Zambia: the purveyor of gloom; Living with Aids, the latest onslaught against Africa by the Sierra Leonean filmmaker Sorious Samura, has once again made headlines in the West. In this reaction, Regina Jere-Malanda tells Samura that pandering to Western stereotyping is redundant journalism and his film ... well, beneath contempt.

Author:Jere-Malanda, Regina

In an era when many discerning African journalists have learnt and ditched the propagated idea of "bad news sells", it is a shame to find that Sorious Samura is still going to great lengths to perpetuate the Western penchant for stereotypical imaging of Africa as a land of no hope inhabited by poor, oversexed people now primarily dying of Aids because of their promiscuity.

The role of the media in Aids awareness has always been vital and African journalists have fervently been playing their part for many years, and therefore, new-kid-on-the-block Samura, should not flatter himself as the journalist Africa has been waiting for to educate us against the dangers of Aids.

For the many millions who had the misfortune of watching the unpalatable Living With Aids documentary on Britain's Channel Four TV, a documentary he made in one of the most rural hospitals in the western Zambian town of Mongu, Samura was clearly a man on a mission to satisfy a certain agenda.

This is how his London employers, Insight News, publicised the documentary: "In this film, Samura exposes the untold story of Aids--how poverty and the complex nature of African culture and sexuality are hampering efforts to eradicate this horrifying disease ... After one month, Samura is left with the realisation that for the war against HIV in Africa to be won, poverty, ignorance and African sexual attitudes have to be tackled head on."


But in reality, nothing "untold" emanates from Living With Aids. What it turns out to be is a squalid attempt at aping Western-media style of reporting, which begat a bizarre, sadistic and pointless soap opera void of any legitimate argument or logic.

For the other millions of Africans who did not watch this tasteless effort at highlighting the effects of Aids in Africa, thank your gods. This article will not be doing you justice repeating the gruesome details of what Samura passes around as salacious journalism.

But here is one of the most disturbing premises of his film: In one interview publicising the film, Samura told the British weekly, The Observer, that Africans experiment with sex from as young as age five, because we share sleeping arrangements with our parents and watch them have sex and therefore we wake up to practise what we watch!

Alas, not only is this daft, but the worst hogwash told this side of heaven. One cannot help but wonder if these sleeping arrangements only began in the past 25 years of the Aids pandemic...

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