The foreign press: Stop patronising Africa

A while back at the We Media conference in London, I became irritated at what I saw was the stereotyping and patronising of Africa. It is often unwitting and borne largely out of ignorance of this continent, with knowledge based on what is seen in the (generally negative) news and the movies.

I had something to say about it in this post Africa: Giraffes, war, famine, blah blah blah. Kenyan Nation Group CEO Wilfred Kiboro who was also at the conference to speak on the Africa panel with myself was also critical.

Now, it looks like South African deputy president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who is in Scotland at the International Press Institute (IPI), has told Western newspaper editors in this story on M&G Online to stop generalising about Africa and concentrate more on the continent’s success stories.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “Editors have been making choices on how they see Africa — and they have tended to see the dark side,” President Thabo Mbeki’s deputy told representatives from the world’s press.

“Over-generalisation has had the specific result of dishing out collective punishment to all in the continent and discouraging investment, thus holding back progress.

“Out of 54 countries in Africa, only five are in conflict in 2006. Yet the 49 countries are easily compromised by failure to acknowledge peace in most countries and noted success of individual nations.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Full text of speech here

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