Lessons learnt from Second Tandaa Symposium

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When come to online presence content is the King. Now there is content and there is local content. Local Web content is the textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites produced by locals to tell local story in this case i would say Africa. It may include, among other things: text, images, sounds, videos and animations. There has been a great push for people to produce local contents and nobody has done it better than ICT Board coordinated by @kaburo and @pkukubo. In March 2010, the Kenya ICT Board launched the bi-monthly Tandaa Symposium on Local Digital Content. Sponsored by Google, the events explore everything from how to have a compelling presence on online social media networks to opportunities the internet brings to most industries in Kenya.

I had the chance to attend the second? symposium which was designed to explore the opportunities the internet and new technology offer the film and animation industry. And there were a lot in the offing , and in that i would highlight some of the lessons learned

  • Kenya has a great culture and narratives but not many are? willing to tell it to the world.? In the real sense not enough has been done to get the Kenyan story out there. The Kenyan culture is rich, beautiful and full of life. The problem is, the younger more educated generation who have a life time opportunity to spread the word are not doing so. The? generation where everybody is a story teller, the generation where everyone can become a star overnight. Simple question is, are people still sitting down with their grandparents to hear about the heroes of their communities? The once upon time stories which were full of lessons, guidelines, proverbs, and everything to do with the our roots..I don’t think so and in the end? if you don’t know you have nothing to tell
  • Are there consumers of the local content out there? Before the arrival of fiber optic cables? in Kenya there ware fears whether Kenyans would be able to create enough contents to utilize the expected bandwidth, but now the fear of the few who are doing it are turning to whether there are enough consumers of the contents. According Linda Musati of Princess Project, their main challenge? was getting people to read. Yeah the content is great but are Kenyans willing to read or buy it?? To rewind a bit, i think content creators should relax, because one of the conclusion from Mobile Web East Africa back in January which i covered here is that people are willing to pay for great contents. Think of Safaricom ringtones, think of Dstv, think of numerous people who call on radio stations just to discuss the given juicy stories. Kenyan blogs are now enjoying massive hits, and the future can only be better
  • How many Kenyan actors/actress do you know? Don’t worry about that for now, but the bigger picture is Kenyan actors and actresses are not well compensated? according to Ken Ambani.? There are many reasons for this including the fact that Riverwood industry is still young, and the poor marketing and presentation on the part of the actors and the actress.? Most people only go to try acting as the last resort, and many parents don’t consider it a profession at all for their kids.? Actually when people hear your kid is an actor or actress they sympathize as if you have suffered the worst loss of all time.
  • What is the role of Kenya Film Commission? They should learn some lessons from ICT Board, and come up with some concrete programs and actions to show. Otherwise it might turn out to be a big waste of Tax payers money. @Chira had this to say about it on his twitter feeds

Kenya Film Commission is a great idea BUT they have a lot to do. All they say is “we are in the process of…”

  • If there is to be any creativity and innovation in Kenya then Copyright issues and laws have to be sorted out urgently. Although Kenya Copyright Board are trying to raise awareness on moral and ethical rights among public and law enforcement, many Kenyans don’t know how to go about it. Imagine the maximum penalty for the copyright infringement is Ksh.800,000 (around $10,600) and it is rarely handed out to the offenders. Actually the copyright issues are taken so lightly to the extent that they are? handled by the magistrate courts. Copyright was the biggest lesson Just a Band? learnt from Makmende video sensation. Makmende.com was registered three days after the video came out by someone else before Just a Band could go for it and one day later Makmende.net was registered by other people again. Makmende
  • In the world where everyone is connected to everyone, it is high time people think on how to use? social media as a platform for cultural and social change.? Alison Ngibuini the creative mind behind Siri drama explained how #siri, #shuga #ZainChallenge has been used to pass messages in a positive way.
  • The theme on corruption and how rotten it makes the society? came out strongly in particular with? The Dawa Film created by @mkaigwa . Nice work i must say. ?
  • How do you sell yourself online? It turned out that most people don’t know how to sell themselves or their brands online. Kenyan Actors and actress are not taken seriously because they are not doing a good job at marketing themselves. Mugambi Nthiga an actor, showed us many snap shots from actors and actresses but most of them were foreign, he explained that it is hard to get professional pics of the local lads. Of course the funny ones which appear on Facebook and many other places do not count in this case.


    Just a Band the group behind? Makemende fame said they have 45,000 fans on facebook but they don’t know what to do with them. Although everyone around tried to make a killing from Makmende big hit, Just a Band never knew what to do and even upto now they have not found a way to make money out of the Makmende fame. I realize these guys are even afraid of Makmende and trying to move away from? it.

  • Does nationality of the person who produce a movie or a film matters? It came out that in Kenya it does, i am not sure of the original story about the Kibera kids film @togethernessis but am told it was denied funding because the producer is a foreigner. The Togetherness Supreme tells a great story about Kenyans. People from different communities live, work together but politics easily tear them apart as was seen after the 2007, Kenya presidential elections, and that is the story of @togethernessis. May be we have never realized that the most successful country in the world, that is? US, drives its? success from the people who are from other countries. Even their President is marwa.

At the end i think it was a great symposium with wonderful speakers, thanks to @kaburo for making it happen. Again @Jamesmurua and i continued with our discussion on blogging and ads in Kenya which we started last week during Nokia function. It was great meeting @matrixster and Laura Walubengo of CapitalFm. Then came highly charged chat with @chira , @wamathai and @iFortKnox on the CCK new regulations and Safaricom objections, as well as the 3G license price saga. I will write about that soon but i tell you those guys are just the best.

Other tweeps in the crowd whom i did not get chance to meet @antoneosoul @marvintumbo? @missmacharia @mehulio79, @mercymurugi @majiwater @marto34 @mugash and the machines behind @tandaakenya , @siridrama

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