( This is the real Africa: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z17mONzDCCI )

Poverty, wars, coups, corruption, famine and drought. This is how the US media portrays Africa. As a result the average American simply dismisses Africa as hopeless, poor and backward. However, the picture is quite different for those who have visited or lived in the Motherland. The continent is more than just rural country inhabited by wild animals and troubled peoples. It has big cities, subways, cars, movie theaters, malls, highways, computers, industries, stadiums and cell phones and more.                                                          

The media only focuses on the disasters and the conflicts without examining the underlying social and political history. Take, for example, the land issue in the nation of Zimbabwe. Never is it mentioned that whites first entered the territory because of a gesture of good neighborliness and friendship extended by King Lobengula of Matabeleland in 1888. Ever since, manipulation by the white settlers has shaped the issue of land into the sometimes violent always contentious one that it is today, not only in Zimbabwe but throughout the continent.                                        

Journalist Mort Rosenblum has criticized the American media’s obsession with ratings and its promotion of entertainment over accurate information. A study by Steve Asking in 1992 found that a story of hunger in Africa was only deemed suitable for US coverage after it was discovered that elephants were also dying in the drought.                                             

Recall the graphic images of Somalia, Angola and the genocide in Rwanda. Did the media ever explain the background or histoy of any of these catastrophes? Now remember what we saw on the news about what happened on September 11th. Not for one second did any graphic images of the dead and dying appear on the tv screen, even though 3000 people perished.              

Nonetheless, Africa still remains beautiful. From sweeping mountain ranges to lush river estuaries, from wide-open spaces to teeming forests, from desert dunes to marsh marrows, Africa has a unique harvest of color, shape, sound and texture. And this is the dawn of the African century. The ancient land prepares for renewal. However, the media does not want you to see this, to understand this, to nurture this. Please, all of you, keep an open mind, and an open heart. Engage the African people and the African continent. Join us as we embark on what is certain to be a fantastic Rensaissance.

( This is the real Africa: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z17mONzDCCI )

(By Ibrahim Bukenya, from the book, Read Like Your Life Depends On It, www.readlikeyourlifedependsopnit.com, presented by Dr. Arthur Lewin, www.AfricaUnlimited.com.)