How do journalists write about Africa?

GlobalPost
Nairobi, Kenya

Tristan Hargeisa
Correspondent Tristan McConnell reporting in Hargeisa, Somaliland (Narayan Mahon/Courtesy)

How do foreign correspondents write about Africa?

Do we travel widely getting to know the continent and its people, and write about the political and economic situations so that readers will have a better understanding? Or do we simply trot out tired clichés and promote prejudices?

In “How not to write about Africa,” a recent opinion piece for Foreign Policy, Laura Seay, an assistant professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, describing herself as “an old Africa hand,” bemoaned the foreign coverage of Africa. It makes her “cringe,” she wrote.

Continue reading How do journalists write about Africa?

Heart of Darkness to the hearts of people

The Times of London
Review of ‘Radio Congo’ by Ben Rawlence

Riding pillion on a motorbike piloted by a beer-loving priest through a rain sodden town lost in Congo’s endless jungle, Ben Rawlence arrives at an art deco villa built by a Belgian mining company half a century ago.

Like the town, Manono, in which it sits the villa was abandoned after independence, devoured by corruption and the voracious undergrowth, pillaged by war and eventually reclaimed by more foreigners, this time from the United Nations. Continue reading Heart of Darkness to the hearts of people

Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-I

GlobalPost
Nuba Mountains, Sudan

Sudanese families from Tess now live in caves after their town was destroyed by bombs dropped by the Sudan Armed Forces. They survive on leaves from trees and what little grains they have left. As much as 50 percent of the population has left for the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan (Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)
Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Part 1: South Kordofan: Sudan’s latest humanitarian disaster

From the place on a hilltop that Ibrahim Nahar now calls home there is a commanding view of the tree-dotted savannah stretching into the distance and of the skies above. Every few minutes his eyes dart upwards, warily searching for the ghostly shimmer of an aircraft.

Next to his rough wooden bed beneath a makeshift grass-roofed shelter a solitary pig, a few goats and a skinny chicken take turns scratching in the dirt for scraps. Tangles of clothes hang from the rafters, and nearby some of his dozen children peek out from the dark gaps and caves between huge boulders.

Continue reading Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-I

Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-II

GlobalPost
Yida, South Sudan

(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)
(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)

Part 2: Thousands flee to a new refugee camp in South Sudan

One night, driving in a pick-up on a road that was no more than tire tracks through the thick sand, we stopped for some hitchhikers: one was a rebel soldier, eight others civilians, one slumping heavily against a wooden crutch.

Later we passed a truck that rattled and shook, belching dark smoke and the stink of burned engine oil into the black night and pulled over among the acacia trees. It was rammed full of refugees.

Continue reading Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-II

Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-III

GlobalPost
Nuba Mountains, Sudan

(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)
(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)

Part 3: Sudan’s rebels uniting to topple Bashir’s Islamic regime

We were smuggled into South Kordofan, the province in Sudan in which the Nuba Mountains lie, by rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-North).

The people here fought alongside southern rebels (the SPLA) during a 22-year civil war that ended in 2005. SPLA leader John Garang had a vision of a reformed but unified Sudan in which all tribes and religions would get along together.

Continue reading Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-III

Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-IV

GlobalPost
Nuba Mountains, Sudan

(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)
(Trevor Snapp/Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting)

Part 4: Ragtag rebels vow to take South Kordofan

The war against Khartoum is political and ideological, but increasingly it looks as if it must be won or lost on the battlefield.

On a stretch of wooded savannah encircled by a natural amphitheater of hills, new recruits to the rebel army clutch sticks instead of guns as they practice drills. Among the spirited newcomers is 23-year-old Osman Hussein. “I am fighting for the rights of the Nuba people,” he says. “I am not afraid. Even if I die it will be fighting for my people and my land.”

Continue reading Nuba Mountains: Sudan’s Next Darfur? Part-IV