There were insightful observations, frank talk, and thoughtful suggestions throughout the excellently moderated episode. I agreed with those guests who felt that the media tendency to focus mainly on negative news is a large part of the problem. Alternative voices are needed to tell the success stories that are also happening daily in Africa--stories of individuals and groups discovering new solutions to old problems; winning the fight against hunger, poverty, disease, corruption, conflict. At one point, Trevor Manuel used a powerful anecdote to illustrate the nature of the 're-branding' challenge: it is easier to hear the sound of a falling tree in the forest, than of seeds sprouting or young trees growing up.
(1) whether Africa can resolve its crises and “re-brand” itself as a continent of opportunity rather than one plagued by disease, corruption and strife; and
(2) whose business is it to help Africa grow.
Anyone who has been following the evolution of the Web cannot help but notice the possibilities it holds for reconstructing Africa's image by uncovering pictures, sounds and stories that the mainstream media tends to dismiss as not being "news worthy" enough. But the monopoly of Big News is slowly giving ground to new ideas and technologies--blogging, creating and maintaining wikis, developing and disemminating pod and video casts, online news aggregation, mapping. All these and more are making it possible for a highly motivated and growing network of 'citizen journalists' to tune in, listen and broadcast success stories from (and about) the grassroots. Notable players in this group include Emekar Okafor's Timbuktu Chronicles, Erik's White African and AfriGadget, Ethan Zukerman's my heart is in accra, to name a few. The African blogosphere is emerging as a global player and partner in the 're-branding' of Africa. The content is increasingly focused, capturing real successes on the ground, reaching an ever larger global audience. It will not be long before the collective sound of Trevor's young African trees will be distinctly heard above the occasional crash of a dried branch or two in the odd storm.