The graphic image is a powerful thing. It has the ability to shape our perceptions, perhaps more so than the written word. And as such it should come as no surprise that according to the Social Science Research Network 65 percent of us are visual learners. Visuals embed themselves into our subconscious colouring our view of the world around us. When we read or hear something we immediately form mental pictures based on our imagination, which can be influenced by things we have already seen. Images have impact. So it is no wonder that our perceptions of people and culture are formed by the images that are put out about them, our collective opinions and reactions leaning towards positive or negative every time we see them. The African continent and its peoples know this only to well, the images that have been put out depicting the negative of the uncivilised, inferior, of poverty, war, famine and crippling helplessness.
...our perceptions of people and culture are formed by the images that are put out about them... Click To Tweet
The way we view Africa has long since been in the hands of those foreign to its shores, who have bent and shaped the visual narrative to suit their needs. But in a digital age this is changing. With the democratisation of media comes power. Power that a digitally savvy generation have taken hold of to show the world another side to Africa and its peoples, sharing stories of innovation, boundless creativity, progressive increasingly sophisticated modern cities, everyday life and much more whilst not forgetting the things that still need to change for the better. And with a staggering 80 million images said to be shared a day on a platform like Instagram alone social media and its ever-changing platforms has been a crucial vehicle for changing the way view Africa. And 5 must see Instagram accounts doing just that include, in no particular order:
@truthslinger – Truth Slinger aka Mutua Matheka is a Kenyan photographer on a mission to Unscramble Africa using his photos and portraits to paint a sublime and sophisticated view of the continent he calls home and its people.
When you look at this image of Nairobi, what do you notice first? The road snaking through the middle? The billboards? The buildings? . Part of urbanization is a rampant increase of advertising billboards. As everyone rushes to show us what products they have. Part of it is growing highways. And many other things. Why part of this growth do you care about and are you involved in? . The way our city looks can be shaped by our expectations and the expectations we have on those that control our urban scene. . #MjiWetu @tatu_city #Sp
@EverydayAfrica – Everyday Africa is an ambitious Instagram project transforming the way people view daily life on the continent. The project was started by several African journalists, photographers and artists living and working on the continent who use the photography of everyday life to transcend [the often negative] media-driven stereotypes that depict the continent.
Don't miss the talk I am having tonight at 7 pm at the Frontline club in London, with the unique and only Jon Lee Anderson who has been reporting around the world for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and also the author of the incredible book he did on "Che" Guevara. We will be talking about my book "Mosquito Coast, travels from Maputo to Mogadishu ". Photo of Mogadishu by @guillaumebonn #mogadishu #somalia #JonLeeAnderson #mosquitocoast #guillaumebonn #london @frontlineclub #books #talk #dispatchesfromatraveler
@visiterlafrique – Visiter L’Afrique is a community of travellers and storytellers inspiring readers to travel around the continent and discover its beauty and adventure for themselves. Visiter L’Afrique invites travellers to share their travel pics and images for a vibrant community curated platform.
@CheckoutAfrica – Checkout Africa is a photoessay into a diverse and dynamic continent and its peoples. CheckoutAfrica’s mission is to promote the people of Africa and promote positive, up-to-date news and information for people interested in Africa’s cultures or planning a visit one of the continent’s many tourist destinations.
@iseeadifferentyou – Focusing on South Africa, I See A A Different You is a collective of three friends who set out to change the way the world see their country by telling their own stories from their own perspective with a positive outlook through art. The team mainly achieve this through photography, film, fashion and advertising amongst other disciplines.
The above are just a selection of accounts that inspire us, but with new accounts being added everyday inspiration abounds, and it can be hard to keep up!
5 Instagram accounts changing the way we view Africa. Click To Tweet
– Tapiwa Matsinde
[Image credits: The images shown are sourced from the Instagram accounts of Mutua Matheka, Everyday Africa, Visiter L’Afrique, Checkout Africa and I See A A Different You. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]