Promoting Africa on our own terms
Does Africa have an image problem? Why do Africans worry about how Africa is portrayed in Western media? Is Africa’s negative image justified? These were some of the questions discussed on the “Telling the African story through social media” masterclass.
The significance of Africans telling their own stories cannot be understated. Travelling is one way to broaden horizons and experience new things. For Nigerians, most remain ignorant of the amazing places to visit within the country, though Nigeria is undeniably beautiful; there is a lot to do whether as the solo traveler or as the family. Nigeria offers unique natural landscapes, traditional festivals, architectural insights, and diversity. Cities in Ondo, Lagos, Calabar, Plateu, Bauchi, Enugu, and Ekiti — to mention a few states in Nigeria — are blessed with natural and cultural highlights that should improve tourism. Nonetheless, Nigerians seem to be uninterested in traveling to local spots and are thus missing out on controlling the narrative of the country.
For the majority of Nigerians, a well-spent holiday is one that takes them to the United States, the United Kingdom, or even Dubai. Nigerians tend to ignore the richness available within the continent and hardly travel to other African countries. While the panelists did not give mention to the visa difficulties for Africans travelling to other African countries, they did talk about the need for certain countries such as Nigeria to promote tourism.
Social media has frequently been used to show positive images of Africa, it has also become a means through which Africans can promote tourism on their own terms. With selfies and photos of the cities they live in, Africans can do just that and perhaps counter stereotypes that misrepresent them. A number of travel blogs are popping and through them Africans are telling their own stories and showing the world the ups and downs of African travel, including Instagram accounts such as visiterlafrique, and blogs like Follow the Nigerian and the Afro Tourism initiative.
How can tourism be improved within Nigeria? Can social media really solve the challenges involved in traveling within Africa? Leave a comment below or reach me on Twitter @rafeeeeta