African Media Lab

  1. This is the third interview I have done with Erik Hersman in a year. Each has been in a different continent and each time I find his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship to be even more inspiring. Erik is one of five founders of the iHub in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a city that is booming, yet until now, it has no focal point for those IT start-ups that need cheap, fast Internet access and a place to interact with colleagues with a similar passion. iHub is the answer and when I visited on April 6th 2010, I found them in the early stages of building out.

    Erik and the iHub's new manager Jessica Colaço are both TED fellows. They combine creativity with sound business sense - as well as being great people to know. In the film you will also will also see two 3rd year students, Samuel Olembo and Angela Oduor, who are helping out.

    Check out, and if you've got a great idea, I definitely recommend hooking up.

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  2. In the industrial park just South of the city centre you will find an arts centre with a difference. Nairobi's Godown centre is bustling with fresh ideas. Amongst them you will find Nairobits ( ), a centre which turns out a couple of hundred students a year, trained in word processing, Excel and web designer programs. All the students come from the underprivileged parts of Kenya society. Nairobits opens doors that would otherwise remain firmly shut. Very impressed because there is no problem here with motivation - the students are there because they want to be. The challenge for 2011 is how they will adapt the courses to meet the changing needs of employers.

    The concepts developed in Nairobi are now being used in Tanzania (Zanzibits, Ethioipia, Uganda and beyond to give other creatives a chance. The key to success is that each new venture is adapted to the needs of the local market, cherry picking what is relevant from what is working in Kenya.

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  3. Was delighted to do an interview with David Smith, the launch director of Radio Bar-Kulan. This is a new venture based on successful projects in Congo and the Central African Republic. The task of uniting Somalis in a country with no functioning central government is daunting. But, I believe, if anyone has the expertise to get it right, it is the team of Somalis working alongside David Smith at the moment. They are using a mix of shortwave, FM, and the web to reach both Somalis inside the country but also a large diaspora scattered across the world. the website, as you might expect, is in Somali, with some selected posts in English.

    As of May 14th 2010, the station has expanded output to 16 hrs a day starting at 03 hrs UTC

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  4. A short video with two of the three person team responsible for the project currently running out of the Nairobi headquarters of Mamabits. Thanks to Tobias Ouma and Rukia Sebit for showing me round, Lilian Were is the other member of the team who wasn't there when I dropped by, but is an active member of the team.

    The results have been amazing. With one month still to go, over 300 projects have been written up and the Twitter feed reported they got over 1800 text messages in one day enquiring about how to participate or suggesting someone who could be a local peace hero.

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  5. David Smith is back again with some more great radio stories from Southern Africa. This time he explains what made him search out Capital Radio 604 while in Zimbabwe in 1983, and end up working there - twice. There is a website that looks at Capital's music years in the 80's and 90's (, but not the project that David ran in the 90's. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time?

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African Media Lab

Jonathan Marks PRO

These are interviews which I think are relevant to community media projects in Africa. They are moving from purely FM projects to playing a much greater role in the success of society. I post one or two new videos a week on my main Vimeo site.

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  • Kris Haamer

    Some great content here. Thanks for sharing!

    by Kris Haamer

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