African content for African people!

THE world is waking up to Africa’s creative power, and it is more important than ever for us to take this opportunity as we continue developing our creative industries.

While marking Africa Week, Yolisa Phahle, CEO General Entertainment and Connected Video at MultiChoice emphasised the economic benefits of investing in the local industry and the need for people to see themselves represented in the entertainment they watch.

Africa’s star is rising. The continent is taking its place on the global stage as demand for our unique and exciting contribution to the world increases. Africa’s presence is finding expression in numerous fields, but in few areas has it been as pronounced as in the creative arts and entertainment.

Who did not celebrate the appearance of African brands like Maxhosa by Laduma at New York Fashion Week?

Who, indeed was not excited to see our cultures taking pride of place in movies like Black Panther, or in Beyonce’s extended video for Spirit + Bigger?

Listen to the Alicia Keys Wasted Energy remix featuring Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz, and tell me it doesn’t warm your African heart!

These are real signs of African achievement, and an acknowledgement of the rich culture that has inspired people in so many other parts of the world. Authentic representation matters; global audiences are hungry for new voices and being positively acknowledged at home and abroad inspires us to create even more.

However, these are small steps and there remains a lot to do to ensure that Africa’s true potential is realised. While seeing ourselves on screen is certainly progress, it is not yet true representation when it is through the eyes of others. It is unbelievable that our pre-colonial history has still barely been told from the African perspective.   

The story of Vikings, of Columbus and many western historical dramas have been used to educate audiences whilst so many of our stories remain untold.

There is much work to be done to ensure that Africa’s people see themselves accurately reflected in the content that they consume. And that’s where we as consumers, producers, broadcasters, teachers and as a community have a role to play.

Much as Africa is underrepresented in the rest of the world, there is still room for more African content to be shared on Africa’s own media platforms.

MultiChoice is proud to be a part of this journey, helping to create platforms and make investments that support this evolution.