Africa’s image problem

Kenya’s fight with foreign journalists misguided

The discussion of how to write or report about Africa has been a hot topic in the recent past with many Africans holding the opinion that the western media is hell bent on painting a negative picture of Africa. This was especially evident in the recently concluded elections in Kenya when foreign journalists including those from CNN were treated to a lot of ridicule about their news coverage. Michaela Wrong a well-known British journalist and the author of the very eye opening and bold book about corruption in Kenya, ‘It is our turn to eat’ a whistle blower’s story, especially bore a big brunt of this hostility. 

While there is no doubt that there are journalists both international and local with questionable agendas, there is nothing as scary as a campaign to intimidate those who think differently. As an African author, I believe that the question of how to write about Africa is not only unnecessary but amounts to trying to impose or restrict other truths and realities. While we Africans might want the rest of the world to respect and see the progress we are making, the truth is that we can’t force them to do so. It will take time for the rest of the world to appreciate that Africa is no longer the den of poverty, a place of sham elections and where corruption is applauded.  Until then, intimidating the international media will only serve to reinforce all the negatives that most of the world already thinks about Africa.