The Way Western News Portrays Us And The Need To Tell Our Own Stories

Western News

People sometimes wonder why Viva Naija came to be. Why we insist on articles that celebrate and elevate us, our people, our achievements and our way of life. The examples below will hopefully shed some light on that.

I have had a BBC news tab opened for days on end because the title of the article intrigued me:


The water gap – ‘I’ve never showered’: Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, is suffering from a major water shortage – and a generation has grown up never having taken a shower or flushing a toilet.


I thought “Wow, this is horrific! Never showered? Ever? A grown young man? I need to read and watch the short clip; maybe shed some light on this on

It stayed open for days because I was reluctant to watch it. Anything that speaks badly of Africa breaks my heart.

I finally got the nerve to watch it tonight and the headline was, as you would imagine, most misleading. What they should have said was that these young people had never used a shower before. You know – the oyinbo contraption where water spouts out of a metal  pipe head. There was certainly water shortage, but these people bathed. And very often too.

Dr Oluyinka Olutoye, the Nigerian born surgeon who took a baby out of her mother’s womb, operated on her tumour, and then placed her back to be born at the right time.


The next example is to do with the tragic and horrific murder of Lee Rigby. Fusilier Lee Rigby was attacked and killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London. For weeks on end, we heard about “The Black British…The Nigerian who…The Black man who…” The insistence on an adjective that barely described this disgusting murderer – one of them had never even set foot in Nigeria, and the other had visited his ancestral home barely a handful of times in his entire life. These boys were no more Nigerian than I am Uzbek; they were British.


Pearlena Igbokwe -2
Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television, the production branch of the NBC television network in America.


I grieved over the Rigby death. I live in the UK and I wear my poppy with pride. Despite being Nigerian by heritage, I am still overwhelmed by the sacrifices that people like him paid and are paying daily to let me enjoy the freedom that I do. What these men did to him was unforgivable. But spinning a hate rhetoric on an already sensitive crime only serves to instil anger, fear and discord between people who have previously lived cheek-by-jowl. Especially if the rhetoric is false!


Moyinoluwa-Adeyemi - Yoruba Watch App
Moyinoluwa Adeyemi: the brilliant young woman who has created an app for telling the time in Yoruba!


It is for these reasons that we strongly believe that we must beat our own drum till it tells our truths. Every single successful Nigerian, son-of-the-soil or tenuously linked, must and will be celebrated. If you do something right, even if you have never set foot on the continent, we will celebrate you. When you feed the needy, invent something, create an app or excel in banking, we will tell the world about it. Nigerians are wonderful people. Africans are brave, strong, determined, tenacious and HERE TO STAY.


Abiyamo Oluwakemi Onabanjo - INSEAD valedictorian
©Abiyamo| Oluwakemi Onabanjo – INSEAD valedictorian


And we will be reminding you of this fact. Every. Single. Day.

Viva Africa!

Viva Naija!


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