Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ethiopian Airlines flies into Cameroon's blog-o-sphere

Last Saturday, June 14th 2014, more than a dozen Cameroonian bloggers and business executives met at White House Restaurant at Bonapriso Douala marshaled together by the inspirational Adeline Sede founder and CEO of Fabafriq magazine and under the sponsorship of Ethiopian Airlines Cameroon for a very first symbiotic relationship. I arrived there at 5:00 PM when the occasion had just kicked off and was surprised by the number of people present. Bloggers busy on their laptops, camera lights flashing and people socializing quietly with the intention of getting to know each other better. The goal of the occasion was to encourage Cameroonian Entrepreneurs to use digital technology, social media; blogs, twitter and Facebook to advertise their services and products since the world is fluxing rapidly to an online one right now. In the words of Monique kwachou, founder of the Moniquemusings blog, “today’s advertising should not be limited to billboards enticing us to crane our necks, or the flyers which I'm sure gets on the nerves of our Green Advocates, we have the social media, we have the bloggers. Let’s meet them locally and use them.” 

More and more people devote a lot of time to screen time so why can’t advertisers hit them with their stuff right there? They’ll read them. It’s a point well understood by business exec Adeline Sede, CEO of FabAfriq magazine who made sure that Ethiopian Airlines Cameroon organized a Kamer bloggers hangout to meet the local bloggers and most importantly use them in advertising. And who was there to throw in support for the event? Country manager of Ethiopian Airlines Cameroon, Madame Jaego and members of her staff. There was also an aesthetics expert Irene Azong-Wara of Ferb-Mart who is so passionate about hair and female beauty whom I had an interesting conversation with. I recommended a reading of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s most recent work, “Americanah” a thickish 477 page novel about love, hair and African Immigrant experience which I’d read in January and she went “Ooooh I’ll read it” being a big Chimzi fan herself.
Kmer bloggers in their blogosphere blogging it out 
The blogosphere consisted of Cirrus clouds like Elodie of, stratus clouds like Monique kwachou of, Cumulus clouds like Clifford Ako of Wasamundi, Tchassa kamga of, the founder of Tiptopstars whose name I missed, myself (Writerphilic) and a few others whose blog names I couldn’t catch. The blog sharing experiences began with presentations from a couple of bloggers in the blogosphere. Monique talked about the origins of blogging and about discipline. She disciplines herself by setting a target of one blog post per month. Another presenter started by applauding the efforts of all bloggers because it’s such a selfless thing which we don’t get paid for and coupled with our nyamangoro congo meat snail slow internet speed in Cameroon, bloggers are really doing incredible things. He stated that social media has super power and cited a perfect example. Stanley Enow’s win at the MTV Africa music awards was one born purely out of social media super power. Stanley faced tough competition from four other nominees especially Nigerian artistes Phyno and Burna boy. Most of the award was decided by public voting. Now we all know how Nigerians rally behind their own. So how does Stanley rally his base of 20 million Cameroonians to vote for him and beat Phyno and Burna boy’s bases of 160 million Nigerians each to the prize? Mission impossible? However, Stanley and his team went on a rigorous daily voting campaign on social media and even got himself signed to a company to promote his online digital presence. And before we knew it, we had put aside the “Jovi vs Stanley Enow who is better argument” and voted for Mr. Hein Pere. Add that to his fan base from West Francophone Africa and France and baaam he won. 

Cameroonian entrepreneurs could do same to promote their businesses beginning with the bloggers and “twitterers” and facebookers. (Young Cameroonians with wrting skills and passion in chaumencam, this is for you.) Elodie talked about her blog which is done generally from the tourism angle and how to build an audience. She said the blogger has to be passionate about what they do and blog constantly with interesting material. If it’s good, readers will always come back to it. Tchassa talked about sharing the blog to different blogger circles and network with others to grow the audience. Some endorsed Kongossa, gossip. (You’ll want to read who 2face is having baby number eight with from a blog rather than reading that he won an award. The latter is easily on popular news.) What I personally use on my blog to make people come back is a lot of humour, creativity and a little madness. And your grammar has to be cool (don’t bazor. Don’t say “Christ has rise”, na yeast?) and good editing before posting. The brain behind Wasamundi, Mr. Clifford Ako also threw more light on his work and how they add up all local businesses on Wasamundi such that, if you are anywhere in the country and need to find any popular spot you don’t know; restaurant, popular hair saloon, hotel etc just hit up Wasamundi, search what you want and baaam there you have it.

Ethiopian Airlines Package: While we dined, the Ethiopian Airlines staff including the Country Manager Madame Jaego stole the show with presentations of their mouth watering offers with “Singapore all expenses paid holiday trip to the best blogger about Ethiopian Airlines” being the climax. 

Adeline Sede (left) founder of Fabafriq magazine. Madame Jaego (right) Country Manager of Ethiopian Airlines Cameroon

Right, I don’t like Singapore. Hehe, na lie oh! Okay, being the airport guy who works with different airlines including Ethiopian Airlines itself, I can say without any propaganda that they’re on top of the game (no Singapore flattery). 
Blogger Nkiacha Atemnkeng working on an Ethiopian Airlines flight (ET 905)to Malabo and Addis Ababa

Here’s a little insight about Ethiopia and ET. Ethiopia’s language is Amharic but the people also speak English. Ethiopian Airlines is the oldest airline in Africa having started in 1945. After operating in Cameroon in the seventies, they left in 1985 and returned in 2003 to resume operations and in just eleven years have turned things around to become the biggest air carrier here and in Africa. That is well summarized in their slogan, “The New Spirit of Flying in Africa.” Ethiopian Airlines flies to over eighty destinations worldwide and boast of the biggest Boeing airplane in the world, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. ET has three African hubs; Addis Ababa, Lome and Lilongwe. Their airport hotels in Addis and the other hubs enable their passengers to spend the night comfortably while in transit and not a hard airport bench. But to visit the city for a few hours while waiting for a connecting flight, you’ll need an Ethiopian transit visa. 

Ethiopian offers a medical package which slashes off 25% from your medical expenses. And if you feel you need some VIP treatment, their Sheba Miles Package offers that. You can travel in Business Class, Gold and Silver Premium with access to the VIP lounges, no queuing on those long annoying check-in lines etc. What’s more? The more miles you earn on each Economy class trip on your Ethiopian flights, the more they will be summed up and you could still benefit from the Gold and Silver packages depending on how far you have travelled. Ethiopia is one of the easiest places to travel to in Africa. The Ethiopian Airlines Town office in Bonanjo, Douala can follow up your Ethiopian Visa application and book for your ticket or e-ticket if you like (20% discount here) and even check you in online. And what’s the tourist Visa fee to Ethiopia? A jaw dropping twenty five US dollars only! Only twelve Nkolo. Compare that to the 50 US dollars or more required by other African countries. And north of 100 US dollars for Asian countries.
ET 905: Boarding

Tourist Attraction: All the amazing offers are in an effort to market Ethiopia as a tourist destination in its Ethiopian Holidays campaign. Everyone knows that the sprawling Addis Ababa is the capital city of the African Union right? And it is one of the fastest developing African cities. But ever heard of Kuriftu Resort and Spa? You can check it out at Wallop me on the head if you don’t find it impressive. Want to hit them up? Direct contacts to the Ethiopian staff right here o Tel +237 73350059 Tel +237 77937929

The award winning airline has partnered with some hotels, resorts and tourist attractions in Kuriftu termed “Ethiopia’s little gem” to offer amazing holiday discounts to attract tourists from all over the world. In the ancient town of Sheba, you’ll find small size Gaza like pyramids and exquisite age old stone work. And did you know? The Queen in the bible who visited King Solomon with difficult questions was the queen of Sheba. She was so impressed by King Solomon’s wisdom and by his fine boy looks and charms that King Solomon got her pregnant. She returned to Sheba and gave birth to a son, Ibn-al-malik. Through him a bloodline of half Jews was brought forth in Ethiopia called the Ethiopian jews from the Ethiopian Solomonic dynasty.

Ethiopia is also where one of the world’s oldest hominid skeletons, Lucy was found. It helped to trace the evolution of man from its early ape like forms thus cementing Ethiopia’s status as the cradle of humankind. Lucy is estimated to be 3.2 million years old. (Abeg bible scholars don't wallop me on the head.) I know the world is 4000 years old sha! Na science talk that other one nobi me. Furthermore, the Rastafarians worship deceased Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie 1 as Jah, god. 

And Ethiopian marathon athletes like Haile Gebreselassie (no confusion with the emperor) and Tirunesh Dibaba are superstar gold winning Olympians on the global athletics stage. Multiple Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebreselassie is the symbol of Ethiopian Airlines. And you would not want to forget the amazing story of Ethiopia’s first super star Olympic gold medalist, Abebe Bikila. During the 1960 Olympic games final in Rome, he wasn’t running to full capacity because his shoes didn’t fit him well, so he took off the damn white people’s thing on his feet called “shoes” and ran like a cheetah to victory. So wouldn’t you like to visit that beautiful country for just…Oh my God! Twenty five US dollars? But some advice, abeg, wear your shoes oh! Before you go to Kufitu. But, even if you don't wear shoes, the place is so cool you wouldn't even notice it. Want me to leave you with some breathtaking shots of Kuriftu? Right here, below y'all