Is Africa’s Future Online?


Shiyanda Mohutsiwa is a writer from Botswana. She describes herself as pan-African, the child of Botswana (her father) and Swaziland (her mother). Here she describes her journey from the slow realization of her multi-faceted Africanness to the success of her twitter movement — #ifAfricawasabar.The movement was inspired by Shiyanda’s own personal experience, her travels in Africa, her readings of African intellectuals and the dawning realization that, “many Africans know even less about other Africans that some Europeans do about Africa as a whole.” This lack of mutual awareness is not purely the result of ignorance; the African continent has a history of oppressive regimes that flourished on their citizen’s lack of awareness about other ways of being African.

Siyanda Mohutsiwa is a writer and satirist from Botswana. Mohutsiwa, also known as Siyanda-Panda, wondered how Africans would behave in a bar, so she started the hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar. The idea was for Africans to speak to one another in a “lighthearted, non-hateful sort of way.” The hashtag went viral, with continued demands for Mohutsiwa leading the way with her own tweet:

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at