NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The cradle of mankind has suffered immensely both in the hands of foreigners and local despots. With a history that is written with the souls of Africans who were forcefully shipped to faraway lands as slaves and the blood of Africans who were killed during colonisation, fight for freedom and neo colonial wars, the continent has known turmoil.
It still continues to search for the elusive rest as it hurts from the internal and external sources of pain that continue to be inflicted.
Of all the battles Africa has fought, the framing of the continent by western media as a ‘hot bed of terror’, ‘hopeless continent’, ‘dark continent’ among other negative stereotypes is the battle it’s yet to fight and win.
On May 13, 2000 the world woke up to a headline that was plastered on the front cover of the Economist, an influential British Weekly magazine. A story titled the ‘Hopeless Continent’ formed part of the cover of the magazine together with a depiction of Africa as a man carrying a missile launcher.
The past weekend, social media was awash with a story that was done by the same magazine titled “Paul Kagame, feted and feared.”
The story claimed that “Rwanda is a more prosperous country than ever before and it is also a repressed one.”
Opinion on the article was varied.
“Kagame fits the stereotype of the African dictator because they are becoming few and few in the continent,” noted Prof Levi Obonyo, Dean, department of Communication Language and Performing Arts, Daystar University.
“The West planted the seeds of the genocide through colonial anthropology & Christianity. The Germans, Belgians, Catholic church are implicated,” tweeted Dr Wandia Njoya, the HoD, department of Communication Language and Performing Arts, Daystar University.
Obonyo calls the western framing of the African story as a case of ‘parachute’ analysis that lacks the ability to appreciate the local text.
Closer home, Kenya has been a victim of the ‘parachute’ narrative, especially from the US giant broadcaster CNN.
In March 2013, the Government of Kenya demanded an explanation from CNN over a video clip that was aired and showed alleged militia arming themselves in the Rift Valley, ahead of the polls.
The clip showed militia armed with guns made from iron piping and bullets bought from the black market.
Kenyans on Twitter (KoT) didn’t hesitate in calling out CNN’s reporting as a fabrication.
Before Kenyans recovered from the ‘militia story’, CNN was at it again describing Kenya as a “hotbed of terror” just before US President Barack Obama made his maiden trip to Kenya while in office.
“President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a hotbed of terror,” read the opening sentence of the CNN’s web story.
KoT did not hesitate to respond, branding Kenya as a hot bed of beauty.
However, that has not stopped the determined Western media to push their narrative even if reality on the ground points out otherwise.
“Even if a factual story is filed by a local journalist that contradicts the western frame, they would rather ignore it and maintain their own framing,” noted Obonyo.
Earlier in the year, countries including the USA, among others withdrew from the participation in the IAAF U18 world Championships which just ended citing crime and terror.
The US was the sixth team to pull out of the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championships that was hosted in Nairobi.
In a world where terror has been witnessed in countries that were perceived to be safe e.g. UK, US, Germany, Belgium, France among others, pundits say that it smirks of double standards to brand specific places as prone to terror.
“The State Department’s security summary includes risks for all types of crime, from theft to violent crime and terrorism,” read the statement.
But when an ecstatic crowd estimated to be over 55,000 filled up the Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani Stadium for the last day of the IAAF Championships, it was a clear indication that indeed Kenya is a hot bed of beauty.
There were no reported incidents like terror scare, violent crime, theft or terror. It went on to break the record as the largest crowd ever at a World Under 18 Championships over 50,000 spectators.