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November 13, 2012

Africans Must Tell Their Own Stories

Africa needs to start telling its own stories. It needs to encourage the stories that reflect the efforts of its people under some of the most daunting circumstances to lift its people lives.
Sadly upto now the bulk of reports coming out of Africa are about conflict, politicians and what the many foreigners say about what is not right about the continent.
The few positive stories tracking efforts and initiatives to help people overcome hardships and live better struggle to come out and are easily missed in the overwhelming stuff being churned out about chaos, corruption.
This is not to say that stories about the politics of the continent do not merit coverage. Indeed not, reporting on political developments, economic activities are crucial, for they touch human lives in very many ways.
It must be pointed out that most people really need to know what is being done by their compatriots to change lives and inspire hope for a better future; that not everybody is engaged in looting and plundering the resources of Mother Africa.
There has been a long standing call for more of the continent’s success stories to be told in order to inspire more people on the continent to focus on development initiative.
While there have been some laudable contributions, it is also clear that more needs to be done on the various fronts to increase the flow of hope-inspiring tales.
One such front is the website launched by the African Union inviting people to forward the names of maternal and newborn health champions – heroes and heroines that have helped save the lives of African mothers and their babies.
Launched as part of its Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), AU says the new website ( will become a place in which the stories of these champions will be featured.
“It doesn’t matter who they are…they might hold the highest office in the land, or perhaps they work as nurses, midwives and doctors; they could be teachers and doctors. They could be teachers educating girls and boys on safe motherhood, or district council officers ensuring safe and regular supplies for the clinic. Or they could be those, like the young owners of motorbike or bicycles who give up their leisure to ensure that a pregnant mother gets to the clinic in good time,” clarifies the AU, pointing to where most of the real stories of Africa’s struggles are to be found.
The approach is a sure way of making the continent learn more about what goes on within the member states and create the links that could see the peoples of the continent begin the appreciate their collective resourcefulness as opposed to the current situation where the tendency has been to look to the outside world for everything that is seen as reflecting development.
Lest we forget Africa for a long time traded more with the rest of the world than among member states precisely because of the myth then that there was hardly anything to sell to each other.
In the last few years, Africans have learnt that they have a lot to sell to each other and are opening up.
This is as it should be. It should however not be construed advocating for isolationism, rather it is urging Africans to tap the resourcefulness of its people to increase the pace of development and boost the confidence of its people.

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