Charlayne Hunter-Gault helped integrate the University of Georgia as a student in the 1960s, served as Harlem bureau chief for the New York Times during the Black Panther movement, and won awards for her coverage of South Africa on PBS.
After 10 years in Johannesburg, reporting for CNN and NPR, she’s seen her fair share of dysfunction, corruption, and poverty. Yet her assessment of Africa’s progress makes it sound better, at least in some ways, than Cleveland…
For example, she says many African people are living in countries where their leaders have pledged to stop taking advantage of them — as in stop stealing resources for their own gain. “I think that’s new news,” she says. Unfortunately, it’s not news that we tend to report here.
Hunter-Gault spoke at the Cleveland Public Library Sunday to promote her book, New News Out of Africa
, which shuns the traditional war-torn, starving kids motif to point out some of the positive strides on the continent. She noted South Africa’s role in promoting diplomacy in other countries, its anti-corruption police force, and the emergence of peaceful elections (in places other than Kenya).
“Why do you think Bush is in Africa?” she asks “It is in America’s national interest for Africa to succeed.”
She urged the audience to reconsider the images of death, disease and despair that the mainstream media provides of Africa, and instead evaluate the continent for themselves. “So she can be treated for what she is — the mother of us all.” – Lisa Rab