??? The new old (West) Africa.

Is is just me or did anyone else pause when they saw this post at Boing Boing?

Why pick this image? It might be me but when I think of West Africa, this is not the image that comes to mind.

Is there anyone out there who still truly believes that this image is representative of the way the West Africa looks today?

[edit]
Seems like the post at BoingBoing has been updated to indicate that this is the oldest photo from region that they could find.
[edit]

Discuss - 4 Comments

  1. AfroM says:

    yeah i saw it too. I paused and wondered the same thing…

    Boing boing typically has an artistic bent so perhaps xeni was trying to allude to that? Even then there are many artists and artwork f that are more representative of w. africa. She could have started at african painters

    Btw, i like the new blog look (i typically read your posts in my newsreader) Nice visual surprise on click-through!

  2. Xeni Jardin says:

    Hey — thanks for reading BoingBoing, first. And yeah, I should have explained better why I posted the image, I can see why it would seem weird or — I don’t know, racist or romanticized, out of context.

    Basically, this was the absolute oldest photographic image I could find of Benin. I’m sure it doesn’t represent contemporary life in West Africa, but that wasn’t the point.

    When I go out and do these reporting trips, each time I’m basically trying to better understand how the oldest cultures in the world intersect with the newest culture, that of the internet. I’m no expert on West African culture, but I want to understand better how IT and sustainable development technology are being used by Africans to support indigenous economies in Africa. Not replacing one culture with another, but using indigenous knowledge and local intelligence to create better futures.

    I think any set of questions like that is best started with a look back at the past. So, that’s what I was doing here. Looking back at the earliest recorded photographic history of this place, a snapshot from a hundred years ago. What traces of that exist now?

  3. sokari says:

    i guess they realised their “error” just in boing time – yes cool new look Steve!

  4. (Unrelated to above post)

    I guess I am too early for my weekend fix of African Music. I am such a junkie! :)

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