This is me, closing the chapter on Louise Linton and her book on this blog, and it will be the last I speak on the subject on eyewoke because this is not what I created it for.
When I first published the review on her memoir, it was not in my wildest dreams that it would get as much attention as it has had; Twitter has been up in flames with the #LintonLies hashtag and a number of newsdesks have written about the whole thing. I am glad that the truth is out and the record has been set straight, and I think this is also a win for my fellow Zambians who stood united and made sure the truth was heard.
However, this also got me thinking; social media is such a powerful tool to get one’s ideas across and voice heard. I had heard of that before, but I did not believe in it as much… until the events of the past two days happened. With the internet, and social media apps, the world has been shrunk into a flat surface where people can interact in real time and share ideas back and forth. This is such a great thing because, instead of solely depending upon books, or news agencies, there are actually boots on the ground that can give us the lowdown in real time. Not that books or news agencies are bad, it is just that in many cases, the focus tends to be on a limited set of issues, painting one picture and leaving out the rest.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the danger of a single story; yes, more stories on African countries are being written, and they are getting more attention than they did in the past. But what is the content of these stories? Do they chronicle the complex, diverse lives of the people and/or events they are based on, or do they follow a single narrative that we have seen far too often?
Let Linton’s case be an example, a platform on which we can build a conversation about the portrayal of not only African countries, but also other countries in the media. Before change, there needs to be conversation- a back and forth where everyone’s view is captured so that no man is left behind in the process.
No two countries are the same, and within those countries, no two places are the same…and this continues up until the last man. What is happening in Lusaka is not what is happening in Ndola, what is happening in Kakamega is not what is happening in Eldoret, what is happening in Gaborone is not what is happening in Orapa, and that is the beauty of diversity. Every person, place and time has its own unique story waiting to be told; let us take advantage of social media to share these stories. Because not only does it result in a rich exchange of knowledge, it will bring us closer together as a people.