History Revealed


How a continent sees itself

African Renaissance / BBC Four, August

What would a televisual history focused on Africa look like if it put the perspectives of Africans themselves front and centre rather than, as so often, seeing the continent through the prism of European colonialism? It’s a question answered by broadcaster Afua Hirsch in a new series that looks at culture and art in three different nations: Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya.

One of Hirsch’s starting points, laid out in her introduction to the documentaries, is that Africa is so culturally diverse that it’s home to 3,000 ethnicities and 2,000 languages. To look at that another way, it’s a continent so filled with stories it would be impossible for viewers to have heard all of them.

And many of

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