2012 Tutu Fellow Julie Gichuru has written a guest column for All Africa titled Africa: Reclaiming the past; defining the future. The post deals with how managing information and imagery shapes views of Africa, by defining the narratives that shape perceptions. 

She uses the photographic exhibit at the Moses Mabhida in Durban called South Africa in the Making as a point of departure. She describes the series of powerful images that chronicles the making of what Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the 'Rainbow Nation', that celebrates the strength the country could derive from its many ethnicities. The exhibit is narrated by Mac Maharaj, a close comrade of Nelson Mandela who spent years imprisoned with him on Robben Island. 

Part of the column recounts the management of information around depictions of actions in Africa's colonial past.  She uses an image from 1916 of a white officer grasping the neck of an immobile Namibian chief.  The image was captioned originally as if the action was benign and that medical treatment was involved. Years later, the story was debunked: the officer was decapitating the chief.  The renowned Namibian artist John Muafungeyo, she says, depicted the action in an artistic piece that reflected the truth of the moment.

She concludes that Africa's journeys of independence are a stark reminder that information is a potent weapon of war, control and domination.

She goes on to look at the impacts of Africa's narratives today, discussing the genocide in Rwanda and the conflict in Sudan, today.

Read the article at All Africa.

Cover image here is from the article: Caption South Africa in the making









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About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.