A Billion Reasons to Sell Africa - A Kenyan Case Study

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A Billion Reasons to Sell Africa - A Kenyan Case Study

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Publication 2-year master student thesis
Title A Billion Reasons to Sell Africa - A Kenyan Case Study
Author(s) Christie, Jackie
Date 2014
English abstract
‘Africa Rising’ is an ideology which is gaining increasing traction and momentum amongst economists, analysts and those who would wish to present a positive perspective on the continent’s future. Advertising, more than any other mass media platform stratifies its audience along patterns of consumption and as such manipulates, underlines and marks social difference in ways which are now so embedded as to be commonplace. Using a familiar repertoire of images, Africa Rising is ‘advertising’ the message of positivity and optimism in the same way a soap manufacturer might sell a new handwash. The language and techniques of mass-market billboard advertising – what Stuart Hall would identify as a signifying practice – have technical and semiotic echoes in the branding applied to this ‘renaissance’ theme. The effect of this ideological makeover is to forge a conducive environment to gain buy-in from a sector of Kenyan society that can afford the luxury of the aspiration Africa Rising promises. The messages and values communicated by Africa Rising demonstrate ‘a new ideological use for pictures’ (Sontag 2003: 29), however they are not targeted to those at the base of the pyramid who remain socially and economically trapped by poverty and basic subsistence. The visual rhetoric employed by Africa Rising mines a semiotic vocabulary replete with norms and codes which have meaning inside and beyond the continent and which rely on traditional and received visual conventions. If the African renaissance is to translate into a meaningful ideology of transformation rather than ‘a new brick in the wall of cliches’ (Pieterse 2002: 60) it has to speak to all sectors of society and recognize that external indicators of progress do not necessarily serve those who least have the means to serve themselves.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 76
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Africa
Kenya
Advertising
Semiotics
Billboards
Africa Rising
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/16971 (link to this page)

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