Africa’s brightest minds challenge stereotypes and reimagine Africa at #AfricaNoFilter Summit in Johannesburg South Africa

Africa No Filter, a multi-partner collaborative seeking to amplify African voices and reimagine deep-rooted narratives about the African continent – launched at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg on the 26th February.

The first #AfricaNoFilter summit brought together storytellers, partners, fellows and culture makers who discussed how to expand the creation and dissemination of more accurate, nuanced and contextualized stories about the 55 countries in Africa.

A continent home to 1.2 billion people, Africa boasts 3,000 different ethnic groups who speak more than 2,000 languages, and yet, the continent is often oversimplified, cast as monolithic and the African lived experience is misunderstood by communities around the world.

The #AfricaNoFilter collaborative will connect leaders and accelerate the evolution and influence of more vibrant, diverse and unfiltered narratives about Africa. It will do so by supporting emerging African voices – especially young people and women – and investing in the ecosystem of organizations, individuals and partners working to disrupt existing dominant narratives about the continent.

Graça Machel encourages Africans to define their own narrative at the first #AfricaNoFilter Summit

The summit was opened by Graça Machel, of The Graça Machel Trust, who gave a powerful welcome address to delegates from all over the world.

“We are not going to change the narrative; we are going to define the narrative. We must go back to African sources and use it to define our narrative to the world,” commented Graça Machel.

The #AfricaNoFilter 2020 summit was met with enthusiastic interest from business leaders, media innovators, storytellers, cultural institutions, artists and funders.

The  initiative collaborates with fellows from across the African diaspora who are shattering the stereotypes of how the world perceives Africa today.

These include filmmaker Nicole Amarteifio , artist Phoebe Boswell and  artist/illustrator O’plérou Grebet, writer Maïmouna Jallow, architectural photographer Mutua Matheka, novelist Adaobi Trica Nwaubani  and choreographic artists Selma and Sofiane Ouissi.

The fellows engaged in dynamic panel discussions covering subjects including  “Decoloniality”,  “The true cost of a detrimental narrative” and “Being the Heroes of our own stories”. Delegates then got to experience the work of the fellows in at an experiential Pop Up Gallery that featured visual and sonic exhibits. The summit was attended by notable speakers and personalities including highly distinguished journalist Redi Thlabi, comedian Lihle Msimang who delivered a rousing set, CNN African Voices host Arit Okpo and comedic personality Donavan Goliath.

The new collaborative also welcomes its new leadership and incoming Executive Director, Moky Makura. Makura joins #AfricaNoFilter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she was the foundation’s Country Representative to South Africa, responsible for government relations and oversight on program strategy.

Previously, she was then Gates’ Deputy Director for Communications Africa where she was responsible for building and managing the foundation’s reputation on the continent. Before Gates, Makura was the Communications Director for The Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria.

“There is no shortage of powerful storytellers and creative voices in Africa, and by making sure these stories are heard, we can help remove barriers to progress, justice and inclusion,” said Incoming Executive Director Moky Makura. “For years, I’ve worked on narrative building and connecting stories and audiences beyond borders to amplify the beauty of this continent. I am excited about the opportunity to continue supporting leaders from diverse communities across Africa doing this work, and I remain grateful to our partners for committing to the collaborative’s growth and success.” she concluded.

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