Some couple of years ago when President Thabo Mbeki was inaugurating SABC Africa and quite recently when they were launching SABC International he spoke passionately about the need for local broadcasters to tell the 'accurate' picture of Africa and those Africans in the African Diaspora.

Him and other speakers complained about how they said, Cable News Network (CNN), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Sky and other international news organisations tend to always portray Africa as a continent plagued by wars, corruption, bad-governance and poverty. They argued that the eco-tourism, economic prosperity, pristine beauty and progress of this continent must also be covered intensly to indicate that good things do occur in this dark continent. Yes, when South Africa won the right to host the FIFA World Cup it was news all over the world, when Cameroon nearly won the World Cup it was news, when Nelson Mandela was released it was news, when Mozambique had a peaceful political transition it was also news and when Libyan Brother Leader Muammar Gadafi opened his nuclear laboratory doors to international inspectors it made news.

Granted, Mbeki and his counterparts made a lot of sense without suggesting quotas. It only became nonsense when one remembered that it was foreign news services that exposed to the world the brutality of Rwanda in 1994, a dent which was worth the platform it was granted. All Africans had to do was to commentate the story which they did not. It was the foreign media that exposed the plunder and famine of Stalinist Haille Mengistu Meriam's Ethiopia in 1985 that resulted in foreign artists, not local ones gathering to form a group called USA for Africa and singing one of the songs that launched fallen pop-angel Michael Jackson as a philanthropist to feed the African children while presidents and business leaders sat ontop of billions without any intention of feeding this continent's children. The story the SABC should tell is where is Mengistu now and how is he living and why are the African Union head-honchos suddenly amnesiac about his crimes. Homework for Mpofu and Zikalala. I know where he is and so is half of the human rights activists.

Foreign media played a role in saving millions of African children and I want to argue at this piece that they are more important now than they were thirty something years ago when they were obsessing about the Shah of Iran, the Contras and Vietnam. Well, it was the SABC that told the world that Soweto (meaning South Afrika) was burning in 1976. Actually incase you don't know it was young Freek Robinson (I hope I'm right) whose car was attacked in the south western township. Until recently etv had a programme called World Now which was more of a round-up of what was happening all over the world in the past 24-hours. I was a sucker and I can vouch that they were mostly about death and destruction in some far-away place in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. And who is largely reporting about them, wire service Reuters.

Given the news coming out of the SABC recently, with an African National Congress appointed board, a former Umkhonto we Sizwe commander Dr Snuki Zikalala being the commisar-in-chief there, Advocate Dali Mpofu being the face behind everything going wrong there and its journalists always losing tapes that show the weakness of our government and the ANC, everything coming out of Aucklandpark is taken with a pinch of salt. Nobody believes the SABC any longer and they wonder why they are paying hundreds of rands in TV licenses to subsidise such lies.

After the break....................PAINTING THE AFRIKAN PICTURE

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