Well well well. An idea I casually seeded in my brief time in Maputo has taken on a fantastic life of its own. This wall, which is the outer wall of the @ Verdade newspaper, has been turned into the “Wall of the People”. (The original inspiration came from Candy Chang’s “Before I Die…” project in New Orleans.)
After a very frontal and comical open and signed letter to the mayor of Maputo, and after the newspaper today began pasting up a copy for passers-by to read all week… lo and behold… the neighbors came with the police to register their outrage.
I actually wonder whether the complaint was about the unpleasant notion of having people stopped on the sidewalk and doing that ever-subversive thing: reading. Or whether it was about having colorful messages scrawled on the wall in black and white.
The idea of the Wall was to create a permanent and offline space for readers to read (simple) and to comment (simple). In a sense, an offline Facebook wall. (The newspaper’s Facebook wall is a vibrant space for debate and comment but those who are offline do not have this opportunity.)
As one reader said
[The Wall of the People] should have a small Facebook symbol, it would be an interesting satire of the extension or democratization of spaces for sharing of knowledge and information.
So, I would like to a propose a solution that will satisfy all parties.
The Newspaper will immediately cease and desist from its Wall project if the neighbors pay for 100,000 Blackberrys to get the newspaper’s readership fully online where they can read online and comment on Facebook.