Pictures have long been used to convey different messages throughout history. They have been used for cultural, political and other events in the society to put emphasis or communicate more directly to the audience. This paper seeks to use a series of pictures representing poverty in Africa to identify how pictorial representation describes the intended event, crisis or situation; they knowledge they create and whether they produce any differing views in the reader/viewer.
The series of pictures shown above highlights the issue of poverty in Africa. These pictures have been published online to show the world the gravity of the poverty situation in the African continent. Indeed the pictures communicate a lot and can evoke an emotional feeling to anyone who sees them. The pictures represent the suffering of majority of the African people as a result of many historical injustices and political conflicts.
The website that shows this picture does not offer much description, it only mentions that poverty is in the eye of the beholder. The pictures shown above are very graphic and will give authentication to any story describe the problem of poverty in the African society. Poverty leads to starvation which is the worst form of malnutrition resulting into emaciation. The children shown in the above pictures are extremely emaciated. This implies that they have gone for days without food due to lack of means of getting food.
These pictures highlight the issue of poverty because it’s clear that the children shown have no access to any basic need but they do not offer more details of what may be the cause of the poverty portrayed. It’s important to note that the causes of poverty are widespread.
People can become poor due to ignorance, extreme whether conditions that result into draught, wars and conflicts, poor governance and exploitation. The above pictures do not offer much evidence as to what might be the real cause of poverty. However, the crowding might indicate that these are refugees fleeing from a conflict zone or trapped in remote place with no food water and other basic needs.
This do not come as a shock to fellow Africans or even people from other societies. The entire world knows that poverty as a disease affects Africa many times more than other regions of the world. African countries always come at the bottom of any indices that measure quality of life. The pictures only confirm what is already known the world over.
The world also knows that Africans are responsible for their own poverty. The above pictures may get people talking about how African governments are not doing much for their people. But it’s not the failure of African governments that precipitates these extreme cases of starvation.
The African problem is much bigger than just governance. Indeed corruption and other vices seen in most African governments are things that should not be encouraged at any time. However, it should be appreciated that there are other causes of poverty that are much bigger and difficult to tackle.
The biggest of them all is the issue of land. Sub Saharan Africa has enough arable land that can feed many more people however. However, land has been a thorn in the flesh since the scramble and partition of Africa and the subsequent colonial rule. Many African communities were pushed away from arable land to pave way for large scale farming by colonial governments.
At the time of independence the lands were shared among few privileged Africans or retained by white settlers who wished to remain. This led to millions of people becoming landless or squatters. Most of these large tracts of land are currently held as ranches or horticultural farms that grow crops for export. The other portions are largely underdeveloped but owned by influential Africans or settlers who have several other means of generating their income.
Majority of the population are trapped in endless conflicts. Others fighting to retain their communal land and others fighting as squatters who were brought there during the colonial period.
There are several guerilla wars that are sponsored by foreign governments competing for African resources. This guerilla wars that are disguised as liberations movements displace millions of people leaving them vulnerable to poverty.
African governments are in most cases poor and cannot contain the guerilla conflicts because they are sponsored by rich foreign governments with interests in African resources.
There are also several other African problems that precipitate the above poverty conditions. The refusal to change from the traditional ways of farming makes the population to be vulnerable to the effects of drought. Poor land legislations and high illiteracy levels are other issues that contribute to this kin of situation.
It’s therefore important for any viewer or reader to identify the other aspects that may be creating the situation depicted in the pictures rather just to simply blame Africans for their problems.