Who is telling Africa's story? How can we tell the African story, as told by Africans, if most of the media telling these stories is controlled by foreigners?

Author:Muzawazi, Kwame
Position:THE SECOND AFRICAN REVOLUTION - Column
 
FREE EXCERPT

Since 2014, there has been an annual publication titled the African Union Handbook, containing basic information about the AU and its organs. Every January a new edition gets launched in Addis Ababa, where the AU has its HQ. All seems fine until you learn that this guidebook about Africa's biggest political and social organisation, representing 55 countries and over a billion people, is published from a country that is over 100 times smaller than Africa--New Zealand!

In politics and culture, symbolism and perceptions carry decisive weight. The fact that the most senior African organisation cannot publish information about itself or find an African partner to do so without help from a faraway country is a body blow to the cause of 'the African story told by the African'.

But this is not an isolated case. A quick survey of Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs) shows that publications by these organisations are in fact mostly produced using money or talent from non-African countries.

I assume you have heard of the Zimbabwean liberation movement and the party called Zanu-PF. That's the party that Robert Mugabe, the 'celebrated pan-Africanist', led for almost 40 years. Zanu-PF built and maintains its headquarters on Pennefather Avenue in Harare.

Lt.-Col. Pennefather was the leader of the Pioneer Column that invaded modern-day Zimbabwe to create Rhodesia under the instructions of Cecil John Rhodes. It's as repulsive as having Mary the I mother of Jesus making her home on Judas Avenue. Mugabe wrote fiery pan-African speeches but all it needed was the stroke of a pen to change the name of the street.

The Museum of Black Civilisations that was opened in Senegal in 2018 was built by the Chinese and it resembles typical Chinese architecture. Looking at images from the farcical opening ceremony, the theme looks like "Celebrating black civilisations according to Chinese characters". I for one will never visit such an insulting tourist attraction.

Go to African schools today to see the textbooks our children are using. Ninety per cent of them are invariably either written by French or British authors, depending on who the former colonial master is.

When it comes to radio and television news consumption in Africa, every day, 200m Africans listen to the BBC's radio broadcasts or watch its TV programmes. The BBC therefore takes the crown, distantly followed by France24 and CNN.

Global war of...

To continue reading

REQUEST YOUR TRIAL