Gauteng and NW Province

Broadcasters focus on a new lens on Africa

The BBC is going to produce the first daily news television programme about the continent

Faeeza Ballim

To get to the boardroom of the BBC Africa Bureau in Johannesburg is like a mini-journey through the international broadcaster’s past, present and future of eight decades’ of news-gathering on the continent.

The future of the BBC’s African broadcasting fills the boardroom with a big voice and a large smile, and exudes a passion for the continent. His name is Komla Dumor and he will be the anchor of the broadcaster’s new television programme, Focus on Africa, starting on Monday evening on BBC World.

It will be the first daily television news programme (30 minutes long) dedicated to Africa by an international broadcaster.

“I am incredibly excited to be part of a programme that will provide solid coverage of Africa’s challenges and prospects,” he said.

Africa is no longer the lost continent – it is now a continent with audiences that broadcasters want to capture. “Africa is the fastest-growing news market in the world,” said Solomon Mugera, BBC’s Africa editor.

International coverage of Africa has long been a source of controversy. Critics have attacked the depiction of the continent as a “hopeless place of death”, according to Professor Tawana Kupe, dean of humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand and associate professor of media studies.

But Focus on Africa seems a step in the right direction. “A new Africa is emerging,” Dumor said. “The old stereotypes are being challenged and a new, compelling narrative is being written. These will be reports on Africa by Africans. We are not flying in some expert for South Africans to say you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Focus on Africa will be an opportunity for audiences to see Africa in its glory.

Mail & Guardian
June 15 to 21 2012

I love Africa, in all its glory. South Africa is a water-stressed country and I am proud to be part of a water conservation team. Please take responsibility and conserve water. There are so many Africans that don’t have water to meet their daily needs, yet we waste water, happily being unaware. Please harvest rainwater, recycle grey water and make a difference; it is our duty.

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