Social media is a definitive way people connect with parts of the world they will never see in person. The image sharing site of Instagram is an example, garnering over 1 billion monthly users as of June 2018. Instagram has also been an effective method for users across the continent of Africa to broadcast their rich lives and careers. BBC author Adora Mba in October 2019 made a case for Instagram being beneficial for Africa as a way to challenge stereotypes, particularly in the countries of Ethiopia and Ghana. With the main focus on these countries, this article will highlight four Instagrammers showcasing Africa, and how they’re making a difference.
4 Instagrammers showcasing Africa
- Everyday Africa: An Instagram that describes itself as a “collective of photographers looking to broaden the perception of Africa beyond the headlines.” With 404K followers on Instagram, Everyday Africa uses its large platform to display African life and highlight positive actions being taken. On Oct 21st, 2019, Everyday Africa posted about environmental activist Modou Fall from Dakar in Senegal. With a goal to raise awareness about plastic waste in Senegal, Fall travels through Dakar in a costume made out of recycled plastic to invite conversation. This Instagram also posts about sporting events, such as a Uganda vs. Nigeria basketball game held in Kampala, Uganda on September 9th, 2019. Through the Everyday Projects part of Every Africa’s site, photographers are also hired within their community to accurately portray life in their countries; another positive aspect of the Instagram account. Everyday Africa is a noteworthy part of the 4 Instgrammars showcasing Africa because of all the organization publicizes.
- Prince Gyasi: The Ghanain Instagrammer has 82.6K followers and uses his platform to highlight the stories from marginalized communities in his home city of Accra. Gyasi uses his Instagram platform to advertise for the nonprofit BoxedKids that he is a co-founder of. Boxedkids is a campaign that seeks to provide education to children in the district of Jamestown in Accra, Ghana. Gyasi will mainly use his account to highlight ordinary people in his community, such as a photo showcasing the “mothers of Jamestown” posted on February 17th, 2019. As part of the Boxedkids series, Gyasi posted two children fishing in Jamestown in November 2018. Prince Gyasi recently did an interview with BBC News to expose others to his work, making him a prominent one of the 4 Instagrammers showcasing Africa.
- Nana Kofi Acquah: With the username “Africashowboy”, Acquah has 9.5K followers on Instagram. Acquah uses his platform to highlight life in Ghana, such as the Jamestown fishery life photo posted on August 15th, 2019. The popular Instagrammer will also use his platform to highlight societal issues going on in the country of Ghana: such as men working in illegal mining operations, women who are surviving Obstetric Fistula during childbirth, or birthing traditions for Ghanaian women. Acquah’s account will vary from urgent posts about child labor in the fishery industry to one’s about weddings in Ghana. Acquah’s variety of content that always includes a story of text with each photograph makes him a significant Instagram influencer for Ghana.
- Eyerusalem Jiregna: An Ethiopian photographer with almost 9,000 followers, Jiregna is a feminist addition to these 4 Instagrammers showcasing Africa. Primarily focused in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Jiregna’s The City of Saints 2017 photography series highlights the women in her area. In a 2019 interview with Whitewall Art, the Instagram artist describes her main focus of photography as: “architecture, fashion, culture, and history.” Examples of this include a photo posted on Nov 8th, 2019, depicting women in the Addis Merkato (marketplace). She also spotlights mothers with their children under a hashtag of #motherhood to give credit to mothers in Ethiopia and their livelihoods. Another very prominent part of Jiregna’s photography is to highlight religious celebrations for Christians in her country.
The power of photography can give insight into the culture of a people. The use of images has been a significant way people in the African countries of Ghana and Ethiopia have been expressing themselves to the world, and these 4 Instagrammers showcasing Africa are just a few examples of them. Advocacy can be done through people telling their own stories, and the platform of Instagram has been a way to introduce African life to the world in the 21st century.
– Natalie Casaburi