Oyunga Pala and Bart Luirink

Sense making in the time of corona

The Corona virus rages through the world and affects us all. Almost everywhere, people are in a state of readiness and doing everything in their power to protect themselves and their loved ones. The lack of vaccines and medication is cause for great uncertainty. Economies falter. A state of job insecurity and food scarcity—an ever existing daily reality for millions—is now also prevalent in a once prosperous world. Health facilities are buckling under great pressure. Public life is paralysed, often as a result of conscious citizenship and a shared sense of responsibility, sometimes under the influence of authoritarian and repressive sentiments that drive those in power.

With the same speed as the virus, information and disinformation spreads through the channels of our media. Reliable information has never been more crucial—a vital necessity in uncertain times. Equally evident is the need to overcome the great divisions that rule the world in the current situation. Breaking down the walls and boundaries between ‘here’ and ‘there’, between ‘them’ and ‘us’. We were living in a divided and unequal world Before Corona. How do we build new, more equitable societies from the challenges and scars of the old?


Progressive journalists, writers, thinkers and researchers have a special responsibility. The international networks that exist in these sectors can greatly assist in identifying grassroots experiences and analysis that benefit all. To create the building blocks of an ecosystem of new ideas. It’s not about finding a one-size-fix-all solution—we need to map out a diversity of  genuine and reliable ideas. We need to recognize from the ashes of an ever-spewing volcano of information, the elements that will take us to new ground.

Our platforms, The Elephant (Nairobi) and ZAM Magazine (Amsterdam), are in touch with a modest worldwide network. We are in contact with creatives, researchers and thinkers in African countries and the diaspora, but also in countries in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. Today, we are asking you to assist in expanding our network and in our daily search for credible sources of interest. Please bring creative ideas and experiences in any format to our attention and, if possible, summarise essentials in English. We will make them part of our research and share them with our constituencies and partners in this project.


From today, our platforms will build an alliance of like-minded people and partners worldwide to share these stories. We will help to offer tangible alternatives where there is the greatest conceivable mistrust of the media or those in power.

Please mail us your findings!

Oyunga Pala, curator-in-chief The Elephant, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bart Luirink, editor-in-chief ZAM Magazine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*This call is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence. This means that our content can be republished by other publications, without editing the copy.