Jeff’s View – Out of Africa

Out of Africa

Every day I am inundated with news out of Africa. I receive an average of 50 newsletters from tourism stakeholders marketing their services, explaining pricing structures, offering specials and showing breath taking pictures of their local fauna and flora. I cannot possibly read every newsletter, but the general message is clear – Africa is beautiful, Africa is affordable and I should choose them as partners for my business.

There is however another source of media which I seek out daily and those are the large international news agency sites like BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and a few smaller African based news websites such as News 24 SA. These agencies, like most others, make their fortunes by reporting mostly negative media – and Africa is full of that. If you are looking for story on corruption, disease or violent crime I’ll bet you 5 bucks it won’t take you longer than a minute until you get your teeth into something really juicy. Just take the business-man from Bristol who is accused of murdering his bride while on honeymoon in South Africa. According to the husband, the couple were apparently abducted, driven to a township and the husband was then set free (untouched) while his wife was shot. The husband was either extremely lucky or as suspected, guilty as sin. But the point is (if he is guilty) why did he choose South Africa? Well, it’s quite clear he isn’t stupid – He believes that in a country like South Africa, with such negative media, he’d get away with the crime. He was counting on the media to act as his accomplice, but luckily it seems not to be working in this particular case.

But, once I am done reading all the main stream press and feeling suitably depressed I search for a pick-me-up. I have found a fix to offset all the negativity with news sources such as Africa The Good News or Africa News which usually put a positive spin and seek out Africa’s successes. Unfortunately not many people are interested in reporting  the good news these days, especially in Africa – I mean really, where is the money in that?

I was very surprised however to find a good news story on BBC today – the Gorilla numbers in Central Africa have reached the whopping number of 780 animals. I must admit that the article was quite well hidden and ended with the fact that the numbers are hugely under threat – the downer just in case you were getting too happy about their numbers having nearly doubled in the last 30 years.

I dream that one day we’ll have news like this on the front page of The New York Times with a headline like: Huge Success in Africa as Gorilla Numbers Double

…mmm one day.

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