Friday, December 19, 2008

A new blogging platform for Africa: Maneno

ManenoYesterday, reading, I was alerted to the existance of a new blogging site for Africa: Maneno (which means "words" in Kiswahili). By "blogging site" I mean something like Blogger or WordPress, a place where anyone can create a blog. What is the point of a new site or platform when other good ones are available? There are several advantages:
  • The site is designed from scratch with the goal of making pages load fast over the slow connections that most of us have in Africa. There really is a noticeable difference.
  • The site is easy to use. (Actually, I'm not sure it's any easier than Blogspot, but the authors are working to keep it simple.)
  • Maneno is multilingual. Other sites do allow you to type your blog entries in your own language, but Maneno has the added feature of an easy interface that lets any member translate any blog post into another language, sort of a communal approach to making the entries themselves available in other languages. Of course, it's the African languages that are the focus.
  • Maneno recognizes that many users in Africa do not have access a computer, so the site is exploring ways to allow people to access it through mobile phones and other relevant technology. (Blogspot also allows posting by mobile phone & email ... will Maneno be better in some way? Probably it at least will be slimmer.)
  • Maneno is focused on Africa. Unlike Blogspot, which is a place for any and every type of blog, Maneno is more topical, describing itself as striving "to provide a communication and development platform for Sub-Saharan Africa."
If you live in Africa and write about life and culture here, or if you're interested in reading the blogs and commentaries of those who do, you should definitely have a look at Maneno.

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