Hi, Quartz Africa readers!
Whose story is it anyway?
Until the lion has his own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story.
That well-known Ewe proverb from West Africa is pretty much playing on loop as a daily soundtrack for any editor who has to cover the African continent with an international news organization. If it’s not, it should be.
Africa’s recent political and economic history leaves us in a situation where Africans aren’t always in the most advantaged position to tell our story to the outside world in modern news media. Traditionally, we’ve always had some of the talent, but very rarely the distribution.
There’s a long way to go yet, but the internet is helping to solve some of the distribution challenge. And there are numerous programs at home and abroad working hard to accelerate or solve the talent shortage and improve understanding of how to cover the continent in general.
One such program was unexpectedly at a conference in Madrid last week organized by Spanish government agency Casa Africa, partnering with major news houses like El País and the Efe news agency. They convened African journalists and Spanish journalists who cover Africa to discuss and champion more coverage of Africa in mainstream Spanish press.
It’s easy to see why the Spanish press hasn’t prioritized Africa coverage. Relative to Britain or France, Spain’s roots in Africa are shallow (former colony Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state where Spanish is the official language). But the irony is that Spain is the closest European country to mainland Africa. It is also ground zero (along with Italy) for one of Africa’s biggest stories today: migration.
Migration and how you tell, or illustrate, ‘someone else’s’ story are tackled by Siddhartha Mitter here. He’s writing about the New York Times’ decision this week to publish a front cover with a half-page sized photo including dead bodies of African migrants on a boat trying to get to Europe.
International media coverage is getting better, with more nuance and a wider variety of story genres on Africa, but there’s no doubt the lion still needs to tell her own story.
Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa editor
Stories from this week
Nigeria doesn’t know exactly how much oil it produces. But the government is certain that $17 billion of oil revenue is missing, notes Chris Stein in Lagos. The problem is the country doesn’t measure its oil production based on how much individual oil wells produce, but rather how much oil leaves through its export terminals, say analysts.
Did the African Union issue a #BlackLivesMatter US travel advisory? A satirical advisory warning Africans from visiting the US following police killings of black men was taken so seriously the AU had to release a statement denying it did so. East African political cartoonist, Gado, who wrote the mock advisory, says Africans have been fighting police brutality for decades so can relate to the problem.
South Africa’s university protests aren’t going away anytime soon. And they shouldn’t have to, writes Lynsey Chutel from Johannesburg. The students have a constitutionally-protected right to access higher learning, but South Africa’s budget can’t cover its own high-minded values, leaving the ANC-led government in a difficult place.
Ghana takes down a statue of ’racist’ Gandhi. After weeks of controversy, Ghana’s government stepped in and ordered that a statue of Indian peace activist Mahatma Gandhi be relocated from the University of Ghana campus. Gandhi’s words about black Africans during his time in South Africa have joined other controversies in tarnishing his revered image in recent years.
Kenya’s journalists are facing more danger as election nears. Over the last few months, several journalists have been harassed, beaten, poisoned and even killed in the country. The situation is escalating as the country gears up for next year’s elections, writes Joshua Masinde in Nairobi.
A free online Kiswahili-Chinese dictionary helps Chinese in Africa learn the language. Yuning Shen, a Chinese lexicographer, has been working on the first online Kiswahili-Chinese dictionary for the past four years. Lily Kuo in Nairobi explains Shen’s goal isn’t just to help Chinese working in Africa, but to promote one of the continent’s most widely spoken languages.
Chart of the Week
Africa’s hotel-building boom. Up to $1.7 billion will be invested in hotels across sub-Saharan Africa in 2017. Yet despite the building boom in cities like Kigali, Addis Ababa, Accra, and Nairobi, the number of hotel rooms still won’t be enough for the growing number of tourists—38 million in 2015—who visit the region.
A Quartz special project
The map of the internet. Much like highways and tunnels, the internet is a vast global infrastructure made up of wires, cables, and machines. But what does it look like? And how does it work? In this 11-part series our reporters explore how the explosion in online video has quietly rewired the internet, how humble latex laid the foundations for the global web, how authoritarian countries apply censorship using “choke points,” and more besides.
Other things we liked
How Boko Haram exploits memory and history. Anaylsts often say poverty and inaction from the Nigerian government played a key role in the evolution and sustenance Boko Haram’s terror reign in northeast Nigeria. But as Atta Barkindo writes for Africa Research Institute, the group has also been adept at co-opting language, history and memory to bolster their message and garner support in Nigeria’s northeast and surrounding regions.
How international mediation has repeatedly failed South Sudan. After three years of a brutal civil war, regional and international mediation has yet to achieve meaningful peace in South Sudan. The reconciliation efforts have always zeroed in on creating a power-sharing strategy among the warring groups. But instead of pushing for fundamental reforms the international community has repeatedly made the mistake of treating the warring elite as if they are respectable statesmen writes William Davidson in African Arguments,.
Quartz Africa is hiring
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Keep an eye on
Germany’s Merkel on Africa visit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Mali, Niger and Ethiopia, starting Sunday. One topic at the top of her agenda will be how to stem migration flows (paywall) to Europe. Next week, after she returns to Berlin, Merkel will meet the presidents of Nigeria and Chad, where combating terrorism will also be on the cards.
South Africa’s public protector to question president Zuma one last time. Thuli Madonsela, the woman leading South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog, plans to go out with one last fight: quizzing the president about his questionable friends before she leaves office on Oct. 15.
Africa Film Finance Summit (Oct. 13-14). The Pan-African film conference will be held in Nairobi to find ways to promote and develop the film and audiovisual industry in Africa.
Thomson Reuters Africa Summit (Oct. 13 – 14). An-African knowledge-sharing event will be held in Cape Town to bring together business leaders looking to grow their business on the continent.
Our best wishes for a productive week ahead. Please send any news, comments, cheaper school fee guarantees and US travel advisories to email@example.com. You can follow us on twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.