Book me for a lecture on Images of Africa

The story of images of Africa in the Western media goes back to the 19th century and is completely entangled with Europe and America’s relationship with Africa.

During colonial times Africans would be depicted as either children or warriors in European popular culture including the mass media; children whom the European would have to teach everything from Christianity to new livelihood skills and structures of governments. Warriors the Europeans had to fight against for their own good in the name of the colonial project.

From the 60s and 70s post-colonial era the clear-cut hierarchical images slowly mellowed down. Yet, the undertone of Europe having parent-like obligations to assist the continent, as if it was the child of Europe who never really got it right, lingered on throughout the century. The Economist summed up the standard Western media story of Africa as a backward continent by calling it “hopeless” on its front page in 2000.

A decade later this tone of voice changed dramatically. The Economist swallowed its own words in 2010 by carrying a 10 pages Africa special entitled “Africa Rising”. It highlighted development and progress from all corners of the continent.

Anyone who resides in Africa or travels to the continent know it is on the move.  Yet, the traditional Western images of Africa lingers on: Pictures of starving African children in remote rural areas, HIV/AIDS victims, corruption challenges, overcrowded classrooms, stories of refugees fleeing war zones, droughts, floods and other natural disasters leaving thousand of people in the villages without a livelihood.

Book me for a lecture about Images of Africa. I promise thought provoking images  – and a super intense debate.

About vqeverywhere

Love politics, media, trend spotting and groundbreaking new ideas

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