Random Thoughts: #4

What’s the deal with Africa?

This is as much a rant as it is a random thought. I started a new Netflix series not too long ago called Please Like Me. It’s based in Australia, and I was enjoying it until a particular scene where the protagonist’s father’s brand-new Porsche is vandalised. The father starts sobbing, and the protagonist basically tells him there’s no need for that kind of reaction because people in Africa can’t even afford Porsches, and are sick and hungry. I was watching this scene while enjoying a box of hot wings and a can of Sprite from one of my favourite fast food outlets, by the way.

I’m pretty sure not every single person in Australia can afford to drive around in a Porsche, but for some reason, he felt the need to bring Africa into the mix. I know the protagonist is simply an actor reading a script, but in this case, the protagonist is also the writer.

It got me thinking…What’s with the way African countries are portrayed by the Western media? What’s with all the misinformation and ignorance? Be it the news, or just ordinary TV shows, Western society seems to never tire of painting Africa as some poverty-stricken, disease-ridden continent. If there are plenty of examples of hunger, scarcity, homelessness and despair in many Western countries, why is the focus always on Africa? Don’t get me wrong, there is poverty here. Food security and malnutrition are major issues, along with disease and suffering. But that’s not all there is to Africa. Take it from an African, living in Africa, as opposed to someone overseas who’s never set foot here.

Image by Mapswire https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

Africa is also home to a myriad of vibrant cultures, flavoursome cuisine, stunning scenery and magical towns and cities, and charming villages. Most of all, it’s home to beautiful, loving and warm people. Yes, there are roads and vehicles here and we don’t ride around on elephants. Yes, people here are educated. Yes, we can access the internet and not everyone has been negatively affected by the digital divide. I could go on and on. So how about changing the narrative so it paints an accurate picture instead of a biased one that feeds on offensive and harmful stereotypes?

Sossuslvei in Namibia
Zanzibar in Tanzania. Photo by Nina R https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
A shop in Santa Maria, Cape Verde. Photo by Cayambe https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Atlas mountains in Northwestern Africa. Photo by Elh.yassine https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

Now that I’ve shared this, I’m going to go out to Nando’s and grab a bite to eat with my friends, before taking a drive and watching yet another breathtaking African sunset.

Until next time.


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