15 February 2013

Voices of Africa

Are you ever one of those people who complain (loudly) about the portrayal of Africa in (Western) media? I know I am one of them and I have written about it several times (including here on the Global Changemakers site). Well I was told long ago that complaining and then proceeding to do nothing about the thing which you complained is just as good as keeping quiet and I want to challenge you all 'complainers' out there take part in an amazing project that has been doing something about the image of the African continent and the people who populate her lands.

Voices of Africa is an ambitious project launched by the Mail and Guardian some years ago that aims in their own words to: 
"..tell the stories the world doesn’t hear often enough. We believe the everyday accounts of Africans getting on with life and showing adversity the middle finger deserve more attention. From the fashion-crazy women in Dakar to the eligible bachelors in Somalia; from the extravagant weddings in Tanzania to the nightlife in Nairobi, we want to showcase life in Africa by those who live it."
I find a quote by the Editor of Voices quite profound, she talks about the negative vs positive extremes we see so often in the media and says something that for me sums up the whole project: "An emerging market”, “exotic” women, technology booms, safaris, and National Geographic-worthy sunsets don’t sum us up either. They reduce us."

We are people before we are Africans. Just like the Europeans, the Asians, the Asians; we are just people with all their consequent faults, strengths, joys and profound sorrows. And that is the story the world needs to see more than exclamations about how great it is that our literacy rates are improving or how sad it is that wars have blossomed in several African states. The fact that those Africans fighting those wars, those African grandmothers learning how to read in a shack in some distant rural village are just people. Add your voice, head on over to the Voices of Africa site, take a look at the guidelines and submit your story for publication. :)

I dare you to change the way the world views our continent.

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