Harare – A visit to Zimbabwe by Kenyan travel blogger Mercyline Masanya, known on YouTube as African Tigress, has opened a window on how Africa can own its own narrative beyond the frames set by the West through their media outlets.
Masanya, who has been in Zimbabwe for close to two weeks now, started her journey with what is the typical media framing of travel in Africa: immigration officers tried to extort money from her.
She made a video of the incident, prompting the Zimbabwean immigration department to apologise profusely.
Since then, she has travelled around Harare, to Victoria Falls and to other standout spots which define Zimbabwe, all the while filming and sharing her experiences.
The videos, which have gathered more than one million collective views give fresh impetus on the need to finance content creation from Africa and the SADC.
Her similar works in DRC, Morroco and South Africa have created buzz, but not to the magnitude of her Zimbabwean visit.
This has been projected to have potential to change the narrative against the country, which has been
SADC has a 2001 protocol which imagines the same, but it is not yet fully operationalised through implementation.
The Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport seeks to develop policies and programmes in the areas of culture information and sport and facilitate pooling of resources( expertise, infrastructure facilities) by Members States.
“I have always wanted to take my mother for a trip since our father died, but I have been trying to find the appropriate destination. Zimbabwe has captured my heart and I think I will fly my mother in for a few days before I leave,” Masanya said.
Under her videos, most comments have been lamenting how such uniting content is in a way isolated and not as widespread as it ought to be.
Countries have also been criticised for not investing in the shaping of their own national narratives.
She has been touring the country in the company of Zimbabwean national, Harmony “Mr Zimbabwe” Mazai, who has been a revelation, facts roll off his tongue with ease.
Politically, Zimbabwe is one of the most polarized countries, however Masanya has refused to be incited into speaking ill of the country by those who tow the imperialistic line.
“I come from a country that is highly charged politically (Kenya). But I have never seen anyone attack a tourist because they met with citizens aligned to either side. It`s basic logic that a tourist wouldn’t know. Kindly allow me to post my videos and photos without politicizing my work,” said Masanya.