Recently there’s been an upsurge of South African blogs by Muslims, mostly young Muslim women. Suddenly blogs are popping up all over the place and it seems like it’s ‘the new in-thing’. While I am glad that South African’s have finally decided to take to this platform to voice their opinions and share their views, the downside is that some of the blogs out there leave me a bit ill at ease.
First let me discuss my observations of this new blogging trend, then you can understand my reservations in context. Strangely most of these new blogs have taken on the nature of a fictional story. This is great, I have no problem with this, and how can I take up issue with this when I myself have found fiction to be a wonderful means of getting important discussions out there. The problem for me is that the emphasis in most of these blogs seems to be on ROMANCE and LOVE.
Now again, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, many bloggers out there are writing as a means of entertainment and we all know that nothing sells better than a good old romantic love story. I just find that a fictional blog story would've been the perfect move away from typical television programmes- that is if it didn't decide to adopt the very ideas and images of the American television shows we are all so easily taken by.
I personally think it would've been much better to stick to our roots and tell a South African story, because that is after all who we are. While there are a few blogs which attempt to tell a purely South African story, the majority have managed to intermingle South African and American ideas to such an extent that the story seems hard to place within a South African context and it very closely mimics television shows like ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘ 90210’ and the likes of it.
Many commenters on these blogs make it clear that if you don’t like what you are reading then it’s simple, just don’t read! Which of course is the most logical way to go about it, except that I have continued to read these blogs and probably will continue, because it gives me insight into what our people are thinking and the framework from which they function. And because admittedly I am a story addict and my addiction threshold for stories is very low.
Nonetheless, just as I was beginning to think that every blog I read is almost like the other, I got invited to read a new blog, and I must say this gives me hope that diverse thinking and unique story telling still does exist. This blog has managed to capture the perfect combination of seriousness and humour, while shedding light on issues that have affected us all or continue to affect us. It’s a brilliant read and definitely an educational experience. But since I always like to encourage people to form their own opinions, don’t take my word for it, please go and check it out for yourselves, the link is below:
Let me end by saying that I am still glad that South Africans and specifically South African Muslims have taken to blogging, it’s a brave thing on its own to put your writing out there and open it up to all sorts of comments and criticisms. However, I still believe that as South African’s we have a rich heritage and a unique perspective and the pseudo-American writing that has emerged does not do justice to this at all. I encourage bloggers to keep blogging, but do it on your own terms, please do not use Americanised television programmes as your frame of reference, create your own frame of reference, use unique experiences, focus on themes other than love and romance, create characters that do not match the typical blue-eyed, light haired, dreamy good looking ones, and use this platform to change minds and ideas. Love and romance may attract readers, but is this really the way to leave your mark?