This article will show how the internet has served to make media and entertainment a global interactive process. No longer is it simply the big Hollywood movies and Microsoft games studios that provide entertainment to a passive world market. Nor is this entertainment, news, and media simply consumed by the third world without questioning the motives and underlying cultural hegemony. Improved access to global news, media, social media, and entertainment has made for a more demanding global public.
In an age of data and information sharing like never before, everyone can access and engage with mainstream entertainment on a global scale. As well as the specific niche entertainment online that suits their tastes. Across Africa, there has been a number of societal changes that the internet has brought about, and one of the main aspects of these changes in the media and entertainment sector.
Africa and the internet
Over the last decade, the constant argument has been that Africa would be the next frontier for the internet. The benefits and developments that would be heralded by such growth and development would surpass anything seen before. They included the spread of mobile banking, What’s App, digital chat, access to education, and e-commerce. From streaming live English Football, watching Netflix movies, and playing the slots at Spin Palace the internet makes access to online entertainment possible for all, no matter where we are. Many of these developments have begun, and although not all are visible and obvious in Rwanda, it is clear that the entertainment sector has been one of the major benefactors of the spread and development of internet connectivity across the continent.
Adding to the global entertainment repository
No longer are Africans only passive viewers and consumers of media and entertainment that has been created and developed in the first world. Technology and information sharing make for a much more interactive process. From African movies such as the recent movie ‘Father’s Day’ by the renowned Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza, YouTube channels, gamers and developers, social media influencers, they are all providing a means for Africa and Rwanda specifically to market themselves on a global scale.
There is a need for further support from the government, private donors, and international entertainment giants to sustain these developments. As part of the global move towards more diverse entertainment and a more realistic worldview, it is incumbent on the African entertainment sector to do their bit. Make the magic that the rest of the world wants to watch, play, and interact with, and the internet can be used to spread this entertainment around the globe. The internet not only brings with it development but will allow us to develop the world as we share what is ours in a learning and enjoyment process that is multidirectional.
It is now up to us Africans as to what we put out on the global stage and how we choose to market ourselves. The internet and its’ development have been a major economic, cultural and social stimulus for the African continent, and Rwanda is also able to begin to see the benefits of this improvement. The entertainment sector is one that will provide for both consumers and producers with an opportunity like never seen before.