"Africa Rising" or not? Change the narrative on Africa to a dialogue: Nancy Kacungira at TEDxEuston (Video)

“Africa Rising” or not? Change the narrative on Africa to a dialogue: Nancy Kacungira at TEDxEuston
“Africa Rising” is a moniker for the continent that has been in vogue recently. Africa has even been referred to recently as the “Hopeful Continent”. This is a welcome albeit simplistic change from references that had been used in the past for Africa, such as the “Hopeless Continent”.

Africa is a continent of 54 countries, over 2,000 languages, and over 3,000 ethnic groups. Africa’s landmass is significantly larger than that of India, China, North America, and Western Europe combined. Put differently, Africa is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe combined. Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, after Asia. With a population of 1.1B, Africa is the world’s second-most-populous continent, after Asia.

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Yet somehow, it makes sense in certain circles to sum up all of Africa with simple monikers.

“Who was consulted when the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative came up?” asks Nancy Kacungira. “Did you guys get a handout? Maybe you did. I could be wrong,” she jokes.

“What we need is not narratives. What we need is dialogs,” says Kacungira.

Kacungira suggests that the best way to change simplistic narratives on Africa, in which Africans are “Subjects”, is for Africans to actively engage in a dialog on Africa. In driving such dialogs, Africans are “Protagonists”, she says.

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“When there is a running narrative, you are a subject. When there is a dialog, you are a protagonist and you have the chance to tell not just the world but to tell each other, to inform your own identity and that’s something that we need to strive for,” says Kacungira.

“I think that it is important to think about what we say about ourselves, even more than it is important to think about what other people are saying about us,” Kacungira says. “What are Africans saying about Africa? When is the last time we declared something about our identity? About our continent? About who we are?”

“I don’t think it makes any sense to keep pointing fingers and saying ‘Why don’t you cover us fairly?’ if we are not covering ourselves fairly,” adds Kacungira. “I think it is time that we stopped focusing so much on a story that is already written and start writing a new one about what it means to be African and what identity Africa has, not based on a struggle but on progress. One that is not there because we have to have it but because we want to have it.”

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Nancy Kacungira was born in Tanzania to Ugandan parents and raised in Uganda. Kacungira has more than 14 years of experience working across a range of media in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Kacungira co-founded Blu Flamingo in 2010. Blu Flamingo is a Kampala-based digital media management, marketing and advertising firm with a roster of clients across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Nancy Kacungira has been a news anchor at Kenya’s most authoritative news channel, KTN News, since 2013. KTN News is the leading TV station in Kenya and part of the media conglomerate Standard Group. Kacungira’s hallmark has been to pursue and create spaces for conversations about entrepreneurship and leadership, most notably on her weekly television show “Power Talk”, where industry leaders share ideas on seizing business opportunities. She is also the anchor of Prime Time Evening News on KTN. Prior to joining KTN, Kacungira was a news anchor at NTV Uganda.

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Nancy Kacungira has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design and Visual Communications from Makerere University. Kacungira also has a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Leeds.

In August 2015, Nancy Kacungira made history becoming the first person to win the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award. This award is “made to an outstanding individual living and working in Africa, who combines strong journalism skills, on air flair, and an exceptional talent in telling African stories with the ambition and potential to become a star of the future,” according to the BBC.

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