Painting a different picture of Africa
Being part of the African Stories workshop in Cape Town, I was most excited about meeting fellow young journalists from all over Southern Africa. The first thing I noticed was that we have a lot in common. They, as journalists, want their voices to be heard and they are eager to tell their own stories. But even more so, they want to show the world who they are as Africans – and not leave that to media outlets outside of Africa, which in their view, often present a one-sided image of the continent.
“Western journalists often only concentrate on one area like poverty,” said Mathews Nthala, editor at MUVI TV in Zambia. “In this workshop, we are given the opportunity to show that there is a lot of potential in Africa. Many people are doing well in terms of entrepreneurship and self-empowerment. An African led empowerment, that to me sums up what African Stories is about.”
Watch what other participants had to say :
Participants also told me they don’t want to ignore that many people suffer from poverty, war and corruption, but that it’s time to tell positive stories as well – stories about Africans who are doing well despite difficult circumstances.
“Three quarters of the continent are heading in the direction of development,” Mathews explained. “South Africa is a good example of that. We as Africans have to stand as one, with one voice, and get to understand each other on how we can improve things.”
Points that often came up in discussion about Africa included:
- Africa has a lot of potential in terms of its people and natural resources;
- Africans must work together more closely for the benefit of all African countries;
- Africa needs smart leadership that puts the people’s interest first.
It’s these messages that the participants want to get across in their African Stories. Besides their passion for storytelling, what really impressed me was their team spirit. The local South African team was always ready to help the other teams find an interesting story or offer advice on who best to speak to.
At the end of the workshop, many said it would have a lasting impact on how they will produce stories in the future. For instance, going into the editing room before writing a fully developed script and in that way trusting the pictures to tell the story was a real eye-opener. “At first, I was sceptical because we have a different way of working at home, but we’re extremely happy with the result”, said Anna-Etuhole Nicodemus, Senior Producer at NBC in Namibia.
What all four African Stories from the Cape Town workshop have in common is their positive outlook. These short TV feature stories show how ordinary South Africans are managing, despite all odds, to make a better life for themselves.
Team Zambia: Training the Blind
Do people with disabilities always depend on the help of others or not? Pennipher Sikainda, Alister Sibbuku and Mathews Nthala from Zambia were interested in exactly that question. How does society integrate people with disabilities and what challenges do they themselves face? For their African Story, Team Zambia followed a day in the life of Sedick Jordan, Awareness Officer at the Cape Town Society for the Blind.
Team Namibia: Memory Boxes
Africa and HIV/AIDS cannot be separated from one another. Of all continents, Africa is the worst hit by the epidemic. Like anyone else, people with HIV/AIDS want to be remembered by their friends and family the way they were. Anna-Etuhole Nicodemus, Nashilongo Gervasius and Hinsley Mwashekele from Namibia found an organization that helps people by providing them with so-called ‘memory boxes’.
Team Malawi: Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS
In 2001, Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA) was started as a self-help organization in Khayelitsha, a big township outside Cape Town. All over South Africa grandmothers are holding together families affected by HIV and AIDS. At GAPA they learn how to overcome the devastating effects on their family through practical and business skills. But they also find what many of them have lost along the way: hope. Rebbeca Phwitiko, Dennis Nliwasa and Richard Chilenje Khoviwa from Malavi visited GAPA grandmothers.
Team South Africa: Growing Organic Food
When Christina Kaba moved to Cape Town almost 30 years ago, she couldn’t find a job. Since she was raised on a farm, she decided to use her skill – and grow her own vegetables. Now she is the Operations Manager of Abalimi Bezekhaya, an organization that fights poverty by growing food in backyards and community gardens. Odette Ismail, Cassé Linderts and Siraaj Larney from South Africa checked out their work.
Jan Bruck is a trainee journalist at DW-Akademie.