I think this Guardian lede is unfortunate:

Are celebrity advocates and blogging expats crowding out African voices? A new fellowship is finding that while the media might be ready, after being so long ignored, young leaders aren’t

The Africans in international development that I most admire are raw, passionate, and determined in their efforts to contribute to the continent’s development. The reason they may not be invited to the major development conversations is that the gatekeepers of those platforms have been around for decades. African voices began rising en masse at the inception of mass media powered by social media, as recently as 2008/2009 when blogging, Facebook & Twitter gave rise to voices we wouldn’t have previously heard of – like Andrew Mwenda, Semhar Aria, Solome Lemma, and Ory Okolloh.

Africans in international development don’t all need to go to some academy to learn how to be camera-ready. This might be a service necessary for some but not all. Lumping all of us as “not ready” for the limelight is unfair judgement. We started wrestling for the mic less than 5 years ago. Over the next 5 years, expect a wave of fresh faces brash in bravado and unrepentant in their views. Their audience won’t be a Western stage like TED or New York or DC development confabs. Their audience is going to be their peers, the development establishment be damned.

In another 5 years, those of us who have had a sliver of the limelight, will be the old guard, cheering on the new chorus of challengers to the development establishment.

Also, we as Africans need to stop complaining that the cruise ship left the dock without you. Stop moaning over the SS Development Titanic leaving you on the dock and realize you have the keys to your own yacht. You are the captain of your destiny.

via Is there any space in the development debate for African experts? | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian Professional.

  1. Wow, well said Teddy. The Guardian doesn’t give an argument as to why they (young Africans) aren’t supposedly ready. Just not ready. That is certainly not the impression that I have. The Guardian clearly needs to spend more time engaging themselves with African based entrepreneurs, and media organizations. Christ, Rodney and Fanon were writing about development “issues” back in the 60’s and early 70’s. Where was the “SS Development Titanic then?

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