Kingo Magazine | Is humour effective in educating the public?

Kingo magazine covers current Tanzanian topics through a mixture of cartoons and writing, blending serious issues with humor, satire and wit. It is produced by Gaba Africa. Its overall purpose is to provide ordinary Tanzanian citizens with engaging and critical commentary on relevant political and social issues. Kingo was started in 1995 and has been in circulation since. Twaweza has partnered with Gaba Africa since December 2012 to improve the reach and circulation of Kingo, as well as to support the coverage of topics relevant to Twaweza’s work (such as the crisis in education in Tanzania, and the low availability of improved water sources). To increase the reach of Kingo, Gaba Africa developed innovative partnerships with travel companies which operate inter-city buses along major routes of Tanzania. So far, six different issues of Kingo have been printed and distributed across Tanzania in this manner. On a daily basis about 60 magazines are distributed in 70 different buses that depart from Dar es Salaam Ubungo Terminal to various destinations across the country. In total these buses cover about 70% of all bus routes, and with 250,000 copies of each issue distributed on the buses, an estimated 1.5 million people read Kingo this year.

In order to understand whether the potential audience of the magazine like it and feel that it provides useful information, Twaweza left surveys on the buses that were distributed alongside the magazine. We also held a number of focus group discussions with young people in Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

Key Findings

  • Most people preferred the Porojo Live section of the magazine – a comic-book style commentary and report on current issues.
  • In focus group discussions in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Tanzanians reported liking the magazine, appreciating the mix of drawings and cartoons and serious commentary, and finding the issues addressed relevant and useful to them.
  • The message of citizen’s participation and responsibility in bringing change was well understood and considered to be the central idea raised by the magazine.

Kingo is a popular magazine with a core message that has been well understood by its audience. For Twaweza the question remains as to whether this type of message, which is still fairly generalized, directed at so broad of an audience (all people who travel on buses) can lead, in the long term, to direct effects on citizen agency indicators or whether the core purpose of this type of output is to raise awareness around critical issues.

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Authors: Varja Lipovsek



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