Voices of Africa is the M&G’s new blogging platform. It showcases stories of life in different parts of the continent that the world doesn’t hear often enough.
In 2012 the Mail & Guardian obtained and published footage of an HIV-positive woman in Swaziland who had to eat cow dung to take her ARVs. This is an update on her story.
“Great, yet another blog about Africa” is not the response you want when you’re pitching the project to a group of Zimbabweans over lunch. But I understood Zaheera’s cynicism, and yes, this is another blog about Africa.
Except that it’s told by Africans, and its aim is to give the rest of the world a glimpse of real life on different parts of the continent. It’s a space to share the stories that we don’t hear often enough; the ones that get buried under the doom-and-gloom reporting that continues to shape the continent’s image.
The Dark Continent narrative has been knocked to shame but, like Fifty Shades of Grey, it persists. A soldier carrying an AK-47; naked children with protruding ribs; women balancing groceries on their heads; villagers queuing for medication – these recycled images scream “This is Africa!” when they’re really a trite, tired representation. The continent has its challenges but we are not our wars, poverty and diseases.
“An emerging market”, “exotic” women, technology booms, safaris, and National Geographic-worthy sunsets don’t sum us up either. They reduce us.
The point of this blog isn’t to romanticise Africa but to normalise it; to rubbish the idea that we exist between two extremes – despair and development; and to invite Africans to write about their world instead of being written about.
It’s time we tell our own stories. As you’ll see, it makes for refreshing reading.
Shooting hoops and swaying those hips: in this video, the Mail & Guardian meets young people from Zimbabawe, Gabon and Rwanda who share stories about their countries and cultures that you may not have heard before.
A spoof music video appealing to Africans to donate radiators to freezing children in Norway has received over two million YouTube hits since its release in November 2012. The video, a parody of the 1985 US hit We are the World, challenges stereotypes about the continent and features South African rapper Breezy V.