On Saturday 14 June, 2014, Fabafriq Magazine organized a bloggers meet up, dubbed #cmrbloggershangout in Douala. This event, proudly sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines, took place in the Bonapriso neighborhood at White House Restaurant.
Participants included: amateurs and professionals from various media related fields and from across the nation. From movie actors to graphic designers, event planners to software entrepreneurs…they all had one goal- expatiate on the role of the Cameroonian blogger in the current media ecosystem.
The 20 or so participants were quick to get interactive and spread the word online. The hash tag soon got noticed on social media and ‘virtual’ participants, the likes of Bakwa Magazine Editor ( Dzekashu Macviban) and Fashion blogger-Muke Alison, soon joined the party.
The turn out was more than anticipated, because the organizers had very little time to rally the participants.
As soon as they arrived, the first group immediately (clearly through force of habit,) hooked up their Wi-Fi enabled devices to the internet provided by one of the sponsors-CAMTEL.
The event was scheduled to last about five (5) hours with presentations from ‘gurus’ such as writer and youth advocate -Monique Kwachou , ‘culture engineer’ –William Takor , Clifford Ako Mbianyior of WASAMUNDI , together with representatives from Ethiopian Airlines.
The event started with a warm welcome from the publisher and founder of Fabafriq Magazine , Ms. Adeline Sede-Kamga. She was visibly pleased by the ongoing interactivity. In her usual lively mood, she urged participants to tweet, facebook and blog about the event. According to her, this event was to serve as:
1. An avenue to give human faces to the various online personalities
2. A means to network with fellow bloggers and media sympathizers. But more importantly:
3. A forum to let investors realize that bloggers and online reporters are the future of advertising.
Mrs. Irene Azong-Wara, director at www.feb-mart.com, served as our emcee.
We started with self-introductions and Miss Kwachou went on to clarify the non-bloggers in the room as to what a ‘blog’ was all about. Her post provides a definition and description of a blog and the existing Cameroonian blogosphere.
The early adopters like Dibussi Tande could never be over mentioned as leaders in the Cameroonian blog movement. As well as upcoming scribblers such as Yefon Mainsah of IRepCamer and a host of others (Dulce Camer, Find Palaver Woman, Mookeh, Writerphilic, Africally Speaking etc.) all listed in Monique’s blog post.
Throughout the presentations, questions flew from one end of the room to the other. So did answers. Everyone in the room, late comers inclusive, had either something to share or something to find out.
As the evening unraveled , we had William Takor who gave a ‘brief’ but instructive discourse on what it takes to get content viewed .With reminisces from the baby steps of boy wonder @StanleyEnow as an emcee to the drive needed to push your content, his infusion of Pidgin English and wit got the essence across.
Also, the charming Elodie made the audience rethink its stance on the true potential of tourism and blogs on the topic in Cameroon. In her popular blog, she writes (among other things) about locations she has visited, reviews, suggestions and tips of where to find what.
Mr. Clifford equally made clear to us that the urban guide had come to stay. And that, when it came to the internet and its possibilities, we had not yet started seeing the potential it held for businesses and the economy as a whole.
After the exciting (and some on the fly) presentations, we all delved into the crux of the reason why we all came to Douala- drumroll please………………….item 11!!!!
It was the networking-coupled with the sumptuous three course meal and the wine tasting (sponsored by Duvas Wines). Everyone ate to his/her fill with the leftovers daring those who claimed to have huge appetites. I was pretty shy though…or intimidated I think. To be in the same room with all these smart people…man…
Interspersed was the Press Release by the management of Ethiopian Airlines together with descriptions of their interesting packages for flights and/or other events. The sales representative – Mrs Ngahane Desiree and the Chairperson of the Cameroon Chapter- were eager to answer our questions and extol the discounts, facilities and improvements in the overall management, products and services of the prestigious Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines Quick Facts:
a) The visa to Ethiopia is 50% less than that to any other African country.
b) This is the lowest international visa cost (25USD).
c) There is a Medical package with 20% discount on everything
d) Ethiopian Airlines is the largest and fastest growing aviation company in Africa.
Worthy of note is the fact that one lucky blogger will earn a trip to and fro Singapore-the entire trip taken care of by Ethiopian Airlines! The lucky winner will be known on the 29th of June. This goes a long way to not only show the trust the sponsors have in the organizers but in the bloggers too as future partners.
The evening ended with group picture sessions and parting in anticipation of the next #cmrbloggershangout already scheduled for August 17th and an upcoming tweetchat.
Ms .Adeline Sede-Kamga-this lady warrior a.k.a ‘the connector’ behind the movement is relentless and her drive, addictive. The blogosphere has a new voice and it is serious. Her cry (and that of all the participants) is that more-if not all online reporters of sorts- will join the movement.
Three months ago, during an interview with veteran blogger Dibussi Tande – Mr. Florian Ngimbis (the winner of the Best Francophone Blog award during the 2012 Best of the Blogs Awards ) made a statement which sounds as true now as it was then:
Cameroonian bloggers “Are the future and we are writing that future now”.
What about you? What are you writing?
I’d be glad to know about it in your comments below. Thanks for taking the time to read.