Tanzanian born Kathleen Bomani, better known as Kate Bomz on the internets, is a blunt force to be reckoned with and connector of all people and ideas African. She has gained a strong following via her highly popular tumblr blog, but it is her frank and unapologetic pursuit of the African truth and the dispersal of that truth to all that has gained her over 2,500 twitter followers.
It was only fitting that AfriPOP! profile this firecracker for our inaugural profile of Africans who are successfully building social media brands for themselves.
Real Name: Kathleen Bomani Web Name: Kate Bomz
Where are you from/live: I am from the Harbour of ‘peace’: Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; and I live in the city of Murals: Philadelphia!
Places to find you online: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Okay Africa, Pambazuka, and LinkedIN.
Best Known for: I am best known for my commitment & passion to everything #Africa whether it be art, politics, fashion, culture, music, human rights, history. But it doesn’t stop with Africa, it also includes the hustle of NYC & Philly, and D.C’s political vibe. I like to be in the “know”, which I bring a sarcastic, brashness and candidness to.
When and how did you enter the social media game?
Initially, my intentions for being on social sites was to stay in contact with friends and family near and far. First it was Myspace, where I was known as ‘The Intellectual Black Seed’ aka my introduction to rudimentary ‘html coding’ and preferred it to Hi-5. To keep up with my college buddies, I then went on to join “The Facebook” at its inception in 2004. I have been on Twitter since the spring of 2009.
How has it helped grow your brand?
Interestingly, I didn’t start out with the idea of creating a “brand” so to say. I just started putting my ideas and interests, along with that of others out there for people to read and comment on. The brand has somewhat evolved on it’s own and it continuing to develop through the people I meet and events I am apart of.
There is one guarantee with me: I speak my mind and appreciate those who do the same. I use Twitter the most; I take it seriously and it has connected me to the most amazing like-minded people on earth. It has opened me up to different points of views and has definitely accelerated my learning, which is at the forefront of who I am and what I want for others.
What is your message?
Be bonafide, be yourself, be unapologetic, collaborate! And yes please tweet in your native language! 70% of Africans are under 30, realize the potential! I am an advocate for Africans telling their stories, a slayer of the homogeneity + monolithic tumorous tales of my continent at any given moment. I learn something new daily & I share it with my tweeps. Each 1, Teach 1. My audience started out as primarily African, but it has evolved to include non-Africans. My heart is strongly attached to African people and I believe they should firmly learn about where they are from and their neighbours, as I am learning as well.
So yes, I do focus on Africans and I am targeting them, however I must say it is very refreshing when I pick up the unintended. It warms my heart. Essentially we are all connected.
If you could have one person follow you on Twitter who would it be?
If you could have one person join Twitter who would it be?
Easy: My father!
Who should every African be following right now?
@Anddiswa @pambazuka @Kenyanpundit @globalvoices @rakeshrajani @saharareporters @andrewmenda @tmsruge
What is the role of social media in the “Africa” conversation?
- As a tool to Regulate-We can regulate and form the basis of the correct and nuanced conversation about Africa. (see ANOTHER BAD AID IDEA FOR AFRICA)
- As a tool to Collaborate - Social media’s role in the conversation is fostering ties between Africans with similar interests empty of social creed, gender or nationality. It brings to me personally a sort of a contemporary pan-Africanism movement of sorts. Africans are connecting and collaborating. (see #TLTafrica )
- As a tool to create Awareness on different issues-(be it Heroin addiction in Zanzibar or climate change)
- As a tool to mobilize the masses for a cause (see Vote or Quench)
- As a tool to monitor and track (see UsahidiLiberia or #DRC2011)
- But we MUST be wary of overly exaggerated expectations of social media, mobile telephony + other forecasts ( see Turning Cellphones Into Mobile Microscopes and Urbanization of Africa exaggerated). Not that I am not a believer but sometimes when it sounds too good to be true..well you know the rest.
Who is benefiting most from the rise of Africans on social media sites?
The planet! For the world that was “starved” with poverty porn thanks to Geldof, Bono and the like. We are here to shape the narrative and contribute to a global conversation (that often excludes us). I believe the whole global community benefits but most of all, us Africans.
Follow Katebomz on twitter
AfriPOP! socialite is a weekly feature that introduces you to the internet’s socially prominent Africans. Not backed by a brand or organization, these are individuals who have used the internet to connect with fellow Africans to spread and discuss fresh ideas and thoughts on all this Africa. There words are their message, their personality is their brand —the AfriPOP! socialite