Johannesburg — #AfricaNoFilter — a multi-partner collaborative seeking to amplify African voices and reimagine deep-rooted narratives about the African continent – launched today with an expanding group of funding partners and the appointment of new Executive Director Moky Makura. This announcement comes as the collaborative hosts the #AfricaNoFilter 2020 Summit today in Johannesburg, where storytellers, partners, fellows and culture makers discussed how to expand the creation and dissemination of more accurate, nuanced and contextualized stories about the 55 countries in Africa today.
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.
An initial pilot of #AfricaNoFilter, including a robust Fellows program, was met with enthusiastic interest from business leaders, media innovators, storytellers, cultural institutions, artists and funders over the past few years. Now, a broad group of funders have come together with #AfricaNoFilter to expand investments in the already growing ecosystem of narrative change in Africa. Current partners include Nigeria’s Access Bank and its Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Luminate, and Open Society Foundations. Many of these funding partners maintain a long standing presence on the continent with significant programmatic expertise and investments over decades in the people and communities across various regions. #AfricaNoFilter welcomes the support of new partners to expand its reach and impact in Africa, and beyond. With strategic collaboration across sectors and borders, the collaborative aims to bring this essential narrative work – current and future – to scale.
“Narratives about Africa matter because they define how the rest of the world hears our stories, how companies invest in our continent, and how the future for our next generations will be shaped,” said Gbenga Oyebode, Ford Foundation board member and a key Africa No Filter advisor. “It is an honor to be a part of an initiative supporting Africans from all sectors who are telling their own stories and reshaping the way others see Africa.”
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.”
An accomplished writer, journalist, producer, and publisher, Makura brings 25 years of experience working in the media and communications industries across Africa, and understands the importance of uplifting nuanced narratives – and who gets to tell whose stories. For many years, she was the African Anchor and field reporter for South Africa’s award-winning news and actuality show, Carte Blanche. She also created one of the first websites to serve as a repository of positive facts about the continent and showcase its achievements called Africa Our Africa. Makura recently wrote one of South Africa’s best-selling books, Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs, on the success stories of the top entrepreneurs on the African continent. She holds an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK.
Luminate is also among the key funders in the growing collaborative. “At Luminate, we believe that tackling entrenched barriers requires changing the stories and narratives that define our societies and that drive our behavior,” said Wendy Trott, Investment Associate. “This is why we’re proud to support #AfricaNoFilter’s mission to catalyze a world where storytellers, leaders and institutions can work together to build more just and fair societies. We are so pleased that Moky has agreed to bring her considerable talent and experience to advancing this work for Africa No Filter.”
At the #AfricaNoFilter Summit this week, delegates including business leaders, community activists, artists and independent filmmakers shared experiences of how they are changing the narrative around Africa and celebrated collective accomplishments. To date, #AfricaNoFilter partners have launched an #AfricaNoFilter Fellows program to amplify the creativity of innovative artists and journalists across the continent; provided grant funding to ARTerial Network, African Cultural Fund, DocuBox and other African organizations working at the forefront of narrative change; launched a digital media campaign with the Kwesé TV during its World Cup broadcasts; and commissioned new research on how Africa is covered in Western media, and research about the historical roots of African narratives. Building on the foundation of this existing work, additional funding partners and a new Executive Director will position Africa No Filter for limitless expansion and impact.
To learn more about Africa No Filter, please visit AfricaNoFilter.com.
Africa No Filter is a multi-partner collaborative organization supporting emerging African voices – especially young people and women – and investing in new platforms to amplify their stories. By better connecting stories and storytellers and amplifying them to local and global audiences, Africa No Filter aims to accelerate the evolution and influence of more vibrant, accurate and unfiltered narratives about Africa – both within and outside the continent. The collaborative seeks new partners across sectors to expand the reach of individual investments and have a deeper and more lasting impact across the continent, and beyond.