[Originally published in The Tablet]A hysteria-fueled media paints a continent’s people in grossly stereotypical strokes. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Over the past few years, those with an interest in Africa’s future have sought to overturn what the writer Chimamanda Adichie has termed “the danger of a single story.” Until recently, the single story about Africa, perpetuated mainly through the Western media, had been that of a “dark” continent rife with disease, famine, poverty, and backward attitudes, behaviors, and practices. Yet until the advent of Ebola, a more multifaceted portrayal of modern Africa and its people had been working its way into the mainstream. The world was starting to hear about Africa’s growth and potential, its entrepreneurial and ambitious people, its nations with faster economic growth than any in the West, and the continent’s growing middle class. Unfortunately, the media coverage of Ebola in the past month alone may have taken us back to square…
[Originally published in The Tablet]
The militant group Boko Haram is far more audacious than even this recent horrific, and unresolved, mass abduction lets on
On the evening of April 14, 2014, hundreds of young women between the ages of 16 and 18 were abducted from Government Secondary School, an all-girls’ high school in Chibok, a small farming town in Borno State, in the northeast of Nigeria. They had gone to school to sit their final exams.
Even though schools in that region had been closed due to growing terrorist activity aimed at school children, it had been decided that the girls’ education was too precious and too important to forfeit, and the school had been opened anyway. It now appears that this was a very costly, albeit well-intentioned, mistake.
That evening, large numbers of heavily armed men arrived at the school campus claiming to be local military officials. Gaining the girls’ confidence, the men persuaded them that they were not in danger. However, before the girls…