Introducing Voices of Africa

“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.

Qudsiya Karrim is editor of Voices of Africa. Email her your stories, suggestions and queries at [email protected] or connect with her on Twitter

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *