A United States of Africa — my diary to the dreamers

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Interviewing quincy jones in South Africa

Tuesday morning, 2016. I’m on my second run of entrants as a judge on the coveted One World Media Awards 2016. They’ll be a third run. In a couple of weeks I’m to present an academic paper on ‘memory, ethnicity and reportage’ and then a session at the British Film Institute ( BFI) media conference on creating cinema journalism — my specialism.

But after my morning duties, I’m distracted. Mark Cousins I am Belfast is on my tweeter feed. Poetic, lyrical film narrative from one of the UK’s most innovative filmmakers. Meanwhile, South African President Zuma’s impeachment, following his breach of the constitution for not repaying public money for his private home, is a thud in my head.

Where did it all go so wrong? The Rainbow nation. Such panache and drama.

I spent two years freelancing from South Africa (92–94) for the BBC World Service on some of the most dramatic stories to emerge, as it geared up for its first all-race elections.

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In 1996 I returned to undertake an audacious programme. Did you know that Ghana and South Africa, two powerhouses of the continent were one of the first countries to explore the potential of multi-media and videojournalism?

We took a team of Ghanaian journalists out to South Africa. Their network expected an hour programme from their one week stay. I arranged to train the journos as videojournalists — the result was six one-hour programmes covering trade, immigration, tourism and entertainment.

Such was the narrative we adopted that the two nations used the programme to foster trade and cooperation. Ghana’s government invited the Herdbuoys MacCann Erickson (HME) — then South Africa’s first and only black advertising agency — to Ghana. Apparently it was some welcome, the HME’s strategist Dimape Serenyane tells me. A motorcade from the airport.

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Today, outstanding innovations and social cohesion projects exist in and around the continent. My long-time friend Max Bankole Jarrett, Deputy Director of the Africa Progress Panel is a force for policy initiatives, Tech in Kenya, Nigeria’s media industry from a friend and former student Don Omope is pushing Nollywood’s boundaries — are examples of magnificence.

But something’s amiss.

In the UK two opposing journalist confirm my impressions. Paul Mason, a Guardian Journalist and Peter Hitchins call it. The unfettered market driven, capitalist, ideology done to death in the US and UK is not the answer.

There’s another way of putting this. We’ve become increasingly inured to how we see the world through a lens which projects as acceptable skewed precepts of democracies’ based on Edward Bernays’ model (see previous post) as adopted by the West.

Capitalism without a social conscience is not the answer. As an artist and media scholar, this is a letter to the dreamers, that there is a path to forge a we, our, Africa.

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David Dunkley Gyimah is a media specialist and artist. His background includes 27-years working in media, such as the BBC, Channel 4 News and ABC News ( South Africa) in various of roles. He’s won various international awards and created landmark media, as an artist-in-residence at the Southbank, such as Obama’s 100 Days film alongside Composer and conductor Shirley Thompson orchestral piece. David is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster and 20-year member of Chatham House. His PhD, from University College Dublin examined the creation new forms of reportage from a historicity of forms and audiences’s cognitive reception. His degree was in Applied Chemistry from Leicester, further studies in Economics from LSE, and journalism from Falmouth. More from his website www.viewmagazine.tv

Written by

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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