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Crossing Borders: Sub-Saharan Communities of Care & Resistance · Disruptive Fridays #9


Sharlotte Kigezo, Peter Nkanga, Jedi Ramalapa, Magnus Ag, Lieke Ploeger


Disruption Network Lab





Global. That is the definition and the reality of a pandemic. Yet, most attention and resources are confined by human made borders. Hosted in collaboration with Bridge Figures, Disruptive Fridays #9 connects with creative and activist communities in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to learn and share about responses relevant to local and global communities.

• Sharlotte Kigezo (Psychologist, KY/UG)
• Peter Nkanga (Journalist & campaigner, NG)
• Jedi Ramalapa (Broadcast journalist, ZA)
• Moderated by Magnus Ag (Bridge Figures, DK) and Lieke Ploeger (Disruption Network Lab, NL/DE).

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, an overwhelming amount of news and data has been flooding us. The media coverage seems to focus on the national and hyperlocal situation – while we are dealing with a global pandemic. This conversation focuses on the response of Sub-Saharan Africa to the coronavirus outbreak, and features some of the people that work on creating a conversation around COVID-19 – one that can contribute to a more global understanding of what we are all facing.

Jedi Ramalapa is a South African broadcast journalist. She is the current Editor-In-Chief of a non-profit podcasting organisation, Sound Africa; which aims to produce original narrative (audio) journalism which upends the stereotypes and cliches about Africa and Africans. She also hosts Sound Africa’s newest weekly podcast series Covid-In-Africa, looking at the African response to COVID-19 and how it’s affecting people on the ground. She addresses the impact of the pandemic on human rights.

Peter Nkanga is an independent multilingual investigative journalist based in Abuja, Nigeria . He is the former West Africa Representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and specializes in human rights and advocacy reporting. A fierce advocate for press freedom, Peter Nkanga has been at the forefront of the campaign for the rights of journalists in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, he was awarded the “Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism” for his work. He shares more on how the virus outbreak has affected public procurement, the process of governments and state-owned corporations deciding which goods, services and works to spend public funds on.

Sharlotte Ainebyoona Kigezo is a psychologist, mental health advocate and spoken word artist based between Kenya and Uganda. She is passionate about mental health and community-based programs that build for a strong mental and physical foundation for the society. Sharlotte has been instrumental in facilitating trauma healing programs for refugee communities and art therapy programs for the creative and arts community. This being on the basis of mental health and factors that act as triggers to mental health like experiencing traumatic events (civil or cross-border wars, sexual assault, cyber bullying). She discusses how we can best address mental health issues in these times, following her recent work with both refugee and artist communities on mental health awareness and forms of online therapy.

Magnus Ag is a human rights advocate, journalist, and researcher. He is the founder & director of Bridge Figures – a human rights organization that scales the potential of artists, activists, journalists & other agents of social change to build bridges and break walls in a data-driven world. Based between Hong Kong and Berlin, he previously worked with Copenhagen-based Freemuse — which defends the right to artistic freedom worldwide — and in New York as the Assistant Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Magnus serves on Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought’s advisory committee for the project The Politics of Visual Art in a Changing World, is an advisor to Avant-Garde Lawyers, and a proud member of PEN Hong Kong.

Lieke Ploeger is the community director and administration officer of the Disruption Network Lab. She is the co-founder of the independent project space SPEKTRUM art science community, where she worked as community builder from 2014 to 2018. Her core interest lies in building and developing both online and offline communities of interest, with a focus on sharing knowledge and expertise in an open way. She previously worked for the Open Knowledge Foundation and for the National Library of the Netherlands. She has a double master of arts from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands and has been involved in various European research projects in the areas of open cultural data, open access and open science.

Photo Courtesy of the organisation

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