Technology: African Stream Takes on Western Media
African Stream is a Pan-African digital media organization based exclusively on social media platforms, focused on providing a voice to Africans both at home and abroad through cutting-edge, African-centred content.
Currently, African Stream is present on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The organisation’s main office is in Kenya, with partners, analysts and reporters across the African continent and in the diaspora.
African Stream takes on Western Media to Re-Shape the Narrative by Telling African Stories through African Voices
African Stream’s mission is to reshape conversations and narratives about – as well as knowledge and appreciation of – Africa and its people. “Until the lions learn how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.” For most of its modern history, Africa’s stories have been twisted by colonial-era and Western-oriented narratives.
Social media-based platform African Stream officially launched across Africa today in an effort to challenge existing negative stereotypes and give a voice to Africans through cutting-edge, African-centred content. African Stream’s mission is to reshape conversations and narratives about – as well as knowledge and appreciation of – Africa and its people.
“I’ve been in the media my entire career and I am excited to create an African news platform to define our story in our voice. This continent is the birthplace of civilization and humankind. Africans are innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders, revolutionaries and cultural influencers, as well as a host of other amazing things. I want to build a platform that represents all of that with emphasis on Africa on the rise,” said Ahmed Kaballo, founder and CEO of African Stream, during the launch event.
African Stream covers high-impact history, culture, politics, commerce, sports, music, entertainment, innovation, technology and infrastructure. “Those that are coming to African Stream for entertainment are inevitably also learning, and those that come to find out the latest news also find themselves entertained.
That’s what we mean when we say ‘a one-stop shop for all things African.’ We reach people that we might not have reached, through the diversity and range of our content,” added Mr. Kaballo. The platform is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with teams across the continent producing and distributing content through their own voices.
It tackles tough issues head on, exploring the challenges and problems in Africa, as well as possible long-term solutions. Topics addressed include the exploitation of African wealth, how so-called ‘aid’ is often used as a weapon, why it’s Western chocolate makers who reap the profits from African cocoa as opposed to the Africans themselves, and why neo-colonial relationships have been allowed to persist to this day.
The advent of digital media has turned the media landscape upside down. The news cycle moves at lightning speed, thanks to live tweeting, blogging and citizen journalism, all unknown just a few years ago.
Fibre optics have revolutionized the telecommunications industry, the Internet is getting cheaper and faster and more communities are logging on, even in remote areas in Africa. More people use their smartphones to receive digital content than ever before.
To remain accessible, conventional media practitioners in Africa are adapting to a new media world that is time-sensitive and more interactive. Advocacy journalism, in particular, is growing exponentially—bloggers and citizen journalists are mobilizing for various causes, including good governance.
Although a lot has changed in media technology and operations over the last 15 years, society still looks to the media to play its traditional role—to inform, educate and entertain.
In Africa the media plays an even more critical role, that of deepening and institutionalizing democracy. Citizens need to be informed as nations take on new responsibilities in a globalized world.
“Media plays an important role in building an informed society. Citizens need credible information from a media that can skillfully moderate debate and provoke meaningful conversations that can lead to transforming Africa,” says Eric Chinje, chief executive officer of the African Media Initiative (AMI), a Nairobi-based pan-African organization that seeks to strengthen the continent’s media. To play its role effectively, according to Mr. Chinje, the media must see itself as instrumental to ensuring and improving the quality of life in society.