Africa: What Western Media Is Not Telling the World

Africa: What Western Media Is Not Telling the World


By Igbokwe Ifeanyi

They are also a people without head, having their mouths and eyes in their breasts’ was an account kept by the London Merchant John Lock when he sailed to West Africa in 1561 was one of the first the world would hear and unfortunately this ugly badge seemed to be continually sewed unto Africa’s skin four and a half decades later.

Each time the name ‘Africa’ comes to mind or appears in the news we can almost predict what would follow. Somehow the emotion attached to the continent seems to constantly elicit numerous emotions not much different from pity, anger, sadness, anguish, and most often stirs up horrible images of despair, poverty of the harshest kind, needless and avoidable deaths, all kinds of senseless wars, hunger, widespread corruption, unemployment, disasters and brutality leaving out mental skies and landscape devoid of any possible hope in sight for the dark continent.

Pick hundreds of young people between age 16 and 30 at random from Europe, the United States, Asia and South America. Ask them what they think of Africa and you will be amazed at the terrifying answers you will get. Take the bars a little higher and put 100 government officials randomly selected from the same locations in the same position and the economic woes of Africa would begin to unfold to the full grasp of the narrowest of minds.

But is Africa this messed up? Without argument it has had its fair share of issues ranging from wars, hunger, bad governance to economic and infrastructural development. A major problem is that western media, who is the world’s major eyes on what is happening in Africa seems to be only interested in only all the sad stories, all the corruption allegation stories, wars, unemployment, fraud and illiteracy stories it can lay its hands on, often without due verification and confirmation as held by the ethics of journalism.

If I had not experienced Africa first-hand, I would have thought too that it is just made up of beautiful landscape, animals and hordes of retarded useless black people always engaged in fighting useless wars without enough sense to rule or help themselves. I would think that the average African person cannot think, speak good English or relate with me as equals. I would think nothing good can come out of the continent and I would never bring myself to imagine that making an investment in Africa would ever be a good decision irrespective of the surrounding circumstances simply because those are all I know about Africa.

Corruption is yet another word that depicts the African story. Its mention conjures up pictures of African leaders hoarding stolen monies in foreign banks and we will be quick to know that the corrupt and guilty ones are the leaders and not the bankers on the other side who assisted in the transfer and custody of stolen funds. Start the story with the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone and not the buyers who greatly assisted in tearing the country apart and you have a different story. Begin the story with oil bunkering in Nigeria (and not the buyers on the other side whose government decided to react with a blind eye) and you have a typical African story where Nigerians are greedy and unpatriotic saboteurs. Or begin the story of the menace of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria with the number of people they killed and not the poverty and illiteracy that fueled it and the story is already dressed the African way.

How vulnerable the rest of the world has become to one sided stories of Africa. Yes we want to hear about the war in Somalia, turmoil in Egypt, demoralizing stories from Mali’s heartless rebels’ killing expeditions, massacre in Benue and Boko haram in Northern Nigeria but we also want to hear about the people like Emmanuel Ohuabunwa got a scholarship to study medicine in Yale University from Nigeria and made a Grade Point Average of 3.98 out of 4.0, graduating as the best student the university had to offer. We want to hear of how Nigeria’s telecommunication sector among the fastest growing in the world along with its banking sector. They would love to hear about how Nigeria’s economy has been on a progressive growth since the last few dozen years in figures many European countries can only imagine or the economic growth Ghana has been basking in.

Yes we want to hear all the sad stories about Africa but we also want to hear its best stories too.

Igbokwe Ifeanyi wrote in via ifeanyi.igbokwe@gmail.com

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Paradigm.

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