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This interview was done in celebration of one year of publishing  videos about Afrika. Chioma Phillips, the editor of Msingi Afrika Magazine and presenter on Msingi Afrika Television, gave a brief story of how it all started.

When, how and why did you start Msingi Afrika Magazine and TV?

On June 29th 2019, which was actually my birthday, that’s when we released the first issue of Msingi Afrika Magazine, that is: Kenya: Manifesting God. It was a very exciting time. How did we start?

Well, we started literally in our living room, based on months and months of conversation my husband and I were having about Afrika and the state of Afrika. Why are things like this? Why do Afrikan politicians behave like this? Why do they act like that? Why do they make these decisions that just seem to run contrary to any sense? What exactly is going on with our people? Why do they not respond accurately? How come they just remain stuck in these little bubbles? What’s going on?

So, we had talked. But then, we realized that perhaps all this talking was not just talking, it was more a call to action, a call to respond to a responsibility to deliver a new message of hope, to deliver accurate messages to Afrikans. And so, we began with little to no funding. One of our sisters, who does not like to be spoken of, helped us with the seed capital to get some of the software that we needed. Other people chipped in or, you know, scraping together coins from different projects. And we just got started with the magazine because we needed to.

The TV followed later, just last year in 2020, around this time is when we began, because with the magazine yes, we were making traction, we were publishing every two months, but then we realized that there’s so much more that needs to be said even about the topics that we have shared in the magazine and we were like, “How are we going to do this?” And, so, we created an audio-visual platform where we could share thoughts that we had, or interactions with the different brilliant minds that we kept coming across from time to time. And that’s how the journey began.

What’s wrong with the Afrikan story; and why do you think it needs changing?

The Afrikan story has been a bunch of selected messages that have been curated over time by people who have a mindset that they want Afrikans to conform to. That’s basically it, there’s no other way to put it. So, what has happened is that people, known or unknown, have made a decision about how Afrika should think and what Afrika should gradually become, and in order to do that they seed thoughts messages, memories into school books and school curricula, into movies, into novels, into politicians, into news media and so on; so that they can get everybody thinking and talking along the same lines. Either to become the people who are going to be the tools to run corporations that will achieve the end of the people who are actually in charge, or to make sure that resources are spent a certain way, policy goes a certain way, or people don’t actually have the mindset to question the reality on the ground, and to ask the questions that must be asked: Why is Afrika the way that it is? Why do we think the way that we think? Why do we live the way that we live? Why do we corral ourselves into compounds or cliques and associations that all seem to conform to certain patterns?

For the people who don’t stop to actually question and just kind of keep going, life seems to be just fine, a little challenging sometimes, but otherwise just fine. For those who take a moment to step back and look at the bigger picture of what’s going on, they quickly discover there is a problem. It’s like that movie, The Matrix, something else, another reality is playing out that people are not actively, consciously, deliberately tapped into to be able to overcome, and that’s the hugest problem; people are not even active participants in life on earth, they are just tools and minions being used by something else working behind the scenes for their own agendas.

Is there a need for a Media Alliance in Afrika that will help hasten the pace of this change?

Yes, there is absolutely a need for a media alliance of Afrikans and people who love Afrika to share positive, accurate messages about the continent of Afrika, to share the truth about what the challenges are and what to do about them. To share the intricacies and the mysteries that are going on and playing out in western societies and cultures and eastern societies and cultures that have a direct impact on the welfare and the wellbeing on the continent and the people of Afrika. There’s a need for voices from the north, west, east and south of this continent, who care about Afrika’s destiny, to come together to tell people what’s going on.

The call for an Afrikan Media Alliance

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The time has come for any and every responsible Afrikan on this earth to sound their voice in one way or another. Yes. You may not be comfortable in front of a microphone or in front of a camera, and that’s fine, but you might have the resources that are required by those who are comfortable, to be able to tell the stories. You might have the insights, you might have the intel, you might have come across data that is required. The time has come for us to work together to tell accurate stories about Afrika, together. It’s time for us to stop agreeing with them when they say that we are weak, or wicked, or corrupt, or futile, or backward, or ignorant. That is absolutely unacceptable. We cannot agree with our accusers. There are those in our midst who err, and who do not do the right thing by us, we understand that and we will find ways in which to deal with them, but for us to proclaim negativity over ourselves, over our communities, over our children; that is unacceptable.

This coronavirus thing actually is an opportunity for every single Afrikan to come together to create positive stories for their communities. It doesn’t even have to end up on YouTube, you can have a video library where you air your movies for the local community under the moonlit sky; the way that it used to be done and still is in some parts of Afrika. You can create stories that are shared on YouTube or just shared in your family groups, but things that actually articulate and showcase the positive sides of Afrikans in our society today. It’s possible.

We can use our schools to share these stories with young people, so that they get inspired to know that Afrikans can achieve great things and are achieving great things all over the world. So, yes, this is a call for all voices who want to change the story of Afrika to begin to do so. It is possible, a mobile phone, a friend with a camera, people who are willing to participate… that’s all it takes to change this narrative.

And, in addition, I call upon people who make movies, especially our brothers and sisters in Nollywood. You guys have an amazing platform, it’s the most massive movie industry that we can know of, it’s the most influential. Instead of twisting narratives to be about the negative aspects of society – and not just Nollywood, any other movie maker – make it about overcoming, make it about victory, make it about the greatness of Afrika and Afrikans.

Take a leaf from what the Americans did with their propaganda movies that they have fed us for generations. And if you have not noticed, China is doing it now. Their own movie industry is always showcasing the greatness and the finesse of the Chinese, the expertise of their engineers and their scientists, how effective their policing is and their spy networks and so on and so forth.

It’s time for Afrika’s voice and Afrika’s narrative to change and to celebrate the beauty and the blessedness of the continent Afrika. Let’s go out and do that for each other and for ourselves, shall we?

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