Africa No Filter (ANF), a non-profit organisation focused on narrative change, has launched their first optimised mobile story agency - bird. Moky Makura, executive director of ANF, shares more about the project.
Moky Makura, executive director of ANF
The story agency was set up in order to create compelling multimedia content which speaks to the true nature and vibrancy of Africa. bird is meant to be a home for stories that are rarely prioritised in news media. “It’s a digital story agency dedicated to covering humans - not just issues - and telling stories that celebrate Africa’s creativity and innovation through its arts, culture, people and places,” said Makura.
Africa No Filter
ANF is a startup donor collaborative that aims to shift the stereotypical and harmful narratives that exist in and about Africa. Through research, advocacy and grants, it hopes to is provide storytellers with a platform.
Through this platform, the aim is to get true, relevant and representative stories about the people in Africa.
ANF was born during the Covid-19 pandemic. The work-from-home organisation has a team based in five countries throughout Africa and deliberate about creating a culture of true representation. Makura oversees the things they do; grant-making to storytellers, research, building a community, and handling bigger disruption projects. “[I love] the ability to support young and emerging creatives, storytellers,” she said. “I also love the variety and the pace. We have done a lot in a relatively short space of time.”
ANF surveyed 38 African editors and analysed over 300 articles from 60 African news outlets in 15 countries in October 2020. This was to produce their How African media covers Africa report
The results from this report showed that 81% of the stories were about conflicts and crises. It also identified that 7% of the stories that were analysed were on human interest and 4% were on arts and culture. “If I were sitting in South Africa, reading South African media’s coverage of other African countries, I would be reading about conflict,” said Makura. “The stories that would and do surround me consistently feed the stereotype of a continent, which rockstar Bono put it back 2004, ‘in flames’”.
bird is a response to this perspective of Africa. It is meant to be a home for stories that are rarely prioritised in news media. “It’s a digital story agency dedicated to covering humans - not just issues and telling stories that celebrate Africa’s creativity and innovation through its arts, culture, people and places,” said Makura.
Although bird is a new project, it has received a tremendously positive response. Hopefully, the result will be a true representation of the ideas and creativity that Africa has to offer - and pinpoint it as an imperative marker for innovation and culture in the world.
Find out more at www.bird.africanofilter.org