Technology, social media, Africa and me

by Sara Drawwater in ,


1999 was the year of the big move. My Mother needed to be near her aging parents. The decision was made for us to move to England.

My early years in England were quite brutal. I didn't mix well. I was met with impenetrable tight knit groups. It felt like they had known each other forever, like they had never been beyond their town, their streets, their little world. Quite frankly, most of them hadn't. I was alien in so many ways.  

Looking back, this was probably a reflection of my own lack of confidence at that time. I felt so disconnected from my world. Technology was already advancing, but I personally had nothing but the rumours of things called email and internet. These two things would later help to reconnect me with the world I missed. 

Today there is a sharp contrast. The feeling of being alone on someone else's island, my limited access to, and non existent knowledge of technology, has transformed. I am still in England. From a distance, I quite admire it. I have found my place here.

I also have access to multiple strands of rich information, conversations and thought leadership through the wonderful world wide web. Via YouTube, I have access to more African music and films than I did pre 1999! At the same time I am gathering quite a collection of inspiring African bloggers. I take part in international conversations via Twitter. I speak to people I know, and people I have never met. Through online conversations like #Insaka I literally feel like we are gathered by the fire, side by side once more. I am developing friendships with people virtually, people I feel strangely connected to. Our stories and journeys seem to draw us together via the use of technology. 

I am excited about the time I am living in. Those who wish to speak can speak. Via social media, many voices are starting out like a faint whisper. The most meaningful voices are finding traction. I am particularly, excited about what this means for Africa. There are change makers conversing, new leaders emerging, and people are collaborating. The times are changing for everyone, but these are seismic changes for Africa.