Have you ever considered how the presentation of Africa in the media, in schools, or in higher education, may reinforce negative stereotypes?
On Monday 24 July 2023, in a small room of the St Werburgh’s Community Centre in Bristol, Inspiring Woman, Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, took us on a journey from her childhood growing up in Ghana until the age of 6, migrating to Saudi Arabia and then settling in Whitby in a white-majority boarding school. Here, the perception of her home – generalised not as Ghana but as ‘Africa’ – was at odds with her lived experience.
As an adult, breaking down the misperceptions and stereotypes made about Africa has been much of her life’s work. In this talk, Afua illuminated not only what these perceptions are, but also how they are rooted in history, and what insidious impacts they can have on Africans and the African diaspora.
To attempt to summarise the wealth of information provided in the talk would be to do it a disservice. The audience was left brimming with ideas and questions:
Why do we refer to Africa as a monolith when it is a collection of diverse countries?
Could pity, no matter how well-intentioned, bolster a sense of superiority and an incomplete understanding of the human experience?
Does it have something in common with the dehumanising representation of Africans that was used to justify the slave trade?
While our education system strives for social cohesion, how does it exclude Black and Brown people and what is the impact of this?
Why is the only academic research available on Africans, particularly African children, disproportionately focused on suffering and child-labour?
An hour an a half was clearly only enough time to scratch the surface of the issue.
Attendees left feeling ‘informed, inspired and educated’.
We are so grateful to Afua for taking the time to talk with us. You can find out more about her work through looking into her C.I.C True Talk Africa (https://truetalkafrica.org/)
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