A lot of the stories told about the African woman do not portray her true self. This is usually because the story is single and comes from people who do not know her, nor care to learn about her. By an African woman I mean, a woman who was born in Africa or whose parents were born in Africa, lives in Africa or the diaspora. A woman who identifies her ethnicity as African. This woman comes in shades of black, white or mixed.
The single story I’m talking about here, is the story of the black African woman that the media chooses to show you. The story of how she is uneducated, a nurturer, weak, poor or a victim. Anywhere that you choose to travel to today, you would find people that you could give these very same labels, but the world media won’t let you do that because those labels have already been allocated to the black woman in Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Africa doesn’t have uneducated women or victims. It does, but that is not the only story that African women have. For a long time now, the media has been allowed to tell this single story and the rest of the world chooses to continue to believe it. Basically, the media wants you to believe that nothing good ever comes out of mother continent. Be it it’s people, or otherwise.
It is of my experience that we see positives when gender equality and the promotion of female empowerment is promoted. Within this topic, it means that African women should be given a chance to contribute to their own stories. And if that is not possible, then portray her in the good light that she deserves. Do not crop her out! The African woman has a lot of positive experiences to share with you all. She is smart, she is resilient, she is hardworking, she is a CEO, she is a scientist, she is kind, she is funny, she is a friend, and she is a great lover. Ahem! Seek her out and write about her. She comes in droves and she will inspire you. Take that bold move today, get out of your comfort zone and share with the world the good stories from her.
The negative single story of the African woman has got to stop. The single story is dangerous. It destroys lives, it hinders development and it denies the world of talented and skilled people. The single story deprives us of our people, and of our history. Being given a voice to tell our stories matters. This is why I created this platform. I wanted the world to know that the African woman is multifaceted, multi talented and multicultural. We are not the same (Africa is not a country), but we are of the same. So, stop believing and retelling the the only one narrative that you seem to enjoy. The only one that has been made accessible to you. Venture out, see what else you can find.
Storytelling has a power that is unimaginable. Used properly, it can connect people, breeds inclusion, builds confidence and brings about change. I commend the few who already take the initiative to re-write that single story. It’s obvious that there is work that still needs to be done. I know that the change that I want to see is not going to happen overnight. So how do we get there? It’s simple. Celebrate our differences and tell that story that you’ve not “seen” in the media.
Go on, take that leap of faith and embark on a journey that will open your eyes to things you never imagined. Go on, change that narrative.