MADE IN AFRICA - We Are Africa




Last year, we told the world that Africa is Not One Story. This year, let’s talk about who’s telling the stories.

The world’s collective awareness of Africa is mostly a misinformed myth, brought about by ignorance and emboldened through centuries of Western colonisation and marginalisation. This artificial narrative tends to portray Africa as, at best, a uniformly beautiful savannah populated by herds of endangered wildlife; or, at worst, a barren, poverty-stricken wasteland ruled by corruption, starvation, violence and disease. In both cases, the missing element is its people. As Chinua Achebe remarked in his famous essay ‘An Image of Africa’, the continent is seen “as setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as a human factor”.

Whilst Africa’s incredible natural beauty unassailably deserves to be championed, this monopoly of expression has eroded the possibility for its 54 countries, 2000 languages and 1 billion people to speak for themselves to share the diverse, complex reality of their experiences. However, as we move into a new age of connectivity and empowerment, Africa is being presented with a golden opportunity to reclaim its own narrative.

A fresh generation of creatives, conservationists, artists, writers and activists are forging their own, uniquely African (or Rwandan, Nigerian, Ghanaian etc) paths. Their stories are not a copycat or accessory to Western legacies, but are born of their combination of African heritages and cultures. It would once have been impossible to share this multitude of voices and ideas with the wider world, but with the advent of technology and social media we are being given the chance to, as brand strategist Zami Majuqwana describes, “swap secondhand anecdotes for firsthand encounters”.

We’ve collaborated with magazine African Lens and filmmaker Beverly Joubert to bring you a selection of such encounters from African photographers. Aaron Yeboah Jr, curator and designer for the magazine, explains: “African Lens serves as an open window into the world of Africans. I wanted to create a platform for African photographers to share their own stories. To show the world the Africa we know, the Africa we see and the Africa of our dreams. African Lens hopes to shine a light on the beauty and rich, diverse culture of Africans, both in the motherland and as migrants in foreign lands.”

So for 2016, let’s tell stories that are handmade, homegrown, local, diverse and authentic. Let’s tell stories written by Africa, for Africa. Let’s have Africa tell its own stories: the ones Made In Africa.

We want to see your stories Made In Africa! Share your images on Instagram using #NotOneStory and we’ll use the best ones on our social channels and online gallery.

John Segar

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