#iSPEAK: CREATIVITY SUBVERTED – From commercial pop to political protests

The use of social media to uplift voices and stories, create awareness, and build and strengthen relationships creates a space for organisations, activists, and citizens to demand justice. Many social justice campaigns have benefited from the involvement of celebrities who have used their large social media following to amplify social justice issues. Zimbabwean filmmaker Takunda Mafundikwa’s video presentation illustrates how recent social justice campaigns like #FeesMustFall and #EndSARS have gained traction from the involvement of celebrities like Drake, Burna Boy and others. He narrates how a new generation with a steely resolve has emerged who are ready to challenge the status quo. Takunda speaks with youthful activists Ethiopia’s Lily Workneh and Zimbabwean Nyasha Musandu about how social media has made people connect on issues that matter, and how it has been become a point of convergence for online activism and offline grassroots mobilisation.

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The iSPEAK platform acts as a collective space for advocacy on media freedom, artistic freedom, academic freedom, the right to protest, the right to association and, importantly, access to information which is integral to all these rights. Here we’ll interrogate existing narratives on free expression issues from different perspectives; talk about representation and inclusion in and through the media – still a powerful agenda setter with enormous capacity to influence the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. This platform will host discussions, exhibitions, undertake and present research on topical issues, facilitate calls to action and joint advocacy to advance the right to free expression in all its dimensions in the most inclusive manner possible.

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