The Badilisha Poetry X-Change was recently featured on CNN’s “African Voices program.
We have a rich oral tradition and it’s important that we document what is happening in history poetry-wise,” she [Linda Kaoma, a member of the Badilisha team] explains. “Africa has a history of a lack of documentation and we really didn’t want this to happen to our poets.”
Kaoma, 29, is part of the team behind the Badilisha Poetry X-Change, the largest online archive of African poetry, accessible via mobile phone, in the world.
Following an overhaul of the site last year, Badilisha relaunched in September, making its immersive archive accessible to a broader international following through a “mobile-first” site.
It’s a shrewd move on a continent where mobile phones have revolutionized critical sectors such as education, healthcare and agriculture. Adoption of mobile phone use has been prolific in Africa with mobile data services going from strength to strength. Seven out of 10 mobile users in sub-Saharan Africa use their phones to browse the web, according to a recent report from Ericsson. Elsewhere, a study by analyst firm Ovum predicted in November that “mobile broadband connections in Africa are set to rise from 96 million in 2013 to 950 million to cover 77.3% of all mobile subscriptions in the continent by the end of 2019.”
To date, the project has collected almost 400 African poets from 31 countries in Africa and across the diaspora, in 14 different languages. Since the relaunch, users are able to navigate the site through a myriad of options including by theme, poet, country, language, emotion or by their “Top 10” list, a popular feature curated by a guest poet each month.
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Direct to Badilisha Poetry X-Change
The database is searchable and can also be browsed:
- Top 10 Curated Lists
- Latest Additions