Science journalism makes its mark in Dakar

Adding colour: Diran Onifade and Armand Faye

Adding colour: Diran Onifade and Armand Faye

One of the pleasures for a European visitor attending a conference in Africa is the colourful clothes that many delegates occasionally choose to wear — a welcome change from the drabness than usually dominates back in the UK.

Adding to the colour of the proceedings at the 3rd Knowledge Management Africa conference in Dakar this week have two long-standing champions of science journalism in Africa, Diran Onifade from Nigeria, and local science journalist Armand Faye.

Both are active members of the World Federation of Science Journalists, having been actively engaged in finding mentors for young science journalists in Africa. Armand has been one of the pioneers of science journalism in Senegal, which recently set up its own association of science writers.

And Diran is also the chair of the African Federation of Science Journalists, a flourishing body created a couple of years ago whose growing strength reflects the recent resurgence in interest in science — and science journalism — across the continent.

Both express delight — perhaps tinged with surprise — that science journalism appears to be accepted as an important dimension of “knowledge management” in the interests of meeting Africa’s needs.

And Armand also impressed the other delegates with a set of impressive moves as he led the way on to the dance floor at the conference dinner.

Not a typical role for a science journalist, perhaps. But a good reflection of the importance that music plays in life in Senegal.

 David Dickson, SciDev.Net

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