When we saw Black Panther we couldn’t help but Marvel at that Wakanda Excellency. I for one literally bow to all the magic it oozes but it is one thing for us to gaze at the beauty, and it is a whole other thing for our claws to get dirty doing the damn work.
In May, Uganda blogging community had their #UgBlogWeek under the theme “Wakanda Africa do you envision”
Bloggers were challenged to think all out and create an African utopia and look to translate it into reality. After all as far as you can imagine you can achieve.
This post is in the very Spirit of Wakanda and is sponsored by the good people of Hope and Care Ministries whose photographs are my muse and Pixinart Studios who are out there doing the good work.
When I asked what they wanted to portray in these pictures, one of the photographers told me that they wanted to exude hope as they shot these beautiful children.
What comes to mind when you think about hope?
You have probably grown up seeing pictures of hungry African children on the internet. You have also probably seen pictures of talented African creatives on the internet. But when the word Africa is mentioned depending on which pictures depicting Africa you have seen most your mind helplessly scampers to that idea of Africa.
I am personally a victim of such representation. Because all that was depicted of Somalia was war and violence, at a point in my life I started to associate everyone from somalia with that and expressed extreme shock when I met people that didn’t fit within the confines of this box. In doing this I denied them the right to tell their stories because I told it to and for them.
The problem with stereotypes is that they undermine our individual uniqueness and assume that certain people’s stories don’t deserve to be heard because we have heard stories that are similar or of people who look like them.
We say “oh yeah you are a Christian so you must be this and that ” ,” you are an African woman so you must fit this description,” and in that way we bury people’s stories.
I envision an Africa where people learn to appreciate each others diversities because they are exposed to more stories about how multi faceted Africans actually are.
An Africa where creatives go all out to tell diverse stories that debunk stereotypes that have lived through decades.
The most beautiful thing about telling stories through writing, music, photography, spoken word etc is the fact that the power lies in the mind of the creative. It’s up to us to mold what we want to portray. If we put hope in our work then the audience is more likely to feel hopeful as they connect with it. If our stories take away that hope then we are more likely to have them experience hopelessness. People connect with our work the way we present it
I also believe that it is important that as we tell our stories we answer these two questions “what do I want to portray” and “what does my audience need.” I know that the creative’s only responsibility is to tell the story and not how people connect or respond to their work. But I believe that if we are intentional with the stories we tell then it’s easier for people to connect to them and also easier for us to break barriers and spread positive messages through our work.
I am not dismissing the need for creatives to portray honest stories on war, poverty, genocide etc but rather for them to seek out the silver lining in everything they do or say.
I love reading testimonies of survivors from war torn countries because the common ground is hope, that light at the end of an endless tunnel. It is the hope for a better tomorrow that causes people in such circumstances to wake up each day and without this hope they die.
This is exactly what photographers like pixinart and Organisations like Hope and Care Ministries are doing. Taking photos and telling stories that don’t only depict famine, hunger and war but express the other facets of people and communities that are suppressed by stereotypes. In their work they also document the hopes and aspirations of these people.
I envision an Africa where we are all about the work and less about the talk.
That even as we represent stories of poverty we also express the joys, struggle, hopes of our communities.
I envision an Africa where African creatives particularly tell African stories because as long as we entrust others with the responsibility to tell our stories for us then we are prone to being misrepresented.
An Africa where the freedom of press and expression reigns and creative arts are appreciated and creatives are paid for all the work they do.
I believe that if someone is investing their time in their work they deserve to earn from it. And if someone is doing for you work that you earn from or work that gives you gratification similar to what you pay for then they deserve to be paid.
I envision an Africa where people appreciate work from the continent more. Where we put aside our preconceived neocolonial ideas about work from the continent and buy that book, attend that show, support that artist etc.
The kind of Africa I envision for creatives is definitely influenced by stories of creatives I have interacted with and to an extent my personal experiences. It may therefore not be representative of the future of creatives and their role in realising wakanda.
Wakanda Africa do you envision relating to creative Arts? Do leave me your thoughts in the comment section.
Otherwise I hope we are all well. Also we have a book review coming to the blog in a few. It is dripping sunshine on the blog this month dear bloggren, only prepare for the party.
All the photographs featured in this post were taken in Mubende district for the good people of Hope and Care Ministries
check out Hope and Care Ministries and have a glimpse at the good work they are doing.
Bellows of love
©Tales of a curious mind