Cuisine, fashion, beauty, lifestyle but also business development, African bloggers tackle all areas. They are the new influencers of the continent.
Without social networks, revolutions in the Arab world would not have occurred. On this topic, Tunisia has seen its destiny changed starting with the web. And as in all popular revolutions, women are at the forefront. Among them, Lina Ben Mhenni. This Tunisian blogger participated in the jasmine revolution, testifying on her site of current events and calling her compatriots to the uprising. «Tunisian blog» is followed by Internet users from around the world. Already in 2008, under the screen name «dictatorship oblige», she called to protest against censorship. «It was the first time we managed to convince people to move from the virtual world to the real world! She wrote openly, once the dictatorship fell, in a book titled Tunisian Girl. This cyberactivist has since become the face of the Tunisian revolution.
Digital in Africa 2018
Denounce, laud, share … or just express yourself
If for Lady Ngo Mang Spess, a expert of women’s rights, «social networks are not the tool that women master best in Africa», initiatives to denounce harassment and violence against women were a little heard on the continent, it is clear that they are increasingly numerous to seize the opportunities offered by these online forums, to denounce, laud, share recipes of kitchens, news, advice to undertake or just express yourself. A trend that studies confirm. In a study conducted in 2016, Afriscope and Kanter TNS reveal that while 38% of women surveyed (17,000 women aged 15 and over, from seven African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Mali, DR Congo and Senegal) surf the web, 19% of them connect to Facebook. While the democratization of the smartphone has accelerated the use of the Internet, women are frequent consumers. Even actresses who create their own page on social networks, blogs, or even webzines.
Bloggers, new icons
Unsurprisingly, Nigerians dominate the sector. Nigeria, the most populated country on the African continent, is logically the country that has the largest number of Internet users – nearly 86 million, a penetration rate of more than 46%. Among them, Linda Ikeji. At 38, this former model became a millionaire – her fortune is estimated at $ 10 million – thanks to a blog. A student in English at the University of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, Linda Ikeji comes from a modest Catholic family. At 18, she worked as a waitress to pay for her studies. Very young, she is attracted by the world of media. «Already at 6, she was writing stories,» says one of her relatives. She also tries herself as an author but very quickly judged that the job is not profitable enough. Blessed by mother nature, she begins modeling and thus penetrates the world of Nollywood, the temple of the local film version. After graduating in 2004, she started in 2006 a blog, simply called www.lindaikejisblog.com. Initially, just for fun, she publishes posts on the news of the stars of his country, along with news and various information. In the meantime, she buys her domain name. If, at the time, the Internet did not know the growth it is boasts today, Linda writes its publications from a cybercafe and has succeeded in joining the wave of bloggers. Success has taken too long. Her blog multiplies the views to exceed 450,000 per day. A windfall for advertisment, and she is marking $ 5 million a year thanks the advertisment, she says. As a result, with a portfolio valued at $ 10 million, she now ranks among the country’s greatest fortunes, Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, and Folorunsho Alakija. «When I started, I was just blogging, » she says in a video interview, « It is the brands that came to me.» Her blog has become a profitable business today. «There are a lot of sites that compete with me but I am still the top.» With 1.6 million Twitter followers, 1.2 million on Instagram, 300 000 on Facebook, Linda Ikeji is a true icon in Nigeria and beyond: she was voted Personality of the Year by the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2016.
The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt started on the net
A new feminism 2.0
Nancie Mwai, Kenyanne, on the other hand is interested in fashion and beauty; Mandi Sarro, her compatriot, write about cooking; Estelle Gloria, Beninese, fashion; Fatou Diedhiou, natural hair; Edith Brou, Ivorian, talks about business, gender and pan-Africanism. From Dakar to Ouagadougou, via Lagos, these «digital girls” are getting numerous on the web and reinvent feminism 2.0. Taking advantage of the space of freedom offered by the web, they emancipate themselves from the shackles of tradition and influence their fellow citizens at the same time. Like the Beninese Mylène Flicka. At 20, founder of the webTV IrawoTalents.com that promotes young talents of Benin, she says: «(her) generation of women will make an oufs-revolution!» On the web of course!
Tech, a professional development factor for women in Africa