefree images of the "yummy mummy."

There are also essays on The Sopranos. I recently finished watching the whole show, from seasons 1 to 6 (it only took me about a year) and wanted to write something about it, but the ideas are just swirling in my head and it's hard to articulate what I want to say yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Thrown down memory lane after listening to the Judy Blume interview, I brought out a copy of Deenie, which I bought sometime last year in a fit of nostalgia and which I had not yet read. I took it with me to the salon today and read the whole thing. Granted, it's a very, very easy read. And although I am not dealing with many of the issues in the book (anymore or ever), I still related with some other aspects, like the family dynamics and the questions that adolescents have about life.

I remember when I read my first JB book, I wondered how she managed to capture so well what it was like to be a child. Somehow, we grow up and forget. I was still struck by that reading the book today.

Moving Back

In the last few months, I've read a number of articles on Nigeria's 'brain gain'/'reverse brain drain'/repatriation, or whatever you want to call the process of Nigerians moving back home from foreign shores. Here's another one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Love for Judy B.

Growing up, I loved reading books by Judy Blume and listening to her talk about her books brought back sweet memories of lying curled up on my bed reading the days away.

She's probably best known for Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., which I still remember for Margaret and her friend's chest-increasing exercises and the chant that went along with it; "I must, I must, I must increase my bust." ROFL!

However, my favourite book of her's, by far and away, was Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. I loved Sally's vivid imagination, which saw her making-up stories about the people around her; imagining their lives to be something very different from what it was. That's something I did too, so I really identified with her. It's a really long time since I read the book and I've long lost my copy of it, so I'm fuzzy on much of the story now.

As an aside, I've found that sometimes when I'm not reading as much as I would like, listening to interviews of the authors can leave me feeling almost as satisfied as if I had just read their books. Almost, kind of, though not quite. Especially when you come across nuggets of wisdom from the author that so powerfully speaks to something in your life (this could be writing related or not).

Judy Blume mentioned that "Sometimes, the more you know, the more you feel the critic on your shoulder, or the censor on your shoulder, the less well you are going to be able to get inside and write what matters...... It's better when you don't know anything. It's better when you are fresh and spontaneous and don't know ..."

I think how true this is in so many situations in life. Preparedness is key, but frequently when we know so much about a project we're planning on embarking upon - especially about the challenges involved - we tend to limit our belief in what we can do and chastise ourselves to "be realistic." And when you really think about it, many of the exciting and innovative things in this world have come out of minds that were being totally 'unrealistic' and perhaps 'naive' according to the standards and expectations of the world.

Dance Drama: Crown Troupe of Africa

Crown Troupe of Africa poster

Crown Troupe will be performing Exodus and Monkey Post, a dance-drama this Sunday (September 28) at Studio 868 (Plot 868, Bishop Aboyade Cole, VI) with 2 showings at 3pm and 5pm - prompt! (according to the poster).

Crown Troupe used to perform every 3rd Sunday at Terrakulture, but I haven't seen them there in a long while so it was nice to hear that they are still very much performing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Keeping at It

It's somewhat comforting to see that other bloggers neglect their blogs from time to time, but are inspired to continue by reading or hearing about other blogs.

Read notes from the Nigerian Bloggers Conference on Gbenga's blog.

Thanks, ST for awarding me a Certified Honest Blogger award. I'll do my bit to pass it on.

2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition

Some of you might be interested:


The second HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition is now open!

Awards will be made in two categories:

1. Innovation in Participatory Learning Awards support large-scale digital learning projects. Awards will range from $30,000-$250,000.

This year we are piloting international eligibility for our Innovation Award and will be accepting submissions from primary applicants in Canada, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands,Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States; collaborators can befrom anywhere in the world.

2. Young Innovator Awards are targeted at U.S. applicants aged 18-25 year olds and awards range between $5,000-$30,000.

(You can find out about last year's winners at

Full information at:

Participatory learning is defined broadly: using new digital media for sharing ideas or planning, designing, implementing, or just discussing ideas and goals together.

Application Deadline: October 15, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Call for Abstracts - Agenda Journal

Call for abstracts below:


Agenda has been at the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for 20 years. The journal raises debate around women’s rights and gender issues. The journal encourages critical thinking, debate and social activism and strengthens the capacity of women and men to challenge gender discrimination and injustices.

January 2009's issue will focus on Community Media.

This journal issue aims to put a spotlight on gender issues within all forms of community media – print, radio, TV and internet as well as citizen journalism and blogging. We want to investigate if community media face similar gender issues to commercial, government and mainstream media, e.g. with regard to gender stereotyping, women’s under-representation in decision-making positions and women’s voices in the news.

Articles should debate social, economic or legal pressures of women working in community media as well as legal provisions that protect against gender discrimination in community media. We also welcome case studies and best practice examples.

Contributions may also discuss one or more of the following questions:
- What are women’s potential and challenges in community media?
- What is the importance of gender equality, awareness and sensitivity for balanced and democratic community media?
- How do community media address gender issues differently from mainstream media?
- Community radio – a women’s medium?
- How to effectively use community media as a tool to promote women’s decision-making roles and political participation?

We invite contributors from all over the African continent and other developing countries to write on the above-mentioned topics from either a research or an activism perspective.

Abstracts and contributions must be written in English language and a style accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to guest editor Kristin Palitza,

All abstract submissions must:
* Specify the specific key area you would like to write on;
* Count 200-300 words;
* Include contact details: your name, institution/organisation, telephone, email and the country in which you reside/country of origin.

Deadline: 1 October 2008.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Useful Blogging Tools

For the longest time, I've been meaning to add a link to my blog to allow people subscribe to it. While I'm sure many people use blog aggregators and readers to keep up with new posts, it's always nice if the blog owners make it that much easier for their readers.

Well, Hash of White African has posted on useful tools to incorporate to your blog. That gave me the incentive to finally add those links. If you're using the newer layouts and templates on Blogger, adding these options is very easy; however if you're using one of the older templates, you'll have to copy and paste the code into your template. Not that difficult, but enough steps to deter the lazier among us. ;-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Exhibition at the Goethe

This morning I saw a clip about an artist who has/had an exhibition at the Goethe Institute. Her first name is Furo, but I didn't catch her last name.

The thing that captured my interest about her work was when she described her work as feminist. Her work, a mixture of paintings and installation art, depicted and raised questions about, among other things, Nigerian women's lives including patriarchy, subjugation, double standards and gender stereotypes. I was impressed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

That Feminist Label

I was reading today's papers and came across an interview in Punch with the director of Gender and Development Action (GADA), Ada Agina-Ude.

It was interesting because when asked if she's a feminist, she answered "an equivocal yes." This is very rare because even when women are passionate about women's rights, it seems that they still shy away from the title of "feminist." It's one thing not to declare yourself to be something if you really don't understand what it's all about; however it seems that all too often, women retreat behind that excuse of not wanting to be put in a box or wear a label.

Hmmm, I think - rightly or wrongly - we all tend to put ourselves and others into certain boxes. And just because you wear the label "feminist" doesn't mean that is all you are.

Ms. Agina-Ude explained that "feminism comes in different hues and colours", but that whatever strand of feminism they believed in, they shared a common goal of "improving the lives of women, having women participate fully in every aspect of life, bridging the gap in various spheres of development and empowering women."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Visafone Trial

Moved to Visafone last week, or was it the week before? It has been pretty good, I have to say. The service was supposed to be activated a few hours after paying at the Visafone shop, but that didn't happen causing me to wonder whether I had made a horrible mistake dumping my beloved Netcom.

I took my laptop back to the shop the next day and after a few calls, it was up and running. And since then, it's been really good. Much faster than the Netcom, it appears (I have the Gold account) and portable. The portability is actually the nicest thing about Visafone, as Netcom came with a bulky modem that had to be almost constantly plugged into the a socket. Although it should have been able to retain its charge for up to 3 hours, I had never found this to be the case and so was always tied to one spot.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Death of Twitter in Africa

In July, I blogged about starting to use Twitter and not really seeing the point in it. I expressed some hope that once I started twittering from my mobile phone, then the opportunities and ease for sharing and receiving updates or 'tweets' would become more obvious.

Alas, I never got around to doing that and then I just read on White African's blog (yes, the 2nd link to his blog in as many days) that Twitter has cancelled its SMS service in Africa. My first thought was that "Well, it was just another tool for me to keep on top of anyway, so no big loss there."

White African shares some of the benefits of having a "one-to-many" messaging service and links to Soyapi Mumba's blog where he shares some of the benefits to Africa. These are some good points he raises in, especially for a continent where mobile phone use is far more prevalent than internet use.

One thing I always wondered about was the cost. Was it free to tweet from your mobile phone or does the user have to pay the cost of the SMS? I am guessing that they did, in which case it would have been a deterrent for many people.