“Africa is not a country” is not a new concept, but this statement and others have possibly never found such beautiful representation than the work of Ithaca College African Students Association and their campaign titled “The Real Africa: Fight the Stereotype” in a bid to dispel myths about Africa.
Featured on the CNN website yesterday, “The Real Africa” aims to challenge stereotypes with beautifully crafted colourful portraiture and factual information in response to numerous false statements stemming from myths and misconceptions about Africa. “All African look alike” and “Africa is a country” are only a couple of the many false beliefs about Africa challenged by this campaign.
“What we wanted to do was embrace the individual flags of the countries of Africa,” Rita Bunatal, head of PR for the organisation said to CNN’s Theo Kermeliotis, adding, “We wanted to show the beauty and the power of the flag. We also wanted to break one of the biggest misconceptions about the continent, which is that Africa is a country.”
The images for “The Real Africa” shot and edited by Mariah Boucher each photograph show the students posing wrapped in flags of various African countries to create vibrant visuals. Each image also has quotes from the students such as “Africa is not a land filled with diseases” and “I don’t speak ‘African’ because ‘African’ is not a language” and factual information in support of these statements.
“The Real Africa” campaign was introduced on the Ithaca College African Students Association Facebook page with the following:
This campaign aims to educate and create awareness about our beautiful continent. We hope that you like these pictures and we also hope that you can help us share these photo’s, whether it is sharing it, making it your profile photo, tweeting it, or even liking it. The simplest actions can create awareness and we are hoping to not only do that campus-wide but also world-wide.
The African Students Association of Ithaca College first posted their photo campaign on CNN’s iReport platform on January 20. Since then, some 5,000 people have viewed the photos and more than 2,000 have shared them on Facebook.
Here are the campaign images. For more information on “The Real Africa” and Ithaca College African Students Association, you can visit their Facebook page.