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Africa: Publish or Perish

February 10, 2009

Africa: Publish or Perish

There is the growing need for Africa and Africans to tell their own stories in the way they want and how they want people to perceive them. My stay in Europe has made me to understand that people have very parochial knowledge of Africa. For some, it is even a country. Sara Palin, Republican vice Presidential candidate during the 2008 US presidential elections confirmed this. On the contrary, African school children spend their time learning about others.

 

The continent has been largely covered and represented in various media (books, radio, television etc) by people who have their own agenda and their own audience. This has led to the gross misinformation and disinformation of people about the continent. I may not blame some of those who write.

 

My University professor once said, “Anything that is not printed does not exist.” He is absolutely correct. But, most of what is written on Africa is either completely false or representation of half truths. Because of centuries of this kind of negative reporting, many Africans turn to think negatively about themselves and their continent whereas, they have a lot of potentials which they are not exploiting.

Valid opinions versus documented lies

 

In some of our efforts to tell what can be called the real stories, we have come to a confrontation of what I call valid opinions versus documented lies. Personally, I do not just read and believe what has been published, be it in the most respected media or by the most respected person in the world. Many who have the means to publish in most cases have misrepresented the continent. It may not be their fault though.

 

When I told one of my lecturers that more than 80 percent of Cameroon is covered by mobile telephone network, he disputed that because, he read in a book published some years back indicating that mobile telephone coverage Cameroon is deplorable.

 

Africans need to write their own books and make sure they are used in schools. Government website need to be constantly updated. It is rather very unfortunate that in some areas like Francophone Cameroon, over 70 percent of text books used are written by French people in France or publish there.

 

Africans must write their own books for African schools. Not even books on languages like French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish etc must be written by native speakers for us. We can speak and write these languages in our own way. The bottom line being that we, including native speakers, understand each other when we speak or write.

 

 An English man wrote that there are female chiefs in my village. That is completely false but unfortunately, this is what many English people think because the book was documented (published).

 

 

Africans need to copy from real revolutions like the American Revolution from Britain, French Revolution of 1789, the Iranian revolution of 1979 that led to the chasing away of the neo colonial Shah regime. What happened in the 60s described as the “wind of change” was really a pseudo one.

 

African journalists, sociologist anthropologists, scientists, historians etc, let us write our own stories. Politicians and leaders, let us learn to use our own local material, promote local research etc.

 

 It is completely nonsensical to keep on using “foreign” books when our sons and daughters can publish and some are doing so.

Journalists should not just relay stories from media without second thoughts. Let us make some research and independent commentary. We can relay the images. Let us at least, make our own words and add to them rather copy and paste everything as we work in the media.

 

We must then publish or perish. Let us not only write what our "funders/donors" expect us to write about Africa. Let us write about what can move our continent forward in all spheres. As we do so, the battle of valid opinions versus documented half truths and lies continues.

Go Back

Thanks to the internet, the cost of publishing is so much cheaper. As an example, I had no idea who Aloysius Agenda was, and what ideas he espouses until I came across an article by him on Up Station Mountain Club. Agenda's first article was seriously attacked on Up Station, but that is what happens. Get over it and keep writing.

All what you have said is true, its time Africans stand up to build a good and just value and image of their continent. There are alot of false information about our continent all over the world written and published by some "whites" that came here for tourism and just thpught that they can make money by writting what they think is the truth.Its very true that Africa and Africans have great potential but selling ourselves is not all we need to become developed, there is more to development than just our image though its an important element for development.The rate of dictatorship is rampant in Africa, African leaders consider the countries in which they rule to be their homesAlso, there are alot of ancient and old rulers and leaders, due to this new ideas and means of development can't be put in place because there are no vibrant youths at strategic positions to make things happen.Also with the high rate of globalisation, things have become more computerised, ao Africans can even creat websites and publish articles in the internet, it will be easy and faster for the true Africa to be known by all allover the world and this will help in selling our image and hence development. By NENEJune 2nd, 2009

I am of the conviction that,Africa can only be what Africans and it friends want Africa to be.I therefore in strong terms advocate for an effective African civil society that will present this agenda to our African friends.We are a great set of folks with magnificent talents to become soldiers of the pen and put ideas in blue print and encourage audience participation. In this light we shall gradually realise the African dream of absolute autonomy.Bela Primus(The Hague)

This is an entausiasic African whos has as others taken economic save heaven in the united state.In a nut shell the thesis engulf to the situation of Africa as per publishing is a hard nut to crack.After my own long acquisition of knowlege i had to leave some foot prints in the world of literature great and God made "obni"writers like Linus T ASONG,CHINUA ACHEBE,WOLE SOYINKA EXIST AFRICANS should forget of lord TENNYSON,william blake and rely on this guys who can best give AFRICAN PHILOSOPYH IN PUBLICATION a good colour.IT IS TRUE IF WE DONT PUBLISH WE SHALL PERISH NO BODY SHOULD CHAMLY DISINFORM U OF WHO U ARE. AFRICAN COULD AS WELL BE THE WESTERN ALL WE NEED IS SELF IDENTIFICATION.LETS INDENTIFY OUR CONTINENT OURSELF,IDEAS AND RESOURCE.EUROPE AND OTHER ADVANCE COUNTRIE ARE WHAT THEY ARE BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY TOOK FROM AFRICA SO IF THEY TOOK SUCH FROM US WHY NOT MAKE USE OF THEM OUR SELF BECOME LIKE THEM OR EVEN MORE .IT IS POSSIBLE LETS USE FORIGN PUBLICATION AS REFERENCES LETS STUDY AFRICAN HISTORY AND PHILOSIPHY LETS KNOW OUR STAND AND BELIEF IN US WE SHALL SUCCED by AJONG TANYINKE ISAAC



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