Stage 6
17:15 - 18:15
LOL – Laugh Out Loud! African Political Satire

Short thesis

Political satire in Africa is blooming. A growing number of satirists of the continent produce TV and internet-shows, write sketches, blogs and draw cartoons. Because it uses humor satire can survive in plain sight for a long time and thus is possible in even the most restricting political contexts and closing civic spaces. It engages people – especially the youth – and makes the often depressing reality a little more endurable. Furthermore, satire informs as much as it entertains and provides an alternative narrative of political participation and information. Often it finds its audience through social media – especially through blogs, twitter, WhatsApp and facebook.


One example for this new momentum of satire in Africa is the fictitious newscast “Zambezi News” from Zimbabwe, which reaches millions of Africans in no time via WhatsApp and youtube. Created in 2011 by Samm Farai Monro (aka Jerome Weathers) and Tongai Makawa (Mandape Mandape) Zambezi News hilariously deals with everything from race to culture to politics to sport.

Others, like East-African Cartoonist and co-producer of the “XYZ-Show”, Godfrey “Gado” have a long standing in the satirical world of their countries. Gado is the most syndicated political cartoonist in East and Central Africa, and – until his dismissal last month – has worked for Kenya’s Daily Nation since 1992.

With her hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar the 23 year old blogger Siyanda Mohutsiwa from Botswa-na/Swaziland made international news and is until today illustrating how humor can inspire a whole satirical world of ordinary Twitter-user in just 140 characters.

In this session, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung wants to introduce you to the works of these satirist and discuss questions of cultural activisms, freedom of opinion and the chances and obstacles of new technologies.