Monday, November 26, 2007

Text2Win against the Zimbabwe government!

Communities Dominate Brand's Tomi Ahonen has asked for FasterFuture's help in spreading the word about the following. I'm delighted to be able to offer it. Their work and creativity is a great example of out-thinking a repressive central regime.

The centre can't keep control in a world of constantly connected communities. SW Radio Africa is demonstrating the shift to a world of 'we' from one of them and us.

And it will continue to do so, with your help.

Tomi: "The Association of International Broadcasters awards ceremony has rewarded a small African radio station, SW Radio Africa, for the most creative marketing concept. But while they are doing wonderful work, this is something that needs immediate and urgent support.

"Briefly, Zimbabwe is a poor African country where the economy has collapsed (latest inflation just during the month of October was 15,000 percent) and the government is very corrupt. And the government censors the media.

"SW Radio Africa is the independent Zimbabwe news source broadcasting on shortwave radio out of neighboring South Africa. Except that now Zimbabwe of course also blocks their radio broadcasts.

"SW Radio Africa decided, if you censor my broadcasts, then I go SMS... (text) Pretty clever by the small radio station where TV is not a viable option and internet/PC penetration is nearly zero. But there are plenty of cheap old second hand mobile phones...

"So SMS. Zimbabweans can't afford even to pay for the SMS. So SW Radio Africa sends the news free to anyone in Zimbabwe who signs up to the service. Over 6,000 have signed up and they are adding 100 new subscribers every day.

"So they don't do advertising (who would advertise to such a devasted economy anyway) but someone has to pay for the SMS. SW Radio Africa asks for sponsors to cover the cost of the SMS transmissions.

"So here is my request. If you think this is a worthy cause, that a free radio station broadcasting news into Zimbabwe is on a good task, and that since they are now blocked by the Zimbabwe government, SMS text messaging is a reasonable alternative to get past the censorship, then please do spread the story. Lets try to find some supporters and further sponsors for SW Radio Africa. Lets get some news and information to the poor devastated people in Zimbabwe."

Their website is

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?