2010-02-11

Ask any average Belgian, or any European for that matter, to name three words he associates with sub-Saharan Africa. The odds are big he will come up with for instance ‘war’, ‘hunger’ and ‘rape’.

The chances are very slim his answer will be ‘Ghana’, ‘Mozambique’ and ‘Botswana’. Now that’s a pity, for in a continent raged with war, hunger and corruption, these three African states all deserve a better understanding, all three for very different reasons. Take Botswana, that became a middle-income country with a broad middle class, due to its diamond industry. Or take Ghana, the first African country the new African American president Barack Obama picked out for a visit – thanks to Ghana’s healthy and solid democracy.

Will this series of stories then just become ‘one good news show’ on black Africa? On the contrary, it will be a series on a continent marked by extremes, but also on Africa as a work in progress. That’s why Mozambique fits this list, too. After a long and bloody civil war and a late independence from Portugal, Mozambique recently made great progress, as the booming capital Maputo clearly illustrates.

Africa indeed is marked by extremes, but that cannot mean it only deserves the current black-and-white stories we watch on tv, and we read in Europe’s print media. Because Africa is a continent in constant change, it deserves a more coloured journalistic approach.

Ine Roox

Ine Roox is a Belgian journalist.

Supported
A working grant of € 8.366 allocated on 30/11/2009.
ID
FPD/2009/768

De Standaard (Flemish daily newspaper)
Starting 06/03/2010

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