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Changing the narrative through media literacy and critical thinking. As the late Bob Marley once said..."Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!" We provide young people with media literacy and critical thinking skills in order to challenge and change misrepresentations of Africa and Africans, increase critical-awareness and reduce discrimination and stereotyping by offering a balanced view that produces alternative discourses.
Whats happening? For the latest news and views check out CTFOA on Twitter and Facebook

'The worst of journalism': 200 writers and academics slam CBS coverage of Africa

Dear Mr Fager,

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our grave concern about the frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent by 60 Minutes.
In a series of recent segments from the continent, 60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible.
Two of these segments were remarkably similar in their basic subject matter, featuring white people who have made it their mission to rescue African wildlife. In one case these were lions, and in another, apes. People of black African descent make no substantial appearance in either of these reports, and no sense whatsoever is given of the countries visited, South Africa and Gabon. Read full article on Guardian website 

The Death of Pan-Africanism

My thoughts on ‪#‎NoToXenophobia‬ ‪#‎WeAreAllAfricans‬

I’m sure W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, C.L.R. James and many others are turning in their graves as racial hatred towards fellow Africans is fiercely growing out of control in South Africa. The brutal attacks by one African to another goes against the very words they taught. As many others who have followed in their footsteps and continue to fight for a unified Africa, begs the question

..keep reading
Media Literacies and Critical Pedagogy in a Multicultural Society
By Douglas Kellner

"A large number of educators and theorists recognize the ubiquity of media culture in contemporary society, the growing trends toward multicultural education, and the need for media literacy that addresses the issue of multicultural difference. There is growing recognition that media representations help construct our images and understanding of the world and that education must meet the dual challenges of teaching media literacy in a multicultural society and sensitizing students and publics to the inequities and injustices of a society based on gender, race, and class inequalities and discrimination". Keep reading full article here
Image by: evai

The killing of Michael Brown has sent the media into a frenzy. While most of the media are focusing on the riots and attacks on journalists, another media frenzy is growing. This time a positive and power movement that has taken the media portrayal of African Americans into a social media campaign #iftheygunnedmedown, in an attempt to highlight the unjust portrayal of African Americans in mainstream media. However, it is important to point out that this is not a new issue, but one that has existed since Jim Crow era when propaganda was used to send messages that demeaned African Americans and legitimized violence against them. Young and older people alike are tired of this racial hatred and profiling, so across the U.S. people have started posting contrasting images of themselves on Twitter alongside the hashtag #iftheygunnedmedown in protest to the way the media portrays black people to make a simple point... stop racial stereotyping. Please add your in support.


God Loves Uganda

YouTube Video

On Sunday evening 2nd February at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, a sold-out audience watched the much anticipated God Loves Uganda, a 90 minute documentary on the impact of the American evangelical movement on the Ugandan LGBT community, followed by a panel discussion. The film centred on the American International House of Prayer (IHOP) tracking a group of young evangelicals from Kansas, USA, to their missionary camp in Uganda.  Keep reading
Binyavanga Wainaina on aid, power and the politics of development in Africa
Eliza Anyangwe talks to the writer of 'How to write about Africa' about how the notion of 'development' and other words incubated in the west fail to capture the reality of Africa. 

'Africa Rising' Conference 
On the 3rd of March in the Brunei Gallery (SOAS), the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) held a one day conference on the media's role in the continent's renaissance, called 'Africa Rising'. 
The title of the conference was inspired by the December 2011 front-page of the Economist - with AFFORD challenging those in the audience to question what the front-page might be in 2030 keep reading 


Africa Writes Back: The Launch of African Literature 
This book may be five years old, but its surprising how many people couldn't name an African writer if asked. We need to educate young people to learn the history and depth of African literature and this book is a great start. As 
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once mentioned about her own writings. The use of  local language and names in her books is not only to be authentic, but for Africans and the African diaspora to not lose touch with their mother-tongue, the names resonate with a particular country and the culture that can easily be lost in countries that are not familiar with the African heritage. Plus, as Binyavanga Wainaina depicted in his well-cited writing How to Write about Africa” we should not let others tell our story.  


Blackout: How Argentina ‘Eliminated’ Africans From Its History And Conscience
Tens of millions of black Africans were forcibly removed from their homelands from the 16th century to the 19th century to toil on the plantations and farms of the New World. This so-called “Middle Passage” accounted for one of the greatest forced migrations of people in human history, as well as one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever witnessed. Keep reading
UNAOC Plural+ Video Competition: Great Short Film about Discrimination & Diversity made by Young People 


Recognising young people as powerful agents of social change in a world often characterized by intolerance, and cultural and religious divisions, PLURAL+ invites youth to address key challenges related to migrant integration, inclusiveness, identity, diversity, human rights and social cohesiveness, both at local and global levels.

New Polis report: Who Cares? Challenges and Opportunities in Communicating Distant Suffering. This report explores the challenges and opportunities in reporting distant suffering. The report written by Dr Shani Orgad based on research by a team from LSE and Birkbeck College will be of interest to NGOs and journalists working within marketing and media coverage of disasters, human rights and development. Read full report here

YouTube Video

How British media portray poverty in developing countries.

A new short film from IDS reveals how the British media portray poverty in developing countries.
Launched today, Famine, War and Corruption: The British Media’s Portrayal of the Global South features interviews with journalists and filmmakers, including Jon Snow (journalist and news presenter, ITN), Caroline Nursey (director, BBC Media Action) and Richard Kavuma (journalist, The Observer, Uganda)


Founder Suzanne Harris was part of a team of facilitators delivering training for the UWC short course “Together for Development” which brought together 51 young people from around the world in Mbabane, Swaziland at the Waterford Kamhlaba United World College. A
 course that aimed to encourage young people to critically engage with the concept of development, and to empower them to contribute to or lead effective development ventures in their home communities and in the wider world. More info
Changing the Face of Africa Talking at FORWARD Conference: Saturday 3rd December 

If you couldn't make it, you missed a fantastic conference about mobilising young African women. If you would like notes from my session on Media through an African Len, then email me. To read more about the event and the organisers click here

What has CTFOA been up to? 

Enterprising Africa - Global Entrepreneurship Week

17th November 2011: CTFOA Founder Suzanne Harris talked at African Foundation for Development's (AFFORD) 'Diaspora & Creative
Enterprises in Africa: Fashion, Media & Music' panel discussion. Find out more Didn't go, don't worry, you can see the presentation here


The Changing Face of Africa - ActionAid Campaigns Workshop

CTFOA Founder Suzanne Harris talks to ActionAid about some of the negative media stereotypes of Africa, why they exist, what can we do about it and how it 
shapes public perceptions of Africa and Africans? Suzanne also explored the impact of this portrayal on the continents economy and the identity of the African diaspora? Read more


Media Literacy Sessions in London

Thousands of young people have gone back to school with the aftermath of the riots still resonating in their minds. What impact has this had on friendships, relationships and identity? Should you do something about it? If you want to find out more about the types of facilitation we offer or book a talk or workshop click here. See the YouTube video that we used below.


Top Story! 50 Things You Didn't Know About Africa Find Out Here


YouTube Video

Changing the Face of Africa's (CTFOA)  is an media education service that was developed by trainer and consultant Suzanne Harris to take a critical look at how the media plays a vital role in changing people’s perceptions about "developing countries" ethnic minorities and those who are vulnerable to media misrepresentation. Changing the Face of Africa will promote media literacy in schools as a tool for changing negative perceptions of Africa, increase critical thinking and reduce discrimination and stereotyping. 

Top news stories: New Schools Programme backed by DFID and DfE


Food for Thought Quotes

“Being oppressed means the absence of choices”  
bell hooks

“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
 Malcolm X 

"For all that has changed, Africa continues to be described through a series of lacks and absences, failings and problems, plagues and catastrophes"

(James Ferguson, Global Shadows)

"We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge."   

John Naisbitt, Megatrends  

" In dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation." 

Twitter user 3arabawy (Hossam), Egyptian journalist

"Without criticism and reliable and intelligent reporting, the government cannot govern." 

(Walter Lippmann)

 "Never believe anything until it's officially denied"

(Claud Cockburn) 

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason”

(Immanuel Kant)

"An emancipated society, on the other hand, would not be a unitary state, but the realization of universality in the reconciliation of differences"

(Theodor Adorno)

"The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis"

(Dalai Lama)
Getting British Business Online
Face of Africa Image by Duncan Walker



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Subpages (1): What We Do
Suzanne Harris,
10 Jan 2011, 04:27