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Blogging African stories

DUMISANI NCUBE
Through her blog Motsamai has managed to travel to countries such as China and France
With the advent of the Internet, many have done well to use their creative juices to come up with different platforms for their works to go commercial.

Local lass, Mmabatho Motsamai has taken advantage of the Internet to come up with a blog titled The Afrolutionist and it tells the story of Africa.  Blogging has not been an easy walk in the park ever since its inception and many have quit along the way after encountering challenges such as lack of income and poor followership.

For Motsamai, who is in her mid-20s, it has since become her nine-to-five job for the past four years and as a result her blog is being recognised internationally.

 The Afrolutionist blog covers issues that range from international relations, economic development, arts, culture, politics, gender based issues, peace and security.   “I used to freelance for local newspapers, but the nature of my articles were not appealing to the newspaper editors as they were more broad and covered continental issues.

While freelancing, I also encountered issues such as sexism, lack of payment and some xenophobic experience, which led to me starting up my blog. I was never happy in the newsroom,” Motsamai said.

Just like any publication or blog, she had to find an identity and market that would relate to the content she delivers and African issues came into her mind.

She told Arts & Culture that both the European and American media have always depicted Africa as a dark continent and she decided to document the positive side of Africa and Africans’ success stories.

“I document what people are doing in Africa. I document the journey of young Africans and the Internet is the best platform. Not only African problems should be documented.”

For many, it was not a walk in the park, as Motsamai experienced a lot of rejections from potential investors but she hustled her way on, as she continued writing more articles, networking, using her own funds to grow the blog and spending sleepless nights on an empty stomach. 

With many Batswana used to reading news articles on traditional media and established news

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sites, Motsamai had to market her blog through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter with the latter being the main marketing engine.

“Botswana readership has been very low, especially in the past but now it is in the top five of readership. We normally have United States of America and South Africa being the top two countries of the readers we get.Through Google analytics, we are able to see the readership statistics from the respective countries our readers come from,” she explained.

Motsamai stated that through working closely with Non-Govermental Organisations (NGOs) on digital campaigns and programmes, she is able to generate income while Google Ads is the main source of income for online publications. She, however, stated that it is harsh on African bloggers because one can only get as much as $100 with 10,000 views per article.

 Through the Afrolutionist she has created contacts around the world and in the end she has managed to travel to countries such as China, France, South Africa and Mozambique. 

Now Motsamai’s blog has great potential to conquer Africa and the world. Ironically, she did not go through any academic programme to be a writer, but it was something she has always been passionate about. She had initially enrolled at a local tertiary institution to study accounting, but after a few semesters down the line she dropped out to pursue writing. 

“I did not enjoy my studies but writing has always been my calling,” Motsamai said.

With the decline of traditional media and job losses in the media industry in general recently, Motsamai urged the affected media practitioners to cash in on collaborative blogging.

 As a way of growing her blog, she noted that soon she would introduce more elements such as podcasts. She highlighted that she is working on bringing a French writer into her team. To broaden her readership, Motsamai said she would introduce more African languages into her blog.



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