1. Is Mass-media doing enough to provide us with a real insight into African life while also reporting on events in Africa as they occur?
Mass-media is not doing enough to provide society with a real insight into African life. I think that mainstream media is very limited and narrowly channelled, there is a constant theme or portrayal of African life being primitive, out of touch, backwards. Some outlets however portray urbanisation Africa. The developmentally Africa, and innovative new insights to growing industries and blooming businesses. The mass media needs to do more to provide a real insight of Africa, a good example is the “Akon lighting Africa project” which has installed solar street lights in 11 West African countries. Despite a lot of rapid positive growth, culture and history of Africa, the mass media does not provide us with a real insight into Africa. I’ve always said that the best way of getting a real insight into Africa is by visiting and experiencing it firsthand.
2. “Stereotypes play an important role in helping us make sense of the world, and are not necessarily lies”….What are some of the most common representations of Africa in the media?
I neither agree or disagree with the statement as stereotyping is relative. However, Africa is often stereotyped as a poverty-stricken continent which is false. Contrary to what the media shows us, Africa is a very rich continent, each African country grows a product or have natural resources such as oil, gold, coltan and diamonds. The statement, “Africa feeds the world, while Africa starves.” comes to mind here. Africa is also often associated with malnourished and deprived children, war; diseases and largely undeveloped rural areas. More recently, following the “Ebola epidemic” although only a few countries in West Africa were affected, from the media’s point of view the whole of Africa had Ebola.
3. Is there a pressing need to alter western portrayal of Africa?
Yes, there should be a major change with regards to the Western portrayal of Africa in the film, media and entertainment industries. They need to adopt ways of representing Africa or Africans in a more pragmatic and authentic manner as evidently, Africa is misrepresented on so many platforms. However at the moment, as a result of the emerging talent and the continuously growing interest in the continent, the perception of Africa as a continent is slowly changing. The film, media and entertainment industries can further contribute to this progress by striking that well needed balance between the good and the bad when broadcasting about Africa. This will help to enlighten and broaden the audiences’ perceptions. Once this happens, I honestly believe we will continue to see more positive developments such as when South Africa hosted the football world cup in 2010.