When Africa is not being painted as one country by the Western Media and celebrities who come down here to visit (with a chance of scoring yet another poverty porn image), it is fronted as a collection of shithole countries by the likes of Trump.
When you explore the media sentiment and coverage around Africa, any news that comes from African media or otherwise is probably a manifestation of fake news or whitewashing of African narratives. Africans have also put a relatively high degree of trust in international media. If it’s not from NYT, WSJ, WaPo, BBC or CNN, it’s probably fake news, right? The CNN that called Kenya a hotbed of terror.
So how do you write about Africa? The late Binyavanga in his satirical piece implores that you throw in a few Safari, Maasai, Zulu and Nile words for context. The more filthy and miserable, the more real it is. Then you add the starving African child and folktales that are typically set in the past, featuring wild animals and rural scenes. Chimamanda’s TED Talk on the danger of a single story refutes the idea that an entire culture can be summed up in one narrative.
I mean we read about such misconceptions and a blatant display of ignorance every waking day. How Africans have no access to mobile technology (meanwhile more than half of the world’s mobile money accounts are in Africa), we all live in mud houses with no hope for cities, we walk around with elephants and guns, we are poor and will always be since we do nothing for ourselves. Stories about crises, strife, and poverty levels are viewed as relevant to Western audiences.
The West has a perception problem and it’s a lot.
Today we celebrate rarely captured stories that deserve a closer look, of Africa(ns) you never read about that are told in print, video, audio and online on:
Africa is your one-stop shop for every positive story that emanates from our beautiful continent. It highlights relatively known personalities and the impact they are making in their countries or cities and also shine a spotlight on the growing opportunities each country holds. Basically, it presents Africa positively without ignoring its challenges and justifiably ignores the wild animal motifs.
We should have sites like South Africa: The Good News which highlights the positive developments in South Africa, in each country. If there’s one in your country let me know.
At least 80% of African migrants never leave the continent, but the focus is on Europe. We are still here, living and loving the continent despite its challenges.
When Ellen met Achieng, the Kenyan who was under attack for portraying herself as needy. This, according to Africa is a Country, is what happened – Ellen DeGeneres wanted an African story. Achieng Agutu obliged. I can’t tell you how much this particular article swayed the narrative and bad press to her favour.
THREAD: Why @NYTimes should learn from when @CNN got Kenyans on Twitter mad. After #SomeoneTellCNN, they had to fly Exec. Vice President & MD for @CNNi (@Tony_MaddoxCNN) in to @StateHouseKenya to personally apologise to Pres. @UKenyatta. CNN also lost $1,000,000 in advertising.
— Mark Kaigwa (@MKaigwa) January 16, 2019
Oh CNN had to. The wrath of the infamous KOT is not just in theory.
We’ve seen a spike of established and upcoming Travel Youtubers who travel across the continent with the tagline ‘Africa to the world’ and I must say they are doing a pretty decent job of capturing untold people stories, cultures, scenery, and development.
I’ve been enjoying some African Podcasts and you should too.
Here are a few – Talking Heads for Africa discussions between experts, Moto Moto for African Music, Excuse my African for Diaspora stories, AfroQueer Podcast, African Tech Conversations, Knowledge Bandits for African Entrepreneurship, and Item 13 dedicated to exploring African Food.
Do you have stories about Africa that you enjoyed coming across? Do share.