It is not okay how Africa is portrayed by the media. It is not okay that every non-African believes that Africa is a continent of darkness, characterized by war and populated by people in a constant existence of poverty. Granted, Africa has its problems and it would be a lie to say there are no wars or development issues. It is acknowledged that these issues do exist but our acquiescence stops where the belief that this is all there is to us as a people starts. Africa is the home of beauty in its most pure and natural forms. It possesses a wealth of tradition and even in the face of Westernization our culture persists. Take the time to visit our Innovate Africa section and see that Africa is taking giant strides. If you took a day to do ‘research’ on Africa however, you wouldn’t know most of these things as information on the continent is hardly ever updated and the story is always told to fit a particular theme to evoke a pity party.
It is however a beautiful thing that the narrative is beginning to change as the stories of African writers are being read and shared with an astonishing amount of people; within and outside Africa. The tale of the African is being told by the African and our side of the story is finally finding expression. It is important to correct the problem of a single story as identified by Chimamanda Adichie. All it does is present a myopic and very narrow-minded view of a thing, a person, an issue or even a people. Today, even Africans raised and living in Africa are more willing to buy what they see on some international news channel over the reality that they experience on a daily basis. Our countries and continent as a whole are portrayed as crying infants whose ability to even stand is dependent on the outside world and we are too quick to buy into this idea. This idea that the African is lacking of initiative and the idea that development or innovation was a concept foreign to the African until the white man came in all his glory. We are so quick to forget that long before our contact with the outside world, our fathers before us built great kingdoms and cities. We had functional governments and buoyant economies. The forms of oppression which we know today were never a part of the original African society; a society built for Africans, by Africans. The absence of western education did not mean the presence of ignorance; after all, we learn that which enables us to thrive best in the environments and societies in which we find ourselves. Art in all its ramifications was not given to us; it has always been an integral part of the African society and till today our works remain displayed in museums outside Africa.
Those who came before us did not have a 100th of the opportunities we have now and somehow they left legacies that are engraved in stone. As a people, we will never be able to truly reconstruct our continent if we do not change our perception of it. No one will ever tell your story better than you. If you are tired of switching on the television or logging on to any social media site and seeing only war, hunger, bad governance and corruption whenever Africa is mentioned, then it is your responsibility to work until there is nothing left to base these headlines on. Ideally, the media will only report and not create stories. If we are to change the headlines, the Google search images, the statistics, the social media posts then we must begin to change the story and there will never be a better time than today to start. I personally am not okay with the Africa I see on the media, I.D.E.A as a body is not okay with the Africa we see in the media. The question now is, you as a Ghanaian, a Kenyan, a Zambian, an Ethiopian or as a citizen of the 50 other countries of Africa, are you okay with the country you see in the media? Most importantly, as an African, are you okay with the Africa portrayed in the media?