“It’s Digital- your time is over old man”
Hi all this is Chris and Liz again from the FoRel Action Research Project based at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Stockholm University Sweden and collaborating with Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo Mozambqiue and World Conservation Society in Mombasa Kenya. I’m Liz sitting at the Resilience Centre.
FoRel stands for Forum theatre and Relational, two of the approaches the project is taking. The project will carry out forum theatre, a type of participatory theatre created to get the audience involved and empower them. The project is relational, a perspective which emphasizes that relations are more important than units, that everything unfolds or comes about from relations and experiences, never static.
And I’m Chris at WCS in Mombasa Kenya. This FoRel project is about understanding and exploring people’s daily practises and relationships in the changing tropical coastlines of the western indian ocean. One of the major changes that coastal groups face is obviously climate change, so the project takes a special interest in the impacts and challenges it presents.
So today we will be telling you a short story from the story series “Tales of Change from Kwale Coast”, which we introduced in the last podcast- you can find that on spotify or on the website forumrelational.org. Just to highlight that the short stories in this series have emerged from the fieldwork data in Coastal Kenya- so interviews and discussions with different types of actors in 2019, like traderwomen, tradermen, retailers, fishers, food sellers, petty vendors. We have tended to not change the words or phrasing too much from the transcripts but just arranged them into a story structure. So each story has a main character(s), a background of the cause/the cause of the conflictual issue, a conflict itself, resolutions and obstacles (if any).
We pulled apart these stories to try and organize complexity a little bit, but obviously they are all intertwined, not only with each other but with the perceptions of climate and environmental change, the rich expressions of sentiments and motivations with daily practises and relationships and also the temporal aspect which runs throughout the data- the practises of the past, the experiences of change and the hopes for future practises. The story today excludes the problems associated with climate and environmental change because this is how they were presented in the data to us. We will present them in other short stories.
Here we go with the story…….
“It’s Digital- your time is over old man”. This little story acts as a red thread in our fieldwork results, or as people see a driver of the changes and resulting conflicts they are seeing. It is also a hope or a goal to move towards in terms of practise e.g. fishing and farming. A lot of hopes and expectations for the future are based on becoming materially modern
There is a word that has so many answers, the word is digital. When the youth don’t respect the traditions, like helping the old man with his luggage, they say it’s digital, with such a word it’s over. Digital, let me do what I want. Even if I wear underwear or a bikini and walk around half naken, just leave me alone, it’s digital! Your time is over old man, you are out of fashion. This word has a lot of power
The digital world has given out big opportunities to the children of today. Currently we are in a digital period, things are easier, we have solar energy, we have touch screen phones. But the word digital is posing big challenges. Pupils can insult their teachers with no actions taken. Some parents may not even be called father, but by nicknames. When the government brings certain rules, that a parent should not cane, the government contributes to the bad behaviour, the lack of discipline today. These are digital things they say! It brings screens to all of them, they can access porn in this way. European things. Phones help girls to go and meet their boyfriends, they interact on whats app, facebook. Watching dirty clips and photos, then they go and do the practise. These are the digital generation, so with early pregnancy there are chances of the boy denying it.
We need modern farming methods. In the past they were using traditional pesticides, but currently they cant use them because they are educated, but we cant afford modern pesticides, that’s the problem, we are in a digital world. We are learned. In the past our grandparents were the poorest but they could get higher harvest, but we, digital, dot com, and all intelligence we have, we get low harvest. What is wrong, what is happening? Modern children do not want to be engaged in farming. We do it alone, we the parents. They see the benefits of farming, at the end of the day they see cassava due to our effort, but they do not want to farm. We are in the digital era mother, that what they claim, farming is a past activity.
This is the digital era so the traditional ways of fishing are not getting fish. Our gears have retarded our development. In Lamu they have sea gear that beat the strong winds and goes deep sea for large fish, they can fish all year round. Our guys can’t take us more than 50km, even after a whole day. Our grandparents used these gears and they got fish, but not today, these are digital. The skills that we learned are analog not digital, this is dot com and we are still using traditional methods, we are lagging behind. We are still using canoes without engines, they are not safe and have low catch.
From Kenyatta (the first President of Kenya) to Moi (the Second) to Kibaki (the Third), Kibaki said Tuendelee (Swahili for Lets go!), and we are moving on like that. Things are digital!
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