From Cape Town to Cairo
Twenty four journalists from 13 different African countries: Twenty Ten has brought together a veritable United Africa here in Cairo (from Angola to Zimbabwe via Ethiopia, Liberia, Uganda and so many more) with a sufficient range of skin hues to make the group photography I tried last night well nigh impossible. This is some of Africa’s brightest and best – the journalists being trained and briefed here are all aware of the opportunity that lies ahead; of the fact that Africa has never had an Olympics or World Cup on its soil, nor so many billions of eyeballs focussed on it. And theirs is the telling of that African story.
Even the trainers on this course – the second of the four modules that will be held before the end of November – are from all corners of the globe:
Brian ‘Digger’ Williams was born in Australia and now lives in Greece after a career of 37 years with Reuters.
John Chiahemen is Nigerian, now living in South Africa, after a distinguished career with Reuters.
Tony Lawrence is British, but has spent much of his career working around the world with Reuters, Agence France Presse and others.
Carlos Henriques was born in Mozambique, has worked in radio in Portugal and across Africa and is now based in South Africa.
In the coming days these journalists will be delivering the first of their print or radio articles, which will be distributed through Africa Media Online, as we pick up the pace on the road to 2010 and the FIFA World Cup. But in the meantime, I must confess it’s simply the daily interactions that excite me most – the conversations over dinner last night after the official opening offered some of the most insightful and yet entertaining commentaries about the state of Africa that I have ever come across. (When last did you eavesdrop on an opinionated discourse between a Ugandan and a guy from Southern Sudan?)