African Storytelling: A Reflection on WYA Africa’s Film and Photography Workshop

It was a cold, rainy Saturday morning in Nairobi, and there was no sign of a sunny and warm day ahead. Meanwhile, at the World Youth Alliance Africa regional office, the team was working hard to set everything in place anticipating and hoping for an eventful day at the film and photography workshop. Luckily the skies cleared up and the promise of a good day could be seen finally. I was personally looking forward to this day and for the great speakers that were invited to share their thoughts and how film and photography are in harmony with dignity. I took a keen interest in this topic having in mind that I am currently enrolled in the Certified Training Program (CTP) formally known as Track A and it is one of the agendas that is dissected and served in a silver plate for those hungry and have a thirst for knowledge.

The warm reception of the WYA Africa team was quite comforting and the smiles and happiness in them to see us made it worth the effort of waking up that cold and rainy morning. The topics for discussion on the program were very exciting. The discussion on the African film that tells African stories was my favorite and it ignited a passion for a massive interactive session. I am a communications practitioner and I strongly felt that there isn’t much that has been done to tell the true original African story. The speaker really elaborated the agenda intensively and knowledge was oozing out of him. I was left stunned and breathless. The amount of knowledge that he had and his general worldview and perception of it and how we can maintain dignity amazed me. His hypothesis was purely derived from facts upon facts this made other attendees and myself see an imaginative picture that he was describing; “purely a Machiavelli masterpiece”.

After the discussion, I can now say with all levels of confidence that there are many ways that I can use to tell the African story apart from just telling it through professional photography, cinematography, videography or by using my mobile phone. The little things that I can do can make a huge difference and tell a story that not even Shakespeare can live again to tell. We literally have the power in our hands. We just need to go back to our roots and use our own ways to tell a story that will be passed on from generation to generation.

It is our diversity that makes us truly the first wonder of the world. We can all use this uniqueness to brainstorm and come up with virtuous ways that can live to tell a remarkable story. A man without culture is like a zebra without stripes, it’s time we became proud of who we are, our diversities and ways of expressing ourselves. Let’s unite and tell the African story in an African way and let our roots never rot but always use it to make a difference and bring joy and happiness.

Written by Victor Brian K, a WYA Member and WYA Africa ELC Alumnus from Kenya.