In his widely read sarcastic 2005 article, “How to Write About Africa,” Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina said to always use the word darkness, discuss poverty, and show pictures of starving children with flies on their faces. A popular Twitter campaign started by a young woman (age 22) called @lunarnomad countered these stereotypes with beautiful photos she and her followers posted on #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou. A young man raised in Benin in West Africa, who now lives in London, compared the regions, stating that in Benin people can count on a support network, life is less stressful, and people live better on what’s considered a low wage. Naofal Ali explained, “In Africa family and friendship mean so much to us…someone always has your back.” Old people live with their families, child care is not a problem, suicide is low, so that “your social revolution is our everyday life. Sharing is not a new business trend in Africa. We’ve got it in our DNA.”
In an article about “Five Myths about Africa,” Kimenyi and Westbury point out that major long-lasting wars ended as in Liberia and Rwanda. Mobile phone use is growing faster in Africa than any other region used to enhance the economy with money transfers on the phone helping the continent’s sustained economic growth. Youth-led movements for democracy sometimes succeed as when they prevented Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade from extending his term in office and they organize Occupy Nigeria and student movements in South Africa, discussed below. Rappers sing about social issues, including Angola rappers who were jailed for allegedly planning a coup against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2016. Hip-hop musicians mobilized voters during the 2012 elections in Senegal.
Naofal Ali, “I Grew Up in Africa,” Medium.com, September 27, 2016.
Mwangi Kimenyi and Andrew Westbury, “Five Myths about Africa,” Brookings Institution, March 16, 2012.