It is Monday the seventh of June 2021 and due to unforeseeable circumstances,wait is that right? I could hve foreseen them but oh well….anyway today gets to be the day I jump in the furore of the Afrobloggers Digital storytelling festival also known as #WinterABC.
This is an African storytelling festival organized by Afrobloggers every year in the month of June when it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere of the continent. The aim of the festival is to celebrate African creativity, through exchanging unique experiences and conversations shared via a blog per day challenge that lasts for 22 days.
This time round, Afrobloggers has decided to theme the weeks instead of have topics for each day. This week, it is all about advocacy. Mmmhh, I guess you are wondering what is advocacy? What is she going to talk about? Where are we going with this? Well hold on to your horses, I am preparing to dazzle you,well atleast I will try. Well, lets jump right into it.
Yes what exactly is advocacy? I had to research abit to get this one. There seems to be a number of definitions but they seemed to agree on one thing. However Your Dictionary made it much clearer with Advocacy being the act of speaking on the behalf of or in support of another person, place, or thing. The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support. Advocacy comes in many types but today, we are not going down that lane. Haha!
However as we are in the digital era, it has come to light advocacy in this digital era. What is it? How does digital advocacy happen? Pollicy describes “Digital advocacy is the use of technology to galvanize people towards a cause, whether it’s a policy or a product. It’s an organized effort to influence public perception. In a nutshell it is using all digital tools ,be it social media, blogs or websites to get people behind a cause.”
Now this excited me beyond measure because you know I am passionate about stories. I love stories. I get my close friends to tell me stories. Stories is a love language for me. Yeah so you can always hit me up with a story. I will definitely not say no….
But in recent years and when I say recent, I mean really recent, I have developed a passion for digital storytelling. If you knew me, you would know that that is weird because I am the most technologically deficient person ever. The whole technology thing befuddles my mind but luckily I have a brother who is in IT so my back is covered. I am the girl who will need a device be it laptop or phone and my concern is whether I can get it in pink. Hey, do not look down on the pink. It is important. I need the device to be visually pleasing even if I have to stick butterflies on it and yes I do have butterflies on my laptop.
In comes Digital Storytelling…
Digital storytelling at its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. There are a wealth of other terms used to describe this practice, such as digital documentaries, computer-based narratives, digital essays, electronic memoirs, interactive storytelling, etc.; but in general, they all revolve around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video, and Web publishing.
Isnt that absolutely beautiful???
Here we are in an era where it is ok to embrace our story and use it for change. Isn’t that like what Afrobloggers is all about- using stories to tell the different aspects of the African story. Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi said “The single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”….and now Afrobloggers uses its platform to connect, educate and promote African storytellers who are using various media tools to tell the diversity of the African story(ies).
And here comes the bride-Transmedia or Multi-platform storytelling
Transmedia storytelling according to Wikipedia. No, it was not me!! (also known as transmedia narrative or multiplatform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.
Transmedia storytelling is how well a story is comprehended across media. An effective strategy of transmedia storytelling does not take a passive approach, instead engages with popular culture making a story its own and providing new context.
When it comes to strict adaptation in transmedia storytelling which is translating one medium to another: a book becomes a film, a comic becomes a video game. There is also a history describing pure transmedia: the book is an exact prequel to the film, ending at the exact moment prior to the films beginning.
An amazing example of this is Star Wars. I will not lie I am a Star Trekkie but Star wars does have something to it. What the creators developed is simply awesome. Who would have guessed??!! ok now I need to re-watch a star wars movie and immerse myself in the fact that Star Wars is an American epic space opera media franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into various films and other media, including television series, video games, novels, comic books, theme park attractions, and themed areas, comprising an all-encompassing fictional universe. In 2020, its total value was estimated at US$70 billion, and it is currently the fifth-highest-grossing media franchise of all time. Guys, $70 billion!!!! Read that again!! And our African parents think storytelling will take us nowhere. Come on, lets change that narrative!!
Storytelling for Change
I dream of an Africa who knows who she is!! It is a she, right?? But just imagine with me, an Africa that has accepted its past, working her present and envisioning her future. An Africa where we are united in our strengths and pushing forth development for all, for all generations to come! An Africa proud of herself and being unapologetically and authentically herself! An Africa that has embraced each facet of her story!
But how would this happen? Well, it takes you and you and you! It takes all of us to accept who we are and embrace our individual stories and use it for change, knowing that what we have gone through, the pains, the joys are all for a purpose and we each learn from the other. We are UBUNTU!!
I dream of developing This is Me! into a media empire dedicated to telling the stories of Africa. Of a transmedia platform where African storytellers plug in to tell their story. I dream of a media franchise where African heritage and stories are developed into comics and books and movies and games-where our culture doesn’t die but thrives!
Imagine if you told your story in whatever way or whatever platform what each of us would learn from the other. The connections and community created. WHAT IS YOUR STORY?
Please do comment and share your story. Tell us how you are getting your story out to the world!