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Africa-China journalism

Barry Van Wyk and Bob Wekesa on how journalists are finding new ways to describe the China-in-Africa story.

I
n November 2016, Sinica co-host Jeremy Goldkorn attended a conference in his native South Africa called the Africa-China Journalists Forum. The forum was convened to discuss the often-polarized media coverage of China’s involvement in Africa, and to consider how to accentuate the African perspective — rather than the Chinese or Western ones — on how China is changing lives in Africa. In addition to moderating the forum, Jeremy interviewed two organizers of the forum who are longtime observers of China in Africa: Barry Van Wyk and Bob Wekesa. Both are highly knowledgeable of journalism in Africa, and work for the Africa-China Reporting Project at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, where the forum was held.

In this short episode, Barry and Bob explain the differences between Chinese, African, and Western journalists, the state of reporting on China-in-Africa issues, and the work that the Africa-China Reporting Project is doing to build a “human grassroots approach” to reporting such a large and controversial story. They also recommended several of their favorite stories that have come out of the project in its work to sponsor aspiring African and Chinese journalists:

  • Nfor Kingsley Monde on China’s role driving deforestation in Cameroon, and on the flipside, Manyanye Paul Ikome on how China has contributed greatly to improving public health in that same country.
  • Other stories on health care, such as this one by Fousseni Saibou.
  • A few highlights from Chinese journalists: Chen Xiaochen on a sisal farm in Tanzania, and Yang Meng on the gold mines of Ghana.
  • Fredrick Mugira on Uganda’s copper mines.
  • Stories on the Standard Gauge Railway being built in Kenya and east Africa, such as this one by Allan Olingo.

How to Listen

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