Constructing images of Africa
From troubled pan-African media to sprawling Nollywood
in Images of Africa
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In response to the perceived negative images of Africa, a number of pan-African media have emerged and are attempting to develop an alternative news narrative of the continent. However, faced with myriad challenges – both practical and ideological – most have had only limited success. Using pan-African(ist) media initiatives including the pan-African News Agency (PANA), SABC-Africa and South Africa’s Naspers-owned Multichoice as examples, the chapter addresses questions on why a successful pan-Africanist media project remains a ‘dream deferred’. The chapter challenges the conceptual framework within which some of the media initiatives are anchored. It chapter argues that the failure of pan-African media initiatives to acknowledge the continent’s diversity, even incoherence, undermines attempts to develop counter-narratives capable of telling the ‘African’ stories they claim to be pursuing. The chapter moves on to explore key political, economic and institutional challenges the pan-African media project faces, ranging from the domination of international communication structures by Transnational News Agencies, to the severe financial constraints faced by continental media upstarts. Finally, the chapter suggests ways in which we may re-conceptualise the idea of a pan-African consciousness and the pan-African(ist) media agenda.

Images of Africa

Creation, negotiation and subversion

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