Challenging Stereotypes, #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou

Challenging Stereotypes, #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou

From TheFader. Story by Rawiya Kameir.

Because of the way Africa is routinely represented in mainstream global media, people have stereotypical assumptions about what Africa is — disease, poverty, and wild animals.

A group of Africans and members of the African diaspora are addressing that issue with a hashtag that’s been trending on Twitter. They’re captioning images from across the continent with the tag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou.

It appears to have kicked off on June 23, with Twitter user Diana Salah, who tweets under the handle @lunarnomad and who asked her followers to join her in “showcasing the beauty of Africa.”

The hashtag attracted more than 42,000 tweets and re-tweets in the week leading up to June 29, according to a report in Fusion by Nidhi Prakash.

“I got involved because growing up I was made to feel ashamed of my homeland, with negative images that paint Africa as a desolate continent,” the 22- year-old told Fusion, adding that she started the hashtag with a friend who has since deactiviated her account.

During the tag’s peak late last week, it received thousands of tweets over a three-day period, chronicling everything from natural landscapes to politics to contemporary African fashion.

For example, one tweeted pointed out that three women, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Catherine Samba-Panza, and Ameenah GuribFakim, are the current heads of state of Liberia, the Central African Republic, and Mauritius, respectively.

Another tweet shouted out institutions of higher education like the University of Ghana and the University of Johannesburg.

Of course, highlighting some aspects of Africa that the global media actively ignores doesn’t mean denying the very real issues we must collective deal with; it simply means the continent, and the billion people who inhabit its 56 countries, have the same right to plurality that the rest of the world does.

Read more at TheFader.