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Felicity Kendal

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On World Africa Day Isn't it Time We Start to See Africa Differently?

Posted: 25/05/2012 00:00

In a taxi somewhere on the streets of West London the cab driver turned to me and said "What continent has got six of the fastest growing economies in the world?"

"Well it's Asia isn't it!" I replied firmly.

And there an awkward silence ensued...

Ok, so this wasn't a real conversation but a line from a new short film I've made with an online campaign from Comic Relief called See Africa Differently. And yes, the correct answer is Africa! Whilst the driver was an actor and the dialogue was scripted, the cab and the statistic are 100% real.

If I've learnt one thing as an actress over the years it's that there is more than one way to tell a story and this is no truer than when talking about Africa. So often in the media we're faced with a continent ravaged by war and famine, but this is just one narrative among the many untold stories.

This is why I have become involved with this brilliant campaign, See Africa Differently, which aims to tell the good news from the continent which is so often ignored in the news agenda.

There's an African proverb that says "When the music changes, so does the dance." See Africa Differently has a new take on the continent and I think it reflects the changes we're seeing across Africa.

So what have I learnt? Well, I've always known the arts have been at the heart of African culture but did you know that every year the Nigerian film industry produces more movies than Hollywood? I should probably take a trip to Lagos!

Women are also making themselves heard across the continent; 16 African countries have a higher proportion of female MPs than the UK!

This new film hopes to illustrate that Africa is a lion on the move, it's diversity and richness in all things from music to fashion and film and business doesn't leave much room to doubt why it is home to six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world.

You can find the campaign on www.seeafricadifferently.com follow them on twitter @see_africa and you really ought to like them on Facebook at facebook.com/seeafricadifferently

I really enjoyed making this film and its time we all opened our eyes to Africa!

 
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