They Want Us to Tell Our Stories. But Only In the Way They Want to Hear It

Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

If you’re a writer of African descent, and you’re plugged into the literary or media scene, you’re probably aware of the term ‘Poverty Porn’. Simply put, it is the showcasing of poverty, or extreme conditions of struggle to elicit sympathy or perpetuate certain stereotypes.

While we’re aware that these stories of doom and gloom exist, there’s a consensus that there is a need to tell stories that show that we are more than the poverty and neglect. It is in this light that you find that many writing festivals have themes like “Telling Our Own Stories” or “The Africa Western Media Doesn’t Want You To See”.

Across multimedia platforms, new age creatives are thinking out of the box to tell stories that don’t foster the existing image of Africa. So, you find modern filmmakers telling stories of a wider demographic  – less of people going to the shrine and fetching water from the streams, and more of people driving cars, living in nice houses with running water from taps. You find journalists telling stories of entrepreneurs who are creating economic growth with innovation and skill.

Read more: Atoke: They Want Us to Tell Our Stories… But Only In the Way They Want to Hear It