Cynthia Eyram Ofori-Dwumfuo: Drowned by the noise of stereotypes

  • SumoMe

“People think that Africa’s synonymous to charity”
(Blitz The Ambassador)

What do Liberians, Ivoirians, Ugandans, Mozambicans and Egyptians have in common? All their stories are going to unheard, drowned by the noise of stereotypes and depicted as one single thing, minimizing the beautiful complexity of Africa (a 2304p video watched at 16p resolution).

If I stopped someone on the street and asked the person for the first three words that come to her or his mind to describe the “country” of Africa, the answer would probably be «famine, poverty and wars» or «AIDS, Bono and NGOs». These words are nothing more than sounds or, to be more precise, noise: the noise of stereotypes, which distorts the authentic image of Africa.

In stereotyped Africa, most people live in huts, speak the African language, walk around naked and have lion and crocodile as pets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSbQarLojjA

All the stereotypical images have built up a false identity, which has robbed Africans of their dignity and their capabilities, transforming us into a tertium quid worthy only of pity: they always feel sorry for us! #OhChale!

Yes, it’s true: today over 70 percent of Africans live on less than $2 a day and their life expectancy is less than sixty years. Yes, it’s true: nearly half of the continent’s 54 countries are ruled by undemocratic governments and corruption has brought Africa to her knees.

«But the near-exclusive focus on African pathologies – and the media’s absorption on what some call the “pornography of pain” – presents only part of African reality and not the most interesting or significant part either.» (Manifesto for a new image of Africa, G. Pascal Zachary)

There are more poor people in China than there are in Africa and yet Africa is still portrayed as a black Continent from which nothing good can come. This portrayal has become a social stigma, and this stigma is part of our history, our life, our identity. «My personality determined my identity but I soon found out that […] my identity had already been shaped for me»

Due to the acoustic pollution of stereotypes, people are becoming deaf to the vibrant rising voice of Africa.

«Today African economies are considered among the fastest growing with impressive average rate of growth. […] Progressive conversations are taking place on social media providing a platform for entrepreneurial networking, idea sharing and social activism» (e.g. Ghana Decides).

But all these efforts go unheard, drowned by the noise of stereotypes.

Hence, Cynthia encourages «everyone to educate themselves. To look for information not only on Africa, but by Africans telling their own stories».

Marcus Garvey once said: «None knows when the hour of Africa’s redemption cometh. It is in the wind, it is coming. One day like a storm it will be here. When that day comes all Africa will stand together».  I guess now is the hour!


Posted by: Theophilus (@tphilus)

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