Changing the African Story

“Until the lion learns how to write, every story, will glorify the hunter” African proverb


Who is best suited to tell their story other than the people themselves? Africa is now being described as a rapidly economic growing continent where exists the full potential for an economic evolution. This is already witnessed with the several multi-national corporations moving to the continent and investing heavily on infrastructure, tourism, telecommunication, education to mention afew.

Africa Rising is a term used to describe the good fortune Africa is said to experience and is attributed to comparative peace in the region, mobile and internet technology as well as raising consumer spending.

In the last 10 years Sub-Saharan African economy has grown almost by 50% compared to 23% of the world and only 13% in the united states.

Many African countries want to share their positive story and they are using ICT tools to do it. You tube, Whats app, twitter and Facebook are the most popular media tools because of their interactive nature, ease of use and accessibility. The ´dark continent` is shed away and what you hear is a positive vibe, a tune that wants to celebrate itself and be celebrated.

The latest attempt is through the movie “Black Panther” (if you haven’t watched it please do!) which goes to tell a different narrative of the African continent. An ideal place called Wakanda that is prosperous, free from violence, strong women are at the forefront and yet the people still hold their traditions and customs close to them. This is perhaps a departure from the development ideology that to be developed you have to think and act like the west.

In Kenya, one person who is telling the African story is PR entrepreneur Gin Din Kariuki of Gin Din Group. A PR practitioner with over 20 years of experience, she started a You tube programme called “Shaping African Conversations”. She uses this platform to interview different key players who contribute to the social and economic development of Kenya. The idea is to showcase the good of Kenya and by extention Africa through their stories.

Secretary-General of the Kenya Red Cross, Abbas Gullet is one of the guests who talks about the Red Cross humanitarian work in Kenya. Here he shows how they run their programs in a participatory manner and gives one case of how they partnered with a local politician and its citizens in an area that is usually hit by annual drought and together planted maize seeds before the projected rainfalls and with this effort lead to a bounty harvest thus food security.

Another key conversation is with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala who talks about the leaps of development in the tourism sector which include income generation, employment creation and formation of policies, Tax incentives and infrastructure that has enabled Kenya to be a more attractive place for tourism investment.

South African Founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng talks of Africa as a whole and the need for citizens to find what makes them unique and harnessing that for economic development. Of a great citizenship and a people who believe in their own vision who would develop and create goods that match international standards in terms of quality.

The importance of development taking place from within the continent and allowing the people to own it is a positive stride towards sustainable development.



Mail & Guardian (2015)




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