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As Sudan perishes, Africa must own her narrative

Publishing Date : 03 July, 2019

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On the 22nd of February 2019, President Al-Bashir of Sudan declared a state of emergency and decided t0 dissolve government.


However the peaceful protests in Sudan had started long before then, as early as December 2018 over tripling prices of basic commodities such as bread. After Al-Bashir was removed from power by the military, in the days between 3 June -11 June 2019, hundreds of people were killed- shot or hacked with machetes, women and children as young as 6 raped as security forces opened fire on protesters as they demonstrated against military rule swirling the country into complete chaos.


Troops marched into hospitals kicking out nurses and doctors, preventing civilians from receiving medical care. The world watched silently while Sudan wept. Bodies were thrown into the Nile river during the uprising and internet cut down. The people of Sudan were muted as they wept, while the world carried on as if nothing had happened, because well, the victims of these atrocities were black and African.


When the  HYPERLINK "https://www.bing.com/search?q=Notre-Dame+Cathedral%20wikipedia" Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire on 15 April 2019, over one billion Euros had been pledged to ensure it was returned to its original state in a matter of days. While I do whole heartedly recognize the cultural and artistic significance of the structure and all it holds, I don’t believe it can be valued above human life.


When Botswana herself announced she would be lifting the ban of the hunting of elephants, one white user on Facebook commented how the country should be more focussed on controlling the human population to make way for elephants. May I remind you that Botswana a country about the size of France has a population of just over 2 million making it one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. France has a population of approximately 66 Million! This just shows you the value of black African lives in the minds of westerners.


Had just one white non-African individual been killed in the Sudan uprisings, it would have been front page news of every news outlet all over the world. Africa needs to control its own narrative, its own voice and stories. For us as Africans to continue to expect and hope that western news outlets will carry our stories and share our plights is silly. We must stick together. African news outlets must carry more of the continents stories and shed light on the sufferings of its own, we must demonstrate for each other to end the horrors happening in Sudan and well as hold those responsible accountable.


People continue to live in fear of even stepping out of their homes. Instead of continuously being concerned about what is happening in countries on the other side of the world, let’s all be considerate and empathetic about what is happening in our own back yard and how we can help and bring peace, stability and justice for the people of Sudan who need our help now more than ever. (Tumelo Mokgosi)


EDITOR’S NOTE

This loyal reader of the Weekend Post asked that we publish this opinion on this space and we gladly obliged. We agree that Africa must put forward her narrative and desist from Western propaganda. It is unfortunate that here at home, news whose springboard should be Botswana media is first fed to the western media before the local press. This is part of the reason why we fail to own our narrative as a country/continent. We hero worship the west to the extent that we do not value our own.


We left to work on speculation and ultimately run the risk of misinforming the public. As a country, Botswana must strive to push her narrative in the localised context especially in areas such as wildlife and tourism, mining (especially diamond sector), and a host of other sectors.
A country that has democracy, peace, free speech as its key and most recognised indices should value the press more and enacting a Freedom of Information law should not be a negotiated and an overly lobbied for undertaking.   

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