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The way the media reports on a community can have a powerful impact on the way the broader society perceives them. The less that’s known about that community, the more power the media wields, as a primary source of understanding.
Media coverage can foster understanding and empathy, by highlighting achievements by community members, sharing examples of collaboration and goodwill, and telling personal stories that illuminate challenges faced and struggles left behind. But it can also stoke prejudice and cement stereotypes.
How does the Australian media report on Africa and the African community – or communities – in Australia? Is there a perception gap between reporting and reality? And how does this impact on African-Australians?
‘Celebrities and corporations spew forth “smash the patriarchy” and benefit financially from that. You want to talk about boards? I want to talk about how some women can’t get a job.’
Santilla Chingaipe is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. Chingaipe created and hosted the Africa Talks series in partnership with the Wheeler Centre, which explored perceptions about African-Australian identity, representation and politics. She also curated Australia’s first all-day, anti-racism festival, Not Racist, But.... Her work explores contemporary migration, cultural identities and politics. She reports regularly for the Saturday Paper and is a member of the federal government’s advisory group on Australia-Africa relations.
Stani Goma is the presenter and producer of Flight 1067 to Africa on PBS FM every Sunday between 3pm–5pm. The programme features music from all over Africa, and takes the listener on a musical journey around the African continent to discover the rich and diverse sound of Africa.
Ginny Stein is a reporter/producer and camera operator. She has spent much of her career working as a foreign correspondent and filming her own stories.
Bertrand Tungandame has worked as a journalist in print media in Belgium and Rwanda covering events in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. He migrated to Australia in 1997 and joined SBS in 1998 initially as a contributor to the African Program. He was also a contributor to SBS's French radio program in the early 2000’s. Bertrand is currently producing content for Living Black Radio – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s program on SBS radio.
People from Africa arrived in Australia with the First Fleet, but large-scale African immigration to Australia is much more recent – and is hugely diverse. While South Africa and Egypt top the list of African migrants to Australia, Melbourne’s largest African communities are from Sudan and Mauritius – and we’re home to more than half the arrivals from Ethiopia and Somalia.
How do we engage with the African community – or rather, communities? What do we know about the more than 50 countries in this vast – and diverse – continent? And what do we think we know, but actually get wrong?
Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe, an award-winning SBS journalist, will explore the issues and challenge our perceptions in a series of events that tease out the complexities of African-Australian identity, representation and politics.