However I am applaud by the reaction from Western media. All throughout the news you are hearing how a “famous African lion was killed in Africa”. Seriously do we still refer to Africa as a country? The incident occurred in the sovereign country of Zimbabwe that happens to be in Africa. I have never heard a headline that states “famous Art work stolen in Europe”. The media would have the respect to specify the exact country and town this famous artwork was stolen from. Western media sees Africa as this majestic wild country with the most amazing animals in the world run by dictators. Western media does not see Africa for its diversity of people and cultures. Its bustling metropolitan cities and rise of the largest middle class in the world. The Western media only sees Africa the same way Cecil Rhodes did when he came to colonize Zimbabwe in 1891.
What really did it for me was watching Jimmy Kimmel choke up over the death of Cecil the lion. Are you kidding me? Again I love lions but do you know how many human rights activists have disappeared in Zimbabwe. No one is crying for Itai Dzamara a human rights activist who has been missing for over 100 days. The Western media is not demanding the government launch a serious investigation over his whereabouts. The Western media is more concerned about the pride of lion’s that Cecil left behind.
We can blame western media all we want but Africans including myself should share in the blame. Africans have taken a back seat and allowed Western media to dictate the African narrative. Africans need to be more purposeful about sharing their stories to the world. With improved Internet penetration rates in Africa it’s time for Africans to leverage the open social media platforms and narrate our stories. Africans in the diaspora also have an opportunity to make an impact. All too many times we try dilute our culture to make it more palpable for Western culture. For example my full name is Simbarashe and since I have been in the US I go by Simba. Simba is an easy name for most people to digest and it always leads to interesting conversation about the lion king. However Simba is not my name. The name I was given by my parents is Simbarashe which means “God’s power”. Africans in the diaspora need to have pride in their heritage and not to be afraid of being African
In conclusion let’s learn from Cecil’s death. It is important that we protect lions and keep them safe. We also need to be aware of the media portrayal of Africa and use this opportunity to narrate our true African story!!