Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post entitled ‘The Rise of the Female Blogger‘ about the explosion of a talented generation of women Ivorian bloggers, in what was a rather male-dominated sector in the early years. I think if anything that trend continues to increase with some fantastic new bloggers, notable for the quality and regularity of their posts. Symbolically the president of the Association of Bloggers of Cote d’Ivoire is now the indefatigable Edith Brou.
But I want to pick out a new trend: 2016 seems to have witnessed the take-off of the video sector. Good quality video on DSLR cameras has been available for a few years now – I recall giving a workshop for Akendewa on home video production back in 2012. But 2016 seems to be the year in which we’ve had the sudden emergence in Abidjan of i) personal video channels, ii) people finally working out how to get decent quality audio, and iii) the rise of the auto-play feature on Facebook. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pioneers have been the very same female bloggers that have emerged over the past couple of years.
It’s worth reminding ourselves how extraordinary this whole thing would have appeared just a few years ago. Young people in Cote d’Ivoire are setting up their own online channels, recording video and sound quality regularly superior to that provided by the state broadcaster RTI, and publishing for a global audience. All this with little formal training, and minimal resources (though yes it is often a Cocody elite).
Here’s a round-up of some of the ones that have impressed me.
- Let me start with the aforementioned Edith Brou and her online show ‘Le Divan Numerique‘, which launched three months ago, and already has 18 video interviews. On her sofa, Edith receives young dynamic guests doing interesting things in Cote d’Ivoire. Professional titling, a cool decor, and a lively host.
- The winner of this year’s female blogging award, Sonia Guiza, focuses on cinema, and has branched out into some online tutorials – ‘Lecons de Cinema’ – on her channel ‘Lagozi TV‘. For someone who likes to take a critical view of Ivorian video/tv productions, the quality and style is there as an example to others.
- The previous crown for best female blogger in Cote d’Ivoire was on the head of cultural enthusiast Orphalie Thalmas (pronounce the ‘s’). Her ‘Ici C’est Babi’ videos (first episode from 1 March 2016 here) are increasingly high quality productions, and take more of a reportage approach at various cultural activities in Cote d’Ivoire and beyond.
- Every blogger has their subject area, and for Tchonte Silue, it’s African literature (or Senoufo). Les Chroniques de Tchonte started four months ago and were getting lots of good press when I was last in Abidjan.
- Three more channels to briefly mention. Food blogger Aida is launching SerialFoodie TV, fashion blogger L’Abidjanaise (Marlyse), has been experimenting a lot more with video, and finally, while not a blogger (to my knowledge), Aline is almost certainly one to watch with her A’lean & Friends initiative.
- It would be unfair to focus entirely on the fairer sex, and I want to pick out two male pioneers to close. Firstly, Christian Gomis’ Ma Vie Mon Choix began around the start of the year (though difficult to tell exactly as many of the videos seem to have recently been switched to private). There are 16 interviews so far which see Ivorian entrepreneurial role models speak about their career path and inspiration.
- Finally, I need to mention Daouda, whose Chroniques 2Daouda monologues have launched him into the vanguard of ‘voice of the people’ social/political commentary (sometimes provoking the ire of the Government).