Introducing Kurunzi Afrika news service: We connect the dots
If your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, or you do not speak the language at all, Kurunzi is a searchlight or torch. We spotlight Afrika. The spelling of Afrika with a K is deliberate. It is the Kiswahili version of our great continent’s name, of course; but beyond our fascination with Kiswahili, many radical Pan-Afrikanists the world over prefer that spelling to the English one, Africa. It is a form of resistance.
And that says something about us. Kurunzi Afrika pursues the Pan-Afrika dream of a truly free and prosperous Afrika, in the spirit of our gallant liberation heroes and sheroes. We believe Afrika is not yet free, despite half a century of ‘independence’ (for most countries). Kurunzi Afrika celebrates Afrika by closely identifying and aligning ourselves with the just struggles of our people against the many forces of oppression, obvious and hidden. We fight for social justice.
After centuries of interaction with the rest of the world, Afrika is now a theatre where many powerful forces are at work, whose ideas and activities touch nearly every facet of our lives. Some of these forces are pro-Afrika. Many others are up to no good. We will keep the spotlight on all of them.
No doubt there are many news services dedicated to telling the Afrika story, from small and medium print, online and broadcast platforms to large multinational media enterprises. Based on our considerable involvement and critical observation of Afrika media reportage, we have concluded that two key things are lacking:
One, the news is mostly about what ‘important’ people say and do. It is these people who set the public agenda for Afrika. Such media coverage is not necessarily a bad thing. The ‘important’ people are public figures and the media would be failing in its watchdog role if it did not train its lenses on them.
But that coverage is at the same time elitist and disempowering. It suggests that the responsibility for Afrika’s total liberation and development lies entirely in the on the shoulders of ‘important’ people. The numerous voices of the mass of ‘less important’ people are ignored – even when they are the victims of the power games of the ‘important’ 1 percent. The result is often the single story. Yet there are many unheard narratives. We reject this. We are convinced that there are great ideas and initiatives being undertaken, or that ought to be urgently undertaken, by the 99 percent of Afrika.
Kurunzi Afrika believes that change comes from the bottom, not the top; not from the privileged beneficiaries of the status quo, but from the restless masses who refuse to be ignored, who ceaselessly proclaim their right to equal dignity and organise themselves to engage power. We want to amplify these voices. We want to help create a mass of critical, even radical Afrikans, who are fully committed to transforming their own lives and those fellow Afrikans.
Two, who-said-what may be important, but you will not read that kind of run-of-the-mill reporting in Kurunzi Afrika. Instead, we want to connect the dots. Who-said-what, so what? Media churns out tens of thousands of stories a day, which look like isolated and unrelated happenings. Reading a full newspaper, watching a TV broadcast or listening to a complete radio news bulletin sometimes leaves one constipated with information, not enlightened.
An intelligent news consumer, we believe, would like to know why a particular news story matters. Kurunzi Afrika will provide the single most important ingredient that answers that question: context. Connecting the dots. Things don’t just happen in isolation. They have implications, which good journalism should attempt to uncover. That is the only way news can help one make sense of the world they live in.
Kurunzi Afrika is a weekly online publication. It is a free email subscription service, so do not hesitate to send us email addresses of your contacts to include in our database. Articles may be reproduced freely, with due acknowledgement.
Finally, Kurunzi Afrika is fiercely free and independent. Regardless of whom we cover or collaborate with, the content of Kurunzi Afrika is the work of competent, responsible and fully dedicated journalists. Opinion is free, and will be treated as such.
So, now, let’s start connecting the dots in the Afrika story…