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“The Africa they do not show you on TV”



I often times find black people, Africans in particular, to be very annoying. Now granted I am a black woman and I love my fellow black people but we do need a little introspection. I am happy that we are now “woke” and no longer follow blindly the customs and beliefs set for us by colonialism but in our wokeness we are annoying beyond belief.

Let me furnish an example; it has become a trend to show beautiful pictures of breathtaking locations that are in Africa with the caption “The Africa they do not show you on TV.” Who are they? Why should “they” show you anything on TV networks I presumed are owned by this mysterious “they”? I can understand and appreciate the need to show a different side of Africa that is different from the one being showed by mainstream media but the entitlement and whining in the caption always shocks me.

Just a few days ago a proponent of wokeness shared what they must have believed was incredibly profound. I do not recall the exact words but it was about how the Bible has been translated into all African languages but “they” did not translate Mathematics and Science textbooks because “they” do not want us to learn but merely become captives of religion. Of course, this was followed by comments saying how deep it is and how the white man does not want us to learn and he was lauded far and wide for the depth of his intellectualism.

The truth however is this, how long has English been spoken in Africa? How many Africans are so fluent in the English language that we can translate anything? Millions! Millions of black people can and do speak English more fluently than some Europeans. We have the technical skills to translate any textbook of our choosing into African languages if we so desired but we choose not to.

Either because there is no need since we can understand the textbooks just fine as they are or simply because we do not care enough to. We would much rather wait for the mysterious “they” to come and do it for us. As for the beautiful places that “they” do not show us on TV, Africans have been releasing they own content for years now. There is literally nothing stopping us from showing a side of Africa that we want to the world. Who must use their platform to promote our ideals? No one! If we want to display certain things it falls to us to create and market that content.

The truth is that as Africans we feel like the west and their descendants owe us certain things, maybe because we believe they stole from us which may very well be true depending of course on how you look at it but whether we were done wrong thousands of years ago the truth is we will not gain back what we believe rightfully belong to us by sitting around and whining all day.

We complain that the Africa shown on TV is not the representation we want and yet we pay for that content. Television is a business and it makes sense to keep producing what we keep consuming. These is not even limited to television, Africans regularly consume products produced by non-Africans often at the expense of their fellow African manufacturers and then turn around to complain that those companies do nothing to support Africa but why should they if we are giving them support without any need to do anything worthwhile for us.

It is not even that those companies necessarily hate Africans it is just basic business sense that if you can get something without spending a lot then there is no reason to spend a lot. If Africans demanded respect or representation for their continued support of media houses or products then we would get it or better yet represented ourselves in a way we deem fitting on our own TV channels and media. We get what we demand but apart from embittered Facebook posts what we demand is nothing and therefore what we will get is nothing.

It is honestly annoying to see a group of people with buying power to make things happen reduce themselves to whiny children on social media platforms and then turn around to spend their money on the very things they complain about. Here in Lesotho, we complained long and hard about South African companies who did nothing for us during the Covid-19 crisis but who do we continue to support over Lesotho companies?

The very ones we keep complaining about. If we want a robust economy that is owned by Basotho then we only have to build up Basotho owned companies but we will not do that because we do not want to build something from the ground up. We will not support a Basotho owned grocery store because it does not stock everything we want but we fail to realise that all the major chain stores today also started very small and through continued purchasing were able to become what they are today.

Instead of taking up our cameras and microphones and visiting beautiful African destinations so we can show them on TV we save up to go to destinations like Dubai and Bali and then turn around to say someone did not show us the beautiful Africa on TV. We need only take a bus to see the Africa “they” do not show us on TV but how can we when we are waiting for “they” to show us?

The Africa we want to see is there waiting for us, we simply do not want to see it. Ironically enough people from the West know the beautiful destinations in Africa because they actually visit those places.

Thakane Rethabile Shale

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