Africa Communications Week is a week for communications experts get together and discuss issues affecting their industry. The Johannesburg edition of this event was hosted by PR Trends a leading public relations company based in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The theme this year “Telling an authentic and balanced South African narrative” focused on what can be done to change the country and continents current narrative. With so many negative narratives being shared about the continent on western media it is the responsibility of communications experts on the continent to actively work towards changing the narrative.
Guest of honor and speaker Professor Miguel Barreiro – Laredo an associate professor at IE School of Human Science and Technology, challenged professionals to know the importance of diversify the narrative and storytelling. He emphasized on the need for everyone to know where narratives and stereotypes come from and to be able to create their own narrative. As it stands most of the stories of Africa come from western media with their stereotypes of the continent and don’t reflect the true image of South Africa and Africa in general.
An important issue raised during the discussions was that of media ownership and how much that affects the narratives put out to the world. The point of controlling your narrative was said not to be of getting rid of the current storytellers but to be able to create a parallel narrative that will share your own side of the story in an authentic way. A representative from the South Africa government, Mr Ayanda Holo says it’s important for South Africans to be part of the discussions and the task of creating a positive narrative and their government is supporting just that.