“[G]ive her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days.”
“‘The poor poet has not in these days, nor has had for two hundred years, a dog’s chance… a poor child in England has little more hope than had the son of an Athenian slave to be emancipated into that intellectual freedom of which great writings are born.’ That is it. Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
I loved a lot of our sessions at AfriSIG this year. Some of them were topics I was rather familiar with, the effectiveness of multi stakeholderism and the internet gender gap, for instance. One morning, two days before the end of the programme, we were having an early morning discussion about access to the internet and how various structural and infrastructural barriers prevented many Africans today from being able to access the internet and how precarious the entire situation was.
The conversation then listed to, I suppose, productivity and sensible uses of what access we do have, with one of the fellows lamenting that even when young people did have access to the internet, it was frequently misused, with employees at the office downloading movies and playing games rather than other more enriching activities.
This, he noted, had led to internet access at his place of work being limited to the technical team. I thought about the subjectivity of the term “productive” and the creative value of play and privately disagreed.
Image: By Markus Spiske via Unsplash.com