The Economist’s “Aspiring Africa”

Africa’s flavour of the month again with the English language news weekly, The Economist. The March 02 2013 edition of the financial news journal declares that Africa is ‘Aspiring’ on its cover, with editorial that confidently states that “African lives have already greatly improved over the past decade” and that “the next ten years will be even better”.


This continent has had a troubled relationship with that media brand. Who can forget the reductive Afro-pessimistic cover of May 11 2000 that pigeon-hold Africa as a “hopeless continent”? Fortunately that disastrous report wasn’t only bad for the continent, but raised much ire for London edited international affairs publication that reduced an entire continent to a bad stereotype. For the most part offshore media don’t do us many favours because of lazy journalism and playing up old stereotypes. (although there are exceptions like The New York Times and its brilliant JHB Bureau Chief Polgreen Polgreen). The lesson in the media’s ongoing fascination with Africa – we need to tell our own stories.

For a great local read on Africa go to the blog Africa Is Not A Country – some of the smartest writing about the continent I’ve read in a long time.