Fed up with depressing images of starving children used in the media to portray their home, Africans are taking to Twitter to show off the beauty and diversity of their continent.
A group of young Africans is using the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou to push back on generalizations that people elsewhere may have about their home continent. So far, there have been more than 75,000 tweets using the hashtag since the campaign began on June 23.
“I got involved because growing up, I was made to feel ashamed of my homeland, with negative images that paint Africa as a desolate continent,” said Diana Salah, a first-generation Somali-American student who helped create the campaign, when she talked to Fusion. “It’s so important to showcase the diversity and beauty of Africa, and with the mainstream media not up for the task, social media was the perfect outlet.”
Abdoulaye Ndao, a photographer and art director in Senegal, also felt compelled to get involved.
“When I go to the Internet and type, ‘What are African people like?’ the results are sad,” Ndao said in an interview with the BBC World Service. “Really frustrating. Because the thing you see is hunger, poor people, war, it’s just like, this is the only face of Africa that is known. But believe me, the Africa I know, my Africa, is more than this. My Africa is all about amazing people, all about amazing places and landscapes.”
And “amazing” isn’t just hype. That pink lake at the top of this post really is pink. (We checked with our correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who’s based in Dakar, to make sure.) An algae called dunaliella salina, which thrives in the saline waters, is responsible for the rosy hue. Located 18 miles northeast of Senegal’s capital Dakar, the lake is called Lake Retba or Le Lac Rose.
Enjoy some of our favorite tweets below.