South Africa Dominates African Twitterverse

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefK.Masimba | April 14, 2014

Africa’s richest country, South Africa, dominated conversation on the social networking platform, Twitter, while football was the most discussed topic in the last quarter of 2013 according to a recent study.

Image Continue reading

U.N. Security Council Approves Central Africa Republic Peacekeeping Mission

The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council last week approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access in Central African Republic (CAR) which has been gripped by violent conflict since December 2012. Continue reading

Africa’s Web Potential Requires Content

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | March 13, 2014

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), content from sub-Saharan Africa is lacking, when measured by the number of Internet servers on the continent compared to other regions. Continue reading

What the Heck is Right to Privacy?

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | OpEd

THAT the individual shall have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define anew the exact nature and extent of such protection. – Harvard Law Review, 1890

I was listening to music on the web recently when I felt a sudden jolt  that someone could be snooping on me. Through some mass metadata collection effort, they were making a list of all the music I listen to in order to make a character sketch of me. It was a rather odd feeling that rose inside of me. Not that I was listening to anything out of this world. Being online, of course is exposing oneself.  On another thought, just think of how the mobile phone is like your personal address all wrapped up with information about who you are.

I think technology’s reach into our lives needs to be framed within the context of both its potential and what it is taking away, and not simply hailed as the harbinger of progress.

privacy

Against the background of NSA’s Edward J Snowden’s revelations of mass government surveillance programs last June, I don’t think I will ever go online without imagining that my right to privacy is being violated. However, most of the time, I just ignore it and do what I have to do. I’m a digital native after all. Continue reading

Memories of A Grandmother’s Love

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba

Late 1970. Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, was burning. I was nearly five years old, already accustomed to fear and terror. Conditioned, so to speak.

A war was raging throughout Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Bullets, helicopter patrols, night vigils with guerilla fighters bent on mobilizing the masses, and soldiers from the minority white colonial regime beating the hell out of everybody was the menu of our days.

The war was getting hot, and there was no end in sight. I was living with my grandparents — my pillars of support during that senseless war.  Continue reading

WhatsApp: Facebook’s Hot Pick

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 20, 2014

In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp, the instant messaging service with a total of 450 million users around the world, is a big thing.  From facilitating business communication to cheating in relationships, the service has found its way into the digital lifestyles of many Zimbabweans who cannot afford high speed Internet.

Image

While there are no statistics available of WhatsApp users in Zimbabwe, part of the attraction of the application for exchanging messages, photos and videos via mobile phones is its simplicity and low cost. And just to mention the name, WhatsApp, is a coup in social branding: it’s simply unforgettable. Continue reading

Journalists Need to Stay Apace of New Tech Tools

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 15, 2013

Journalists are increasingly under pressure to learn about new tech tools that are significantly changing the face of the practice and putting power in the hands of audiences to create content. But staying apace of emerging technologies is increasingly onerous and can be time wasting.

“The impact of journalism and technology is its changing the way people engage with information and its a challenge for journalists to learn new techniques and new tools to communicate information,” said Professor Ron Yaros, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Continue reading

It’s Mobility, Not Mobile

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 09, 2013

Mobile devices are reinventing the content industry.  As more users get their information on a small screen, the jury is out on how to create and distribute content.

Suffice to say that finding out how audiences consume information on mobile devices is a key first step in establishing ways to deliver information via the medium more effectively. I think what matters is the mobility experience rather than the device itself. And for content creators, the challenge is how to make that experience worthwhile via the content that we create. Continue reading

Saving Journalism’s Soul: It’s All Storytelling, You Know

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 12 2014

Much has been written about how the field of journalism is being disrupted and threatened by technology. In the digital age, anyone can be a journalist, so the story goes. Technology has brushed aside gatekeepers so the playground is now a free for all, reads the narrative.

Granted, the economic model that sustained traditional journalism is undergoing major disruption but that doesn’t mean there’s no validity in the practice. No matter how technology evolves journalism’s essential core of storytelling still matters. If anything, the soul of journalism remains the same. Continue reading