The Other Side of Africa – Introduction

Image by Duncan Walker

Poverty, sickness, lack of education and aid seems to be what characterises Africa and its people. Africa is depicted by media headlines and international best-sellers as one of two things: either a place marred by corrupt leadership, greedy officials, war and people living below the poverty-line, or a place with a beautiful culture and landscape, with a needy group of people who need your love gift of $30 (with which you can get a free painting drawn by little Maria in Darfur).  Both these images belittle Africa. It’s that continent that can’t do anything right by itself. If left to its own devices, it will self-destruct,but surely there must be another side to the continent…Most of what is known about Africa is ascertained through media headlines. Newspapers and magazines are primarily businesses and the most important goal of a commercial enterprise is to generate a profit. One is more likely to generate a profit by selling a negative story appealing to the arrogant and proud pseudo-genius of an “informed” observer who thinks he knows the solutions to all the problems of the uncivilized world, than by selling a positive story about strides that have been made in education in West Africa, or the discovery and development of oil reserves in East Africa. This may make the reader feel warm and fuzzy, but feeling good about someone else doesn’t really make individuals feel good about themselves. What I aim to do is to show the other side of Africa. To show the progress that Africa has made after being colonised, enslaved, dehumanised and demoralised. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to look at the progress made in education, healthcare, infrastructure development and literature as well as arts and entertainment. The purpose of this is not to romanticise the continent, or to make it seem that everything reported about it isn’t true. The purpose isn’t to make Africa seem like a victim of “the West” which has not contributed to some of the negative conditions it finds itself in. The purpose of this is to provide balance, understanding, and a clearer view of what Africa has done, what Africa is doing, and where Africa could be going in future. Lastly, just as a teaser for the rest of the series, could you comment below on your current understanding of what any African country or state has done to move forward. If you don’t know of any initiatives taken up by any of the countries, feel free to comment on that too.

2 thoughts on “The Other Side of Africa – Introduction

  • September 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Looking forward to this series.

  • September 30, 2010 at 7:39 am

    More to this. Bring on smarter, fresher, more inspiring stories to pass on about Africa.
    Go to it Patrick >>


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