In most spheres of public discourse in the U.S., African nations are routinely grouped together as one large mass of starving people and corrupted governments.
With most news reports centered on the uprisings in Egypt and Libya, Africa isn’t grouped together as a homogenous unit. The rest of the continent isn’t even discussed.
Only the uprisings in the northern part of the world’s second-largest continent (one that could fit the U.S., China, Eastern Europe and many other countries within its parameters) have been discussed–and they have been regionally described as The Middle East and nothing more.
The denial of African voices in mainstream media has led to an increasing role in independent media all across the continent. Firoze Manji, Editor-in-Chief of Pambazuka News, a foundation-funded indy site that provides pan-African news stories and commentaries, discussed on The Real News Network this deplorable silencing of African voices, whose uprisings in Gabon, The Ivory Coast, Djibouti, South Africa and elsewhere have been largely ignored by most media outlets.
He explained how the indy media shouldn’t be the only ones covering what’s happening in the rest of the African continent, considering the nature of these demonstrations, many of which are similar the the ones debated every day in the Western world–democratic uprisings, human rights abuses, etc.
Manji also noted that most of the protests in various African countries are the product of “30 years of structural adjustment programmes” — privatization policies enforced by the World Bank and IMF.
These fights are, thus, crucial to the entire world. They demonstrate the structural inequality and corruption that continues to lead the African continent into various forms of chaos and conflict.
Other indy sites from the 50+ nations that comprise the continent have sprung up over the last decade to address this common trend of ignoring Africa: Afrol News and allAfrica.com are two other examples.
Hopefully other indy sites in the U.S. and Europe can begin to more thoroughly document the work done by these sites to make sure that Africa is not, once again, excluded from our constructed mapping of geography.