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Time to re-brand Africa

It is easier to hear the sound of a falling tree in the forest, than of
seeds sprouting or young trees growing up.
Sabine Christiansen, Germany s top talk show host, asked her guests in a recent edition of Global Players, during the World Economic Forum on Africa, whether Africa can resolve its crises and re-brand itself as a continent of opportunity rather than one plagued by disease, corruption and strife and whose business is it to help Africa grow.

According to The African Uptimist, there were insightful observations, frank talk, and thoughtful suggestions throughout the excellently moderated episode. The guests felt that the media tendency to focus mainly on negative news is a large part of the discussed problem. Alternative voices are needed to tell the success stories that are also happening daily in Africa, stories of individuals and groups discovering new solutions to old problems, winning the fight against hunger, poverty, disease, corruption, and conflict.

At one point, Trevor Manuel used a powerful anecdote to illustrate the nature of the re-branding challenge: it is easier to hear the sound of a falling tree in the forest, than of seeds sprouting or young trees growing up.

This comes in time where even the South African deputy president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, has told Western newspaper editors to stop generalising about Africa and concentrate more on the continent s success stories.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said in her speech to the world s press, that editors have been making choices on how they see Africa, and they have tended to see the dark side.

The problem was also highlighted by Buckland, who whilst participating at the We Media conference in London last month became irritated at what he saw was the stereotyping and patronising of Africa.

He said that it is often unwitting and borne largely out of ignorance of this continent, with knowledge based on what is seen in the (generally negative) news and the movies. And this conference claims to bring together the trailblazers of the connected society, the thinkers, innovators, investors, executives and activists seeking to tap the potential of digital networks connecting people everywhere

The African Uptimist further states that the African blogosphere is emerging as a global player and partner in the re-branding of Africa. The content is increasingly focused, capturing real successes on the ground, reaching an ever larger global audience. Notable players in this group include Emekar Okafor's Timbuktu Chronicles, Erik's White African and AfriGadget, Ethan Zukerman's my heart is in accra.


  1. Blogger HASH | Thursday, June 08, 2006 3:08:00 am |  

    Gregor, great blog here. I've got a problem though, when I went to add your blog to my RSS reader, an RSS feed could not be detected.

    Do you have one? If so, can you post it?

  2. Blogger Gregor | Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:20:00 am |  

    hi HASH, try this:
    will add it to my menu bar asap, thanx for the message. G

  3. Blogger HASH | Friday, June 09, 2006 7:27:00 am |  

    Perfect, thank you! :)

  4. Blogger Wallfish | Sunday, June 11, 2006 1:03:00 pm |  

    Hey Gregor, great blog. Was also very impressed by the rather Oxford Dictionary looking listing for gregoogle...

  5. Blogger Ceridwen Devi | Monday, June 12, 2006 8:47:00 pm |  

    Let's wish that Africa can reinvent itself as a continent of opportunity. It's a great idea.

  6. Blogger Benin "Mwangi" | Monday, January 15, 2007 4:52:00 pm |  

    Great job! I like the way that you brought the pieces together in this post. It seems like what you are describing is already beginning to happenly, albeit a litlle quietly, but the seeds of change have been sown.

    Thank you,
    Benin Mwangi
    The Benin Epilogue

  7. Anonymous imnakoya | Monday, January 15, 2007 6:36:00 pm |  

    What African needs most at this time is not a complete shift from the stereotypical and often negative reporting by the mainstream media but finding a balance between its problems and mishaps and the successes and positive 'breakthroughs' recorded on the continent. Striking this balance is crucial for a realistic perception of Africa and its people in the global eyes. Nobody is interested in a propaganda-like information dissemination; it's counter productive.