Debunking those Stereotypes

I have on several occasions, come face to face with stereotypes about Africa, often enabled by global media’s commodification of images about Africa. Often, stories about Africa in the media are about a people who are at war and dying from hunger/famine and diseases such as HIV/Aids.

While Africa might be a continent struggling with challenges such as poverty, ethnic conflicts and HIV/Aids, that is not all there is to Africa. There is much more to Africa than the story of  helplessness and plight. It is a continent full of love and laughter. Music and dance. Emerging innovations and technologies. A people who celebrate life and live it to the fullest. This is the Africa i know. A place that has undergone the ravages of slavery and colonialism, yet it is still filled with undeniable zest for life, love and passion.

And so for those involved in media production and dissemination, there is need for one to be cautious when they write stories about groups of people, particularly the Global South which is portrayed in a stereotypical way in the media.

One video that reminds me about how often people misconstrue Africa is a Ted Talk that was given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The Danger of a Single Story. Chimamanda talks about how we often dehumanize people when we feel pity for people. We have a single story about them, and fail to recognize that despite their challenges of poverty , they have lived experiences.

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