Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Narratives of Africa

Some important and on-going debate has been sparked recently by Oxfam's See Africa Differently campaign. This is Tom Murphy's latest contribution to the debate on Humanosphere. He makes the important point that there is a risk of replacing one simplistic narrative (everyone is starving) with another ("Africa rising" or, in the case of Oxfam, "Africa = pretty").

This isn't really a contribution to the debate, just a though: What if there is a bit between the happy and the sad stories? What if some of the most important stories about Africa are really quite boring?

Like some of today's headlines from Southern African news outlets:

Zambia: Falling Kwatcha Worries Government (on currency fluctuations)
Zambia: MMD Says ACC Summons On Rupiah Banda Is Illegal (on presidential immunity and the limits of power of the Anti-Corruption Commission)
Mozambique: Medical Students Face Reprisals Over Strikes
Mozambique: Central Bank Warns of International Uncertainty
Angola: Catholic Church Faces Competition In Angola
Angola: Swiss NGO Report Exposes Trafigura's Dealings In Angola
Zimbabwe: Livestock Condition Healthy
Zimbabwe: Solving Harare's Traffic Jam Woes

I think sometimes the thing that gets lost in the many and varied discussions and debates on representing "Africa" is that Africa and African countries and African people are, for the most part, really quite ordinary.

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