Social Media: Towards the Realisation of A Global Stance for the African Voice.

AuthorEkpe, Bassey Nsa


Social media usage has presented another platform for the African voice to be heard all over the world; with social media African people have the medium to tell their own story to the world. Thus, this paper aims at examining how technologically framed social media articulations have contributed to the realization of a global stance for the African voice.

Key Words: Africa, social media, Internet, African story, global influence.


According to Immanuel Wallerstein (1986), "European colonisation drew Africa into the world system marking the first phase of historical development that led to the incorporation of Africa into the global economy" (p. 111); this is not to say that Africa had no remarkable history before the colonisation process, for even Walter Rodney (2009) noted: "Africa had a meaningful past long before the coming of Europeans; Africans made their own history long after coming into contact with Europe, and indeed right up to the period of colonisation" (p. 132). He adds:

Studies on early African history are lacking for many reasons; the most obvious being that African history was for a long time considered by the colonialists as having so little value that it was not worth reconstructing. Another decisive factor is that studies of Africa were mainly carried out by European bourgeois anthropologists, whose philosophical outlook on 'primitive societies' caused them to separate African society from its historical context (p. 85). Today there are records of the African story both from non-Africans whose assessment are from a sympathetic perspective with sufficient value for them to be respected and used in Africa, and from African historians who provide a syntheses of the continent's history by putting together relevant collections. And with the advent of the Internet, the African story from a non-sympathetic but objective point of view can reach out to the world. The Internet serves as a metaphor through which wider social and cultural anxieties are communicated; this is so typical in the case of the real African story juxtaposing with what the world presumed to be the African story. The Internet, being an object of glorification by its technophile advocates tends to transform human communication towards a more enlightened and creative existence. Worldwide accessibility to the Internet is one of the defining phenomena of the present times reshaping the world. Statista, the online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal that provides access to data from market and opinion research institutions, as well as from business organizations and government institutions describes social media tools as the lovechild of the Internet, which comes in many forms, including blogs, forums, business networks, photo-sharing platforms, social gaming, microblogs, chat apps, and social networks. Thus, Statista reports that the power of social networking is such that, the number of world users is expected to reach some 2.95 billion by 2020, around a third of Earth's entire population.

Taprial and Kanwar (2012) defined social media platforms as "all web based applications which allow for creation/exchange of user-generated content and enable interaction between the users" (p. 8). While Margaret Rouse (2016) described social media tools as "the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration".

Social media are significant channels for information dissemination and communication around the world today. Internet and social media users are increasing at an alarming rate. With Internet technology, social media platforms have made the communication process faster, interactive, user friendly, and enabling user-generated contents. All these make the influence of social media usage far reaching; with good sides and bad sides to it. Social media usage has presented another platform for the African voice to be heard all over the world so that with social media, African people have a medium to tell their story to the world. African people have utilise this platform to make global statements and promote causes the world over. In the specific light of global possibilities brought on by changes in technology and the evolution of social media mediums, this paper examines how technologically framed social media have contributed to the realisation of a global stance for the African voice.

The Making of the African Image

According to Martin Meredith (2011), during the scramble for Africa at the end of the nineteenth century, European powers staked claims to virtually the entire continent. At meetings in Berlin, Paris, London and other capitals, European statesmen and diplomats bargained over the separate spheres of interest they intended to establish in Africa. Their knowledge of the vast African hinterland was slight.

Hitherto Europeans had known Africa more as a coastline than a continent, and their presence had been confined mainly to small isolated enclaves on the coast used for trading purposes, and only in Algeria and in southern Africa had more substantial European settlement taken root.

Meredith added that the maps used to carve up the Africa were mostly inaccurate; large areas were described as terra incognita. When marking out the boundaries of their new territories, European negotiators frequently resorted to drawing straight lines on the map, taking little or no account of the myriad of traditional monarchies, chiefdoms and other African societies that existed on the ground. Nearly one half of the new frontiers imposed on Africa were geometric lines, lines of latitude and longitude, and other straight lines or arcs of circles. In some cases, African societies were rent apart: the Bakongo were partitioned between French Congo, Belgian Congo and Portuguese Angola; Somaliland was carved up between Britain, Italy and France. In all, the new boundaries cut through some 190 culture groups. In other cases...

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