Blogger from the Congo will deliver the keynote speech at Deutsche Welle’s international weblog awards, The BOBs.
Cedric Kalonji, a blogger from the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s BOBs Awards on November 27 at the Communication Museum in Berlin. Kalonji was awarded the best French-language blog at the BOBs in 2007 and will speak about his personal experiences and how blogging has changed his life.
Kalonji has been working as a journalist for Radio Okapi in Kinshasa for the last five years – a radio station jointly owned and managed by the MONUC (the UN mission in Congo) and the Swiss Foundation Hirondelle. In 2005, he created a blog where he posted pictures and personal thoughts on his daily life in Congo.
Coming from a country where the freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are suppressed has led to citizen journalists taking to the streets and reporting on what they see – something that Kalonji set out to do with his blog in 2005.
“My desire to share experiences of my daily life was driven by a deep need to express myself freely,” says Kalonji. “Thanks to my Blog, I had the opportunity to develop a media of my own, and to talk about subjects that matter to me, without being censored.”
His readership grew each year leading up to 2007, when he said it “reached a turning point”: He was awarded the BOBs Award. “The significant coverage boosted the number of new visitors and strongly motivated me in going further in my endeavor to inform people around the world about Congo,” says Kalonji. “I gained the appreciation of professionals and the opportunity to express myself freely, which is a luxury that people in most Africans countries don’t have.”
But Kalonji also sees blogging as a way to encourage intercultural dialogue – especially on his native continent. “Blogs in Africa can build a bridge between Africa and other continents, and hence enable the information from the field to be disseminated,” he says. “Blogs give a voice to the voiceless. Thanks needs to go to Deutsche Welle for supporting bloggers all over the world.”
This year’s BOBs Awards will be announced at a ceremony on November 27 at the Communication Museum in Berlin. The BOBs is the world’s largest international blogging competition – drawing in more than 7,000 nominations per year. It was developed in 2004 and now has 16 categories, with winners being chosen by both an international jury of media experts and bloggers and through online voting. Judges look at blogs in 11 different languages – making the BOBs the world‘s only awards competition that offers a comprehensive overview of the global blogosphere.For the first time ever, this year’s BOBs ceremony will be broadcast via livestream and live blogging. The livestream is available through Sevenload and Peter Bihr will be creating and posting the live blog (http://www.thewavingcat.com/).