Historically, the wildlife, natural resources, and culture have made Africa a highly valuable continent to the western world. Africa has gathered the attention of western tourists, western explorers, and western imperialists from all over. As such, Africa has been heavily influenced over time by western interests.
The parading of malnourished and naked African children in front of cameras and images of lions and gorillas in the jungle, have dominated most Western media news outlets over the past two decades. The presentation of African news by Western media convinces the audiences in United States, Europe and other parts of the world that the entire continent of Africa is hopeless, poverty and disease stricken. Images of skyscrapers, well developed road networks and other manifestations of modern development in most African countries are usually absent in the mindsets of Western media audiences. (Ahmed Mheta, 2015)
Western Medias when reporting tends to focus on the negative and not the positive. Bad news sells well. People feel better about their lives when they hear others have bigger problems than them. A European who’s unhappy he can’t get a mortgage, will, however unwittingly, likely see his life in brighter lights after watching footage of people with no electricity, no running water and little food to eat.
So when a foreign journalist enters a space in which he speaks the formal but only understands the informal, a great deal will necessarily be lost in translation. I believe that it is in this space that most of the mistakes occur when writing about Africa. I argue that most Western journalists who come to Africa believe that they can get by because they speak English or even Swahili, but never really get down to the essence of what it means to be a South Sudanese in war for instance, an essence that is fundamentally related to the ability to be able to switch between the three or four languages and their attendant identities. (Nanjala Nyabola, 2014)
Even before the age of exploration, countries have been acting based on their own personal interest. It was during the late 1800s that the western world really started to explore deeper into the heart of Africa. What the explorers found was an abundance of land and resources. The only thing standing in their way was a group of primitive people with spears, not guns. Through this technological advantage, Europe was able to successfully claim Africa, its people and its resources as its own. Seeking only to reap the economic and territorial advantages, settlers created quick local governments and didn’t bother industrializing Africa. When countries in Africa began to win their independence, these newly formed countries were left hundreds of years behind the western World, with corrupt governments in control.
If foreign aid would develop any place, Africa will be the most developed continent in the world.
International AID is now doing more harm to Africa than good. It became the main tool used by foreign governments and organizations to corrupt the African elite, and get them to behave so irrationally toward their own populations and the basic interest of their countries.
Aside corruption and the criminality, International Aid is the root of the 5 Stars colonization disease that cripple the African elite which dislike the responsibility and the self-sacrifice that comes with being in control of a nation destiny. As far as they enjoyed the status offered by their positions, they never liked the responsibilities demanded by the jobs; therefore they use international aid programs as substitute to their responsibilities.
If Africa needs any aid, the most urgent one is to get rid of the 40 billion corruption industry (called International Aid) that shackles its youth and elite, cultivates and maintains the beggar mentality. How would you develop any country when the dream of the majority of its youth and elite is not entrepreneurship, innovation, education and self-sufficiency, but the dream to have a job with a humanitarian organization or to get their project financed by some International aid Agency or proxy?
“Global Lying System” (referring to the western Medias covering African news) is one of the biggest threats to peace and development in Africa. The colonial heritage of those journalists (unless they are instructed to do so) makes them to see Africa only as a collection of tribes and focus their coverage on what they call as tribal issues. They create new realities like “People from the North” compared to “people from the South” or “people from the West”. They invent new divisions with creative imagination, like the Belgians falsely created the “Tutsi” and “Hutu” tribes in Rwanda which ultimately lead to the genocide in 1994.
The western medias seems to follow an agenda of further dividing African nations and populations with their constant framing of Africa through fight between tribes, religions, geography, etc. This must stop before African could unite to fight their way out.
The influence of western Medias in Africa is very negative, and could be considered as part of Africa problems.
The other negative effect of the western medias in Africa is that they tend to focus their attention on what the Europeans or the White people are doing in Africa or for Africa, and how they are saving Africa, therefore continuing to create the false impression that Africa is a hopeless place with lazy people that could be saved only by the white man.
What you often see is a white man helping African or an outsider making change in Africa. That’s bad, and perpetuates the feeling that Africans are incapable to solve their problem by themselves, and reinforce in the mind of the young people and generation “the white man as a savior” mentality. Very Bad!
Some Humanitarian organisation has done more damage to Africa than the marginal positive impact they supposedly have had. In order to raise money for their operations, they have engaged into a “poverty porn” depicting Africa with the most degrading, and humiliating images. African people dignity is not something they cared about. The huge billboard and magazines photos showing Africa at its worst now fill the mind of billions of people around the world, and unfortunately those people can’t help but think about Africa only trough those images.
In the same time, those Medias won’t show the photo of a dead American or English soldier, because it’s shocking and doesn’t respect human dignity.
BY: SAIDINA ALIEU JARJOU
Alias Dr.ABS Taal Jr.