Beijing-based blogger Jennifer Brea is one of 100 Fellows attending TEDGlobal. She’s the Francophonia editor for Global Voices, and a prolific and powerful blogger about Africa. I love what she wrote about rethinking media coverage of Africa. Just an excerpt below. Read the full post here.
The first day’s speakers–Euvin Naidoo, Andrew Mwenda, Carol Pineau, Andrew Dosunmu, Zeray Alemseged, and Newton Aduaka–took the story of Africa, the tired story of dependence, desperation, and despair, and tore it to shreds. They took the West’s gaze, and killed it, stomped on it, mocked it, burned its effigy (Joseph Conrad to be precise) so that we could start an entirely new conversation using an entirely different vocabulary. We killed famine, death, hopelessness, hunger, tragedy, poverty and started using words like potential, opportunity, wealth, entrepreneurship, ingenuity, art, imagination, creativity, success, investment, growth, choice.
These are words the media use liberally when writing about emerging nations like India, China or Brazil, but not to describe some of the fastest-growing economies in the world when they happen to be in Africa.
Now imagine spending four days where you only use the good words to talk about Africa: words of forward motion, words of change. I’m not talking about bringing Tony Robbins on stage and dreaming of a better future. I’m talking about hearing from the mouths of people who are out there living it, building it, succeeding (and quite possibly getting very rich) in Africa.
It’s been thrilling.
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