Monday, October 05, 2009

Arise, the hymn

For a mildly irritating piece in the New York Times on Arise magazine and its equivalents, click here. The ignorance of its opening paragraph is quite shocking. Allow me to quote:

"Sub-Saharan Africa does not bring to mind an image of a woman with perfectly manicured nails flipping through glossy magazines in search of the latest handbag or celebrity haircut. Yet such women are there, and in far greater numbers than the news media’s portrayal of Africa might suggest."

Does Robb Young (the reporter) imagine that African women are all digging the earth or begging at the side of the road with babies on their backs? How many people would agree that This Day is "the country's leading newspaper?" Can a magazine really be thought of as African when the editor goes by the name of Helen Jennings and lives in London? Having said that and for the sake of balance, Arise does have great production values and does project a positive image of Nigeria/Africa into the world..


Anonymous,  12:02 am  

but he is not far from the truth as he accurately describes how africans (women) in general are portrayed to the outside world. You don't see celebrities hugging hungry looking white kids in europe or america, but they see them doing so all the time with african kids. Madonna has single handedly put malawi on the map, and i won't be surprised if a lot of americans believe that she is worth more than the country in fortune.
Aside from South Africa, the rest of Black Africa is portrayed in the worst light. So the article does little to irritate, it only is, in a sense trying to enlighten the rest of the world that SHOCK HORROR African women read the glossies in the midst of pervading suffering, hunger, poverty, violence and the like. HA!

Anonymous,  5:57 am  

he is just saying the truth, duh.

Peace,  2:17 pm  

I agree with ano 12:02 re: the opening paragraph.That *is* very to the letter of how African women (and Africans, in general) are portrayed. I bet even some Africans don't immediately think abundance or stylish woman reading "Arise" when sub saharan Africa is mentioned.

Also, as far as I know, you own Cassava Republic with your wife. Does that make Cassava Republic any less African? Yes, an African editor would be great for "Arise" but in the absence of one, we'll take what we can get...which isn't a shabby alternative by any means.

Jeremy 2:30 pm  

Peace: there is a difference. Cassava Republic is based on the continent, engaged in the development of local talent and with local staff. Arise is based in the UK and appears to use international contributors.

Iredotp 3:10 pm  

Awww, leave them to it! I mean they've got to sell their magg rite? Anything to make their readers happy abi? Even if it is the 'gospel truth' according to the london based editor.....

Wilfredw 4:37 pm  

Not everyone with an English sounding name and operating from London is not African . Case in point, I am (Wilfred Wright), based in the UK and work for the African Virtual School. However, I am from Freetown (we do have some English sounding names) as a result of a resettlement program organised by one William Wilberforce / Granville Sharp some 200 years ago!

NaijaTHISDAYlurver,  7:00 pm  

For one, anyone can call any magazine 'Nigeria's leading newspaper' so the qualifier is ok. Plus, I like ThisDay too.

The intro to the piece only retold the typical American ignorance. Don't blame the messenger, even if he's cut from the same ignorant cloth.

culturesoup 4:26 pm  

What i find irritating about the piece is not so much what was said but the tone which implies that the writer is not part of the media that is guilty of perpetuating these views of Africans.

Anonymous,  8:01 am  

I think I agree that Thisday is the leading newspaper in the country. The flagship used to be the Guardian but Thisday is now considered by most as the flagship. I also know of no other newspaper house that parades the kind of solid management team as Thisday (including its alumni staff). NEXT printing quality is superb but its early days to judge yet.

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