The hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou has had more than 78,000 tweets and retweets
Young Africans frustrated with the way their continent is depicted in the Western media have taken to Twitter to share Africa’s beauty.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Markham created the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou to contrast with widely propagated stereotypes.
“As a Ghanaian I know very well there is so much more than all the poverty and suffering. Behind that is something that is rarely shown,” Markham said to Global News.
Diana Salah, 22, helped spread the hashtag’s reach all the way from Seattle. Salah, a first generation Somali-American student, had grown tired with people’s misconceptions and the way she often saw the continent and its diverse peoples and cultures depicted in media.
“I used to get questions ranging from, ‘Were you born in a hut?’ to hurtful comments about disease and poverty,” she said in an interview with Fusion.
More than 78,000 tweets have included the hashtag, and many of them showcase various aspects of everyday life and the stunning landscapes found throughout Africa.
According to the blog This is Uganda, those photos are from the Karamoja region, the Kabale District in the region of Western Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Many featured the vibrant art scenes and fashions on display.Others remind people that many African nations are becoming increasingly wealthy. Kenya and Nigeria are projected to be among the fastest growing economies in 2015, according to Bloomberg.
“My Africa is all about amazing people — all about amazing places and landscapes,” Sengalese photographer Abdoulaye Ndao told the BBC World Service.
“Believe me if you come here to Senegal, people are open-hearted. People are really kind. People are willing to help. Everywhere you go people are smiling.”
“The response we got was amazing, and people were actually shocked to see Africa from the lens of an African and with native Africans joining in the discussion,” Salah said to Fusion.
Markham explained to Mashable that while she recognizes that Africa does face humanitarian crises and poverty, she wants people to know the continent’s complexity and diversity.
“The hashtag is not created to erase the suffering but to celebrate the beauty because we don’t celebrate it enough,” she said.