Our Vision

Reflection and Hope

In her Christmas day 2013 message to the UK and the wider family of the Commonwealth, Queen, Elizabeth II started by reminding listeners of someone she once knew who spent a year in a plaster cast recovering from an operation on his back. The individual, the Queen said, read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable. ‘Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly’.

She went on, ‘we all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock. Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives’.

At New Africa Analysis (NAA) we found ourselves in a position of needing to pause and reflect for the whole of 2013. We thought particularly about the pledge we made on our maiden edition of 2009, which came out on the day the dreamer, Barack Obama was sworn into office; the year we dared to kick-off our dream of striving to be a force for change in the continent, by supporting democracy, fighting corruption and reflecting the hopes and aspirations of Africans. We pledged, then, to do so by reporting and analysing news from Africa from a progressive perspective in order to give balance to the continent’s reportage particularly in the Western media, where almost all reports about Africa has to do with war, famine, disease and poverty.

Thinking back to our launch in 2009 reminded us of the long way we have come since then. Most of the progress is good – from a 16-page newsletter to a 52 page fully coloured glossy magazine with a website to boot that attracted approximately 500,000 hits monthly. We started in my backroom in London in 2009, and by 2012 with headquarters in London, we had branches in South Africa and Uganda, with plans still afoot to open our West African branch and to break the American market.

However, been a business concern and trying to expand in this way and with such rapidity, required huge investment, and we explored many options about this, to help us to follow our dream. Experiences in trying to organise this over the past couple of years have been unfortunately frustrated, and we have found ourselves at times assured of funds from investors, banking and other sources, which were then not forthcoming. These are hard economic times, for the whole world, and whilst we here at NAA understand that investors may come and go, one of our reflections has been about not relying on these people to help take our goals forward. This however has obviously had consequences, the main one being the forced retreat we found ourselves in.

However, our forced retreat has been surprisingly enriching and informative and provided us with other opportunities. One thing rings out clearly though, and that is, the mission we set ourselves four years ago is too important to let go of even in the face of enormous challenges. Another thing which came out in our reflection is that Western media will never be the catalyst to change in the continent, because it is not in their interest to do so.

For instance, during Africa’s biggest event in recent history, the burial of Nelson R. Mandela, the international media it seems were present in huge numbers only to find fault at the event, which they found with the ‘bogus’ interpreter. Whilst this was clearly an obvious flaw in the proceedings, it seems that the media’s coverage of that small flaw overshadowed the most important message. This was a funeral of a global icon and an African whose unprecedented tenacity, and determination made a lasting change in the lives of many, all over the world, and who was probably one of the most loved leaders of all time. It seemed a travesty for the coverage to be dominated by an aspect of relative insignificance.

It served to remind us that the international media will never tell our history in a positive light and we should not and should never rely on it to do so. In the words of Albert Einstein, ‘No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.’ The root causes of the problems of Africa, we will argue, stem from slavery, imperialism and colonisation by Western agents. Even though slavery was abolished over two centuries ago and colonialism ended about six decades ago, the scars remain amongst the descendants of the people that suffered; whilst the consciousness of domination and superiority (for that was the driver behind slavery, imperialism and colonisation) still resides with the agent’s descendants and it shows in their dealings and the way they narrate Africa’s story. So, the skewed reporting of the news makes us more than ever determined at NAA to portray a more balanced view of events in the continent.

Consequently, we have also been reflecting on how best to implement a business plan that will make use of both traditional and cutting edge technology reflecting the developments in the digital age. Whilst we are not planning to abandon the traditional glossy paper magazine, emphasis will be placed on digital technology in all possible formats to help convey our message across Africa and beyond, thus making NAA more accessible to the readers we are hoping to engage.

Our period of reflection has now come to a close, and as the man in the plaster cast discovered, the results will be surprising. A renewed vigour is reborn because of the utmost importance of the mission we set ourselves to accomplish in 2009, which we remain committed to. Therefore, we will not relent for whatever reasons to ensure we are a catalyst for change in Africa.