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Changing narrative on Africa

BEST of Africa host Mukuka Nkunde (centre) with guests during the launch of the Best of Africa in Lusaka recently.

PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka
TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Zangose Tembo quit her luxurious job at a United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation called One Young World to establish an online platform where people can share different stories on Africa.
Zangose was working as a community relations executive at this organisation in London where she used to scrutinise applicants for scholarships for people who wanted to attend a summit.
She started saving money to open the website whilst she was working. During that time, she wrote and posted articles on Africa on her Facebook page. It was from that platform that she was able to identify a few people that she could work with.
“I started by posting my thoughts on Africa on my Facebook page, the response was overwhelming, I didn’t expect people , especially the youth, to be interested in African politics or other stories. Some even encouraged me to open a bigger platform while others offered to work as volunteers,” she said.
Zangose’s passion and interest in politics and Africa prompted her to establish the Best of Africa, an online media platform that gives people an opportunity to share their views and share information on Africa. The topics range from politics, development, poetry, health, sports among others. The platform has about 10,000 readers annually.
Zangose developed interest in Africa, especially politics, at a tender age and that it grew as she grew order. She said some Western countries portray most African countries to be poor and hopeless, hence her decision to create the platform, where Africans can give a true picture of their continent to the world.
Zangose, an undergraduate student of international relations which she completed in June 2015 at the University of Leicester and later graduated with a master’s in international development from the University of Warwick in 2017, came up with a course that would give her an insight of African politics and other areas of interest.
“I have always been concerned about the way most African countries are depicted. They are considered very poor and always depending on others for help. I wanted to change that perception and only focus on the truth about Africa. We are not as poor as we are portrayed and we have achieved a lot of things that the world does not know yet,” she said.
Zangose is currently working with eight other young people from across Africa and the UK. Some are in charge of collecting stories, editing and managing finances and the website.
Like any other successful story, Zangose could not have achieved what she has without encountering trials. Some of the challenges that she and her team have faced include lack of consistent funding and workforce because most young people are not willing to work without getting paid.
“Majority of the people I am working with are from the UK, but I am hoping that others, especially from Zambia, will join so that we can change the way people look at our continent. We have engaged some organisations to help us with funding,” she said.
Zangose said she gets her inspiration from her mother, who is a nurse in the UK. She said her mother has been a pillar of strength as she always encouraged her to work hard.
The Best of Africa platform will be officially launched in Zambia next week Saturday at the Lusaka Museum.
Zangose urges younger people to develop interest in research and read widely to avoid being misled by people who post unverified or biased information on social media. She said young people hold the future of Africa hence the need for them to be responsible and start preparing to take over from the current crop of leaders.
“This change must and should start with us as young people because we are the most active on these social media platforms. There are a lot of people who are on social media and others take whatever they hear vas gospel truth,” she said.
Zangose also urged the youth to speak good about Africa especially Zambia. She said attracting investment that will benefit Zambians should not be left to government alone but requires everyone’s effort including the youth.

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