Guide on “African fiction in local languages of non-European origin”

LocalLanguagesIIIIMG_20150703_105616Several libraries collect material in local African languages of non-European origin. This guide gives a few hints on how to find novels in Swahili, poetry in Ndebele or plays in Xhosa. Libraries do use certain methods of subject indexing and classification helping to locate literature in African languages in the library catalogues.

Some of the approaches do also apply for the local literature in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. However, the main focus of this guide is on local African languages of non-European origin.

Frankfurt University Library, Germany

The DFG-funded special subject collection on Africa South of the Sahara uses keywords according to the German authority file GND and the RWSK-rules. Additionally, we also name the language and the genre of the fictional text.

The pattern is:

Country, e.g. “Simbabwe”
Language, e.g. “Ndebele-Sprache, Simbabwe”
Genre, e.g. “Roman” (novel)
text/anthology

With this type of keyword search Zimbabwean novels in Ndebele can be found.

Other examples are:

For the purpose of classification an “Eppelsheimer”-inhouse solution is applied. This allows to answer some broader questions: All novels from Africa in Frankfurt University library can be retrieved e.g. with “3!! M 0059 k*“.

The pattern to index fictional text looks like this:

334 = e.g is the country code for Kenya
M 0059 = is a fictional text
k = novel, h =drama, e = poems, m = short story etc.

The code for local African languages is:

A combination of both is possible, some examples:

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New in ilissAfrica’s “Internet resources”-search: auto-suggest, hit highlighting, drill down & tag cloud

The search functionality of ilissAfrica’s database on internet resources with more than 4.600 indexed websites on sub-Saharan Africa was modernized:

1.) the auto-suggest component

The database shows you all terms used for indexing starting with the same characters. This helps also to see search terms in different languages.

2.) hit highlighting component

See the context in snippets where the search term was found.

3.) drill down / faceted navigation:

Limit your search results choosing “countries”, “keywords” and “resource types”:

4.) tag cloud

A cloud with all keywords – the font size shows how often it has been used.

5.) new resources list & RSS feeds

Explore the most recent indexed websites. All lists of results can by integrated in other websites via RSS-feeds.

6.) spell checking: Did you mean …?

If one gets no results because of typing errors an automatic suggestion is made.

7.) Search for similar resources with a re-selection of keywords

Still it is possible to browse by “Countries”, broad “Subject areas” and “Resource types”.

Please note, that “old”-URLs will be forwarded to the new ones, so every special link on sections of the website database should work.

Guide to African newspapers and newspapers on Africa

African Newspapers

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) recently conducted an assessment of African newspapers online. CRL’s survey found that only a fraction of African newspaper titles are currently available online. Of an estimated 1,300 titles in circulation throughout Africa, CRL found only 484 titles with some form of active online presence. See the detailed report.

Online access via:

  • AllAfrica aggregates and produces 2000 news items daily from over 130 African news organizations, they operate from Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Monrovia, Nairobi and Washington DC.
  • Others are Panapress and Afrol News
  • Nordic Africa
    Institute’s “A Guide to Africa on the Internet” under the headings links sorted by subject “News and media” or sorted by country or region.
  • Stanford: African Newspapers by Country
  • Stanford: African Newspapers continent-wide
  • World-newspapers -> Africa
  • African newspapers, part of the Readex World Newspaper Archive, a full-text digital collection of historical African newspapers (1800-1922)

Adresses and Links in printed books:

  • Africa south of the Sahara 2012, 41st ed., London : Routledge (Europa regional surveys of the world); has country entries with a section on “The Press”.
  • The African studies companion : a guide to information sources. / Zell, Hans M.. – 4th rev.and expanded ed. – Lochcarron, Scotland : Zell 2008; chapter 10 “News Sources for Africa”, p.299 and chapter 11 “The African Press”, pp. 306-357. A fifth edition is announced by Brill for Sept. 2012.

Further guides to African newspapers:

 African Newspapers in German libraries:

Travel account with bast binding restored

In December 2011 the article “Touching wild animals and other dangers in a library” presented some special bindings of books of the Africa collection of Frankfurt University Library. One of them was

Richard A. Bermann: Zarzura, die Oase der kleinen Vögel. Die Geschichte einer Expedition in die Libysche Wüste, Zürich: Füssli 1938, S 17/2991.

This travel account from the Austrian Richard A. Bermann alias Arnold Höllriegel has a bast binding made by local people in Madagascar (not in the region of the travel route): „Der Bast für den Einband wurde durch Eingeborene Madagaskars eigens für dieses Buch mit der Hand gewoben.“

However, time left it’s mark on the binding:

In January 2012 Manuela Keßler, from our restoration laboratory, repaired the binding. Bast was dyed and folded into small fibres. The threads were tied up to the exiting ones.

Missing parts at the back and the edges were amended.

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On Display: “African” activities of the German Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. The network of Goethe-Instituts, Goethe Centres, cultural societies, reading rooms and exam and language learning centres plays a central role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany. It promotes German-African relationships and provides platforms for intercultural dialogue. This blog article presents seven snapshots from the activities in Africa South of the Sahara.

Highlights

1.) Cultural Bridge

In Edéa, Cameroon, the mutual history of Cameroon and Germany was commemorated at a massive, 100-year-old steel structured bridge that the German colonial rulers once had built. The artist Pascale Marthine Tayou together with his team draped huge wooden figures standing on steles about it, did an intercultural production of Goethe’s Faust – another perennial favourite – and set up an installation based on the indigenous Cameroon writing system, finishing “Les flâneurs d’Edéa” (The Ramblers of Edéa).

2.) Literature Forum

The Literature Forum in Kenya brings together upcoming women writers and literary critics to share and discuss stories, poems and current literary trends with the aim of enhancing their creativity. The forum provides a space to listen to the voices of established and budding female writers – voices of women with a passion for literary adventure. “AMKA – Space for Women’s Creativity” and the Goethe-Institut organise monthly readings in the library of the Goethe-Institut every last Saturday of the month. Participation in the forum is open to both men and women.

3.) Writing about Africa

This brilliant internet feature allows the discovery of new German literature representing diverse images of Africa and is hosted by the Goethe-Institut South Africa. Selected books by German speaking authors who deal with Africa in all its many facets are reviewed and biographical information on the authors are given. The selection of books covers the following genres: Novels and stories, travel journals, journalistic reports and critical essays about Africa, biographies and autobiographies, youth literature and stories for children. The website also gives an overview on the most actively German publishing housed engaged with Africa. Read more of this post

Touching wild animals and other dangers in a library

Do not annoy an elephant. Do not cut yourself being in love. How to avoid these dangers? How to pet an elephant without fear? Come in our library’s Africa department and make a very special sensual experience. This little photo story is about the haptics of books on and from Africa.

cover detail of Michael Poliza (& friends): South Africa, Kempen: teNeues 2010, F 89.262.82

I have chosen some examples from our Africa collection at Frankfurt University Library to demonstrate that

  • to handle a book is more than just grabbing and open it,
  • experiencing the surface feel can be joyful and fulfilling,
  • books are physical objects with much more quality characteristics than one would expect,
  • books can be art.

The following amateurish pictures were done by myself and are biased – they only should make you curious. Haptics cannot be captured in a photograph at all. So do come and enjoy our physical books.

1. Animal skins

Tania Blixen: Jenseits von Afrika, Zürich: Manesse 2010, 89.081.39

The grey embossed paper cover, the large size and the heavy weight of the pictorial book by the well known photographer Michael Poliza (and others like Chris Fallows, Thomas P. Peschak, Mandla Mnyakama) on South Africa fit very well to the cover picture of the book jacket. However, this special paper has also been used in other colours, evoking perhaps the skin of an antelope or more generally the wild life of Africa.

The Swiss edition of Tania/Karen Blixen’s “Out of Africa” by Manesse in 2010 was printed and bound by „GCP Media GmbH, Pößneck”. In the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung a reviewer statet:

Manchen Büchern sollte man unter den Rock gucken, um sie als Gesamtkunstwerk würdigen zu können. Die neue deutsche Ausgabe des Klassikers ‘Jenseits von Afrika’, dessen Autorin bei uns als Tania Blixen bekannt ist, trägt unter dem Schutzumschlag einen Einband mit edler, kakaofarbener Antilopenfell-Anmutung. Und auf dem Deckel steht, in Versalien, nichts als das Wort „Afrika“ – der Name des Kontinents, den just im Erscheinungsjahr ein sportliches Großereignis ins Zentrum der medialen Aufmerksamkeit rückt.
Kristina Maidt-Zinke: Der ganze Erdteil war ihr Handspiegel. Tania Blixens Hauptwerk „Jenseits von Afrika“ in einer nuancierteren Neuübersetzung aus dem Dänischen, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung 12.07.2010, Literatur, Seite 14.

In short she suggests “to gaze under the skirt” of this book to value end experience the book as a masterpiece of art.

The animals and the nature of Africa are the most prominent in public interest and contribute to the romantic stereotype attached to the continent. Another example is the cover of Michael Poliza: Classic Africa, Kempen: teNeues 2010, F 89 346 85, showing a collection of artistic duotone prints.

Simply holding this book, lifting it, looking at it, feeling the cover; it is clear this book is special. It is the rare book that begs to be opened. […] The cover is something very special. The material is some kind of synthetic material with an animal fur texture.

Daniel G. Lebryk: Gorgeous, Amazon review on Classic Africa (Hardcover), 17.12.2010.

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New in ilissAfrica’s cross search: Colonial photographs from Africa

The Colonial Picture Archive comprises the image collection of the “German Colonial Society” (Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft), now located at Frankfurt University Library, Germany, and a collection of photographs, photo albums and postcards owned by the Sam Cohen Library, Swakopmund, Namibia. Over 50.000 digitized historical pictures cover the whole of Africa.

Johannesburg: 061-0712-18, 018-0120-30, PA10_061

The integration of the Colonial Picture Archive into the cross search of ilissAfrica makes available much more visual material. While this source material is mainly of interest for academic historians and social anthropologists, all other specialists might profit at least in the way, that searching with ilissAfrica gets more entertaining. Laborious bibliographic research is made a bit more appealing and the visual presentation of the pictures fits very well to the new world of social media, where sharing photographs is crucial.

Image Collection of the “German Colonial Society”

Photographer E. Hecker in Ovamboland, A_0ii_6874

The “German Colonial Society” was founded in 1887. For their propaganda activities members collected photographs, which were used to illustrate public lectures in Germany. Already, in the 1880s lectures were sometimes accompanied by privately owned glass slides belonging to the guest speaker. In 1891, this induced the Society to form their own image collection – beginning with about 100 large format black and white slides. Bequests from members and friends of the society as well as the transfer of originals or duplicates from the, now largely destroyed, official, commercial, and private collections rapidly increased the stock. Due to National Socialist enforcement, the society was integrated, together with its collections, organs, and members, with the German “Reichskolonialbund” (dissolved in 1943).

Characteristics

Sammlung Julius Hermann Schott (1888-1956) von Lieselotte Gräfin Bülow von Dennewitz, Tanzania, 1910-1912

There are pictures of landscapes, plants, agriculture, chase, animals, houses, cities, streets, schools, missions, trade, transport, police, administration, culture and people. Some seem to have a documentary character, some explicit the curiosity and fascination of the exotic. Appropriation, mastery, and self-reassurement of the claimed superior European culture is visible in many pictures (like the one on the left). While the Europeans often are known by name, the local people remain nameless. In spite of all this, the collection of images offers invaluable visual source material from African countries, even if the pictures were taken and used in a prejudiced colonial context.

Search examples

With the combined search in ilissAfrica it is possible to look for literature (books, articles, electronic dissertations and other online documents), for websites and for historical images on a given subject. If one wants to know more on a certain ethnic group, one will find not only the academic literature and websites on the group but also images of the people. The following searches give examples of the potential of this cross search:

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New German National License: “African Writers Series” online

For over 40 years, Heinemann’s African Writers Series published canonical twentieth century texts of African literature. The online edition by ProQuest’s Chadwyck-Healey includes over 250 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose, including works by Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Christopher Okigbo, Okot p’Bitek and Tayeb Salih.

The African Writers Series (AWS) of Heinemann Educational Books was founded in 1962 with the publication of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (originally published in 1958) as AWS No. 1, and with Achebe himself as Founding Editor. Achebe remained Series Editor until 1972, by which time the series included 100 titles. “The list of names of editorial board members drawn from different academic disciplines reads like a ‘who’s who’ in African literary studies.” (Clarke 2003, 165) The initial aim was to produce a paperback series featuring writing by African authors (initially, this was limited to black African authors) that would be affordable for a general African readership. Most of the works in the Series come from English-speaking countries in Western, Southern and Eastern Africa, but there are also a number of volumes translated from French, Portuguese, Zulu, Swahili, Acoli, Sesotho, Afrikaans, Luganda and Arabic (compare the About section of the database).

Africa Writes Back

As African nations won independence, writers like Achebe began to forge distinctive national literatures throughout the continent. Contrary to the colonialist perceptions they want to demonstrate that Africa had a history and a culture in its own right (Okyerefo 2001). „The series gives agency to the African because the novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and autobiographies are written by Africans about Africans, telling their own stories in their own voices for both Africans and non-Africans.“ (Clarke 2003, 168) The series not only launched the national but also triggered a pan-african literature discourse. Programmatically, one of the series’ editor, James Currey, called his memoir “Africa Writes Back. The African Writers Series & the launch of African literature” (Currey 2008).  Authors from East Africa now could be read in West Africa, and works by Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o entered the world market. The English translations of Mongo Beti’s „Le Pauvre Christ de Bomba“ or Sembène Ousmane’s „Le Docker Noir“ were sold much more often than the French editions.

The series editor James Currey reported extensively about the history of the AWS and his personal achievements:

“My connections with South African writers in exile as well as with writers surviving in that country made books available internationally that could not have appeared in South Africa. Later, David Philip, the Cape Town publisher, found a legal loophole which with Heinemann’s co-operation enabled writers such as Alex la Guma to be reprinted in South Africa; this evaded the banned list operated by South African customs at the ports of entry.” (Curry 2003, 580; see also Curry 2008, 183)

However, in the beginnings it was a male Africa. In the first 100 titles only one female author features: Nigeria’s Flora Nwapa (Fraser/Bejjit 2005).

Online advantages & peculiarities

The full-text format allows new approaches to the old literature:

“Researchers can run searches across the whole corpus of texts to find instances of specific words or phrases: one can search for key terms of African nationalist discourse such as ‘Azania’ or ‘black consciousness’, for terms associated with politics and class distinctions such as ‘socialism’, ‘democracy’, ‘middle class’, ‘accent’ or ‘elite’, or simply for references to specific tribes or languages, such as ‘Yoruba’, ‘Xhosa’ or ‘Tswana’.” (Kibble 2005, 66)

The AWS online edition may be useful for studies

  • on the self-conception of an African writer and intellectual
  • on English language and literature and the establishment of a canon of great literature
  • on gender and on cultural contacts, e.g. in the work of Amma Darko (Beyond the Horizon, 1995) with Germany
  • on postcolonialism, e.g. with the question on how colonial structures survived after independence
  • on Romance literature due to the translations from the Portuguese and French (the search can be restricted to translations or the original language of origin)
  • on history, e.g. with the autobiographies of Kenneth Kaundas and Olusegun Obasanjo
  • on the construction of ethnicity, e.g. of the Ibo and
  • on the history of publishing in Africa.

Useful links for users of the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections like Case Studies, Sample Searches, or How to Cite Texts from the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections.

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Editorial Policy

Each volume is reproduced in full, including accompanying text by the author, introductions, notes, glossaries and other editorial matter, and illustrations. Each volume, including anthologies and collections, can be browsed in its entirety via a Table of Contents. All authors are indexed by gender, nationality and dates of birth/death, and all texts by details of first publication (date, place, publisher and language) and details of first publication in the AWS (date and AWS series number). These index fields are all searchable from the Search page, and are displayed in the bibliographic details for each volume. The names of translators and anthology editors, and alternate name forms of authors, are also searchable via the Author field. Original pagination is preserved, and the page layout of poems is reproduced as accurately as possible. Scanned images are used as a supplement to the keyed text for illustrations, figures and unusual page layouts. Typographic characters that cannot be displayed using a web-safe extended Latin character set have been mapped to standard-character equivalents, and scanned images have been provided for cross-referencing (see Editorial Policy).

The Librarians view

Since 2005 the first three attempts to get the National License funding for the African Writers Series were unsuccessful, luckily in 2011 things changed. It took seven years to make this important corpus available to all researchers in Germany.

This corpus is one of the seldom undertakings where literature which is still under copyright protection is digitized:

“The digitisation of the AWS is a substantial undertaking […]. Almost all of the texts included in the AWS are in copyright, which means that the first task has been to identify a rights holder for each title and negotiate a license for electronic reproduction of the text.” (Kibble 2005, 66)

An overview about the printed books gives Frankfurt University’s library catalogue; further studies on the African Writers Series can be accessed via ilissAfrica.

AWS supplements the German National License „Corpus de la littérature francophone de l’Afrique noire“.

Now, please do explore the wealth of the online edition of the African Writers Series!

References:

  • Clarke, Becky: The African Writers Series: celebrating forty years of publishing distinction, in: Research in African Literatures 34 (2003), 2, pp. 163-174, online.
  • Currey, James: Africa writes back : the African writers series & the launch of African Literature, Oxford : Currey, 2008.
  • Currey, James: Chinua Achebe, the African Writers Series and the Establishment of African Literature, in: African Affairs 102 (2003), 409, pp. 575-587, online.
  • Fraser, Robert / Nourdin Bejjit: THE TIGER THAT POUNCED: THE AFRICAN WRITERS SERIES (1962–2003) AND THE ONLINE READER, 2005, Introductory Essay, http://collections.chadwyck.co.uk/infoCentre/products/aws_hist.jsp.
  • Information Centre : About African Writers Series: http://collections.chadwyck.co.uk/infoCentre/products/about_ilc.jsp
  • Kaiza, David: But Why, Father? looking back on the legacy of the African Writers Series, fifty years on, in: Transition 106 (2011), pp. B88-B105.
  • Kibble, Matt: The African Writers Series reborn: an electronic edition, in: Wasafiri 46 (2005), pp. 66-68.
  • Okyerefo, Michael Perry Kweku: The Cultural Crisis of Sub-Saharan Africa as Depicted in the African Writers’ Series. A Sociological Perspective, Frankfurt am Main: Lang 2001.

Note to our German users:

Since September 2013 the works are indexed as individual titles in the catalogue of Frankfurt University Library.

New in ilissAfrica: AJOL, African institutional repositories and French databases via Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)

ilissAfrica strengthened its service of full text e-documents through the integration of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). Via this powerful OAI-PMH service provider some of the most important African and French repositories and article databases are now part of the combined search in ilissAfrica.

Highlights of the Africa section of BASE:

  1. African Journals Online (AJOL) to promote access to African research. It is the largest and pre-eminent collection of peer-reviewed, African-published scholarly journals, some Open Access.
  2. 30 institutional repositories from African universities, like WIReDSpace, UWC Research Repository, UNISA Institutional Repository, UPSpace, UJ DigiSpace, SUNScholar Research Repository, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar: Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire Culturels Africains (Senegal), Covenant University Repository (Ota, Nigeria) or Addis Ababa University Electronic Thesis and Dissertations
  3. Major French resources like
    • Gallica – bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) – with access e.g. to the accounts, photographs, maps etc. of explorers of Africa
    • Cairn – more than 150 journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences, e.g. Afrique contemporaine, Cahiers d’études africaines, Outre-Terre
    • Revues.org – Revues.org is the oldest collection of France’s open access online journals for social sciences (over 60).
    • Persée: Portail de revues scientifiques en sciences humaines et sociales. Free access to bibliographical data and to some extent to full text articles from scientific journals in the social and human sciences in France
    • HAL – Hyper Article en Ligne and Ressources documentaires. multi-disciplinary open access archive for the deposit and dissemination of scientific research papers, whether they are published or not, and for PhD dissertation
    • Inst. de recherche pour le développement (IRD). – Publications of the scientists of the IRD (former Orstom).
  4. More institutional repositories and digitization databases of LSE, SOAS, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan, Indiana, Harvard and Brigham Young universities
  5. Finally the RePEc:Research Papers in Economics and the Directory of Open Access Journals:Articles bring in many more results from very diverse journals also on Africa

Why BASE?

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library. As the open access movement grows and prospers, more and more repository servers come into being which use the “Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting” (OAI-PMH) for providing their contents. BASE collects, normalizes, and indexes these data. One can access the full texts of about 75% of the indexed documents. The Index is continuously enhanced by integrating further OAI sources as well as local sources. BASE is a registered OAI service provider and contributed to the European project “Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research” (DRIVER).

Some remarks on selection and usage:

  • The selection was done by choosing specific data provider. There is no further sub-selection like a subject specification on African Studies. So on the one hand one might find results on the natural sciences which you would not expect in ilissAfrica. On the other hand you will find many documents on Africa e.g. in journals which would not be indexed in libraries specializing on African Studies normally.
  • While many repositories deliver keywords and abstracts, only some do support the keyword search.
  • The advanced search for the date range does not work with BASE
  • OR and NOT in the advanced search do work with BASE.
  • Some provider like Persee and Revues.org do not deliver the source information (name of the journal, volume etc.).

Search examples

  • Dogon
  • Khoisan
  • Youth in Sierra Leone – only full text, all document types
  • Mission Congo – AJOl articles, UNISA thesis, Persee, CAIRN articles, HAL documents, digital missionary accounts, pictures and maps e.g. via Gallica
  • Material on the “Kingdom of Kongo” – if one includes the French search term (royaume congo) the results of a title search  lead to journal articles and books in the different library catalogues and databases and via BASE there are found an ORSTOM (IRD) paper, some articles in Persee and some maps digitized by the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. See further Gallica-Maps of the Kingdom of Kongo.
  • dakar photo*
  • South African postcards, e.g. historic postcards digitized by the University of Pretoria
  • online chapters of one book available in the libraries
  • Bambara (not groundnut)

Conclusion

The integration of BASE into ilissAfrica’s cross search is a big step forward: one search index provides access to a multitude of institutional repositories and Open Access databases. BASE is a brilliant example of the potential of the linked web via standardized interfaces. And it helps to increase the visibility of academic knowledge produced and stored in the South.

______________________________________________________________________

List of the OAI-repositories included:

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On Display: Online mapping, spatial data and geo-referenced information in Kenya and Ushahidi-updates in Africa

In Kenya some new interactive platforms and initiatives visualize and connect spatial data to other forms of data in most innovative ways:

Virtual Kenya

Virtual Kenya is designed to provide improved access to spatial data and mapping technology to allow more Kenyans to use and interact with spatial data in their educational and professional pursuits. This will be accomplished by providing online access to publicly available spatial data sets and by offering users a number of interactive tools and learning resources for exploring these data. Users will be able to view, download, publish, share, and comment on various map-based products. The ultimate goal of Virtual Kenya is to promote increased data sharing and spatial analysis for better decision-making, development planning and education in Kenya, while at the same time demonstrating the potential and use of web-based spatial planning tools.

Initially, the platform will feature maps and information based on Nature’s Benefits in Kenya: An Atlas of Ecosystems and Human Well-Being (“the Atlas”), originally published jointly in 2007 by the World Resources Institute together with the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and the International Livestock Research Institute. The Atlas overlays geo-referenced statistical information on human well-being with spatial data on ecosystems and their services to yield a picture of how land, people, and prosperity are related in Kenya. Since its publication, data and charts from the Atlas have been downloaded regularly from the WRI website, and its online Geographic Information System (GIS) data sets are being used to produce new maps.

Virtual Kenya was implemented by Upande Ltd. Upande focuses on providing services which address problems related to location, direction and destination, with a strong focus on online mapping and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Upande is also involved in developing the ALRMP baseline prototype application for the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands. The company also worked for the African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) to create a single-stop bank of information on animal resources in Africa with a web map for the dissemination of knowledge on animal health, animal production and livestock marketing and trade. Also not online is the E-commerce web map page for SORALO (South Rift Land Owners Association) and ATAGRA (Amboseli Tsavo Group Ranch Association), Group Ranch Associations based in the Maasai Mara and Amboseli ecosystems to boost tourism outside of the conventional parks by making information on hotspots searchable to the world. Upande also offers consultancy in Google Map, OpenStreetMap (OSM), OpenLayers, Mapserver, Geoserver and Geonetworks.

Map Kibera

Map Kibera has produced the first complete free and open map of Kibera. In November 2009, local young people used OpenStreetMap techniques. This included surveying with GPS, and digitization of satellite imagery and paper based annotation with Walking Papers. In April 2010, Map Kibera started two media and local news reporting groups formed to elaborate on information in Kibera. Kibera News Network uses handheld Flip video cameras to record local news and stories and edit videos to post on Youtube and share in the community. To support Map Kibera Erica Hagen and Mikel Maron founded the GroundTruth Initiaive. They aim on using digital story-telling, open data and geographic information for greater influence and representation for marginalized communities.

Voice of Kibera

Voice of Kibera uses Ushahidi software to map local stories and reports onto the Kibera map, and serve as a local information hub. This citizen reporting project is an initiative of Map Kibera. Voice of Kibera aims to give collective global voice to Kibera residents by aggregating local citizen reports, Kibera community media and other relevant news and information.

Kenya Open Data

The goal of opendata.go.ke is to make core government development, demographic, statistical and expenditure data available in a useful digital format for researchers, policymakers, ICT developers and the general public. Includes e.g. high quality national census data, government expenditure, parliamentary proceedings and public service locations. There are maps to start exploring, interactive charts and tables for a deeper understanding, and raw data for technical users to build their own apps and analyses.

RCMRD

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) was established in Nairobi, Kenya, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union. It is an inter-governmental organization and currently has 18 contracting Member States in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regions. Its vision is to be a centre of excellence in the provision of Geo-Information and Information Technology applications in Africa and beyond.

Further virtual maps

  • AfricaMap is housed at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University
  • websites with individual maps or with collections of maps in ilissAfrica

Ushahidi-Updates

Many new Ushahidi-sites have been started since my first Blog post from March 2011 “On Display: Crowdsourcing with Ushahidi – the social and political relevance of the interactive web“:

Liberia:

  • Peace Building Office of the Republic of Liberia.
  • Liberia’s Early-Warning and Response Network (LERN)
  • Liberia Elections 2011 – live Ushahidi election monitoring website
  • compare also Ushahidi Liberia as a non-profit tech company that customise free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping in Liberia.

Benin:

  • Violence Against Children project – Plan Benin uses Ushahidi to map reports of violence against children in Benin. Children, youth and even adults can use SMS to send in reports on violence against children. The goal is to both collect information about the forms and occurrences of violence as well as to strengthen local and national capacity in participating countries to respond to violence against children. It is hoped that the information collected can also serve to shape programs and budgets dedicated to ending this harmful practice.

Nigeria:

Zimbabwe:

  • The National Association of NGOs in Zimbabwe (NANGO) has launched a social service delivery campaign in Harare for residents to speak on problems they are facing in their neighborhood.

Zambia:

  • BantuWatch – platform that allows citizens and civil society to monitor and report incidences around the electoral process in 2011.

South Africa:

Egypt:

  • HARASSmap – a system in Egypt for reporting incidences of sexual harassment via SMS messaging.

Morocco:

  • Moroccans are participating in election monitoring on Marsad.ma (Marsad, in Arabic, means Observatory).

Please add more innovative sites with spatial data as comments on this article!