News out of Africa is often so sparse and distant, that it
sometimes seems as if it is a different world, or that it doesn’t exist at all. Simply the fact that we know the
place as ”Africa”, as opposed to identifying any particular country within the continent when we discuss
issues there, is a sign of our disregard and ignorance of the place. Africa is way “out there”, utterly foreign
and therefore hardly worthy of our attentions…or so goes the popular feeling, it sometimes seems.
Well, that may change (or it may not). Several seasoned TV executives are
the Africa Channel, to be on your cable service soon. The effort is being spear-headed by James Makawa, a native of
Zimbabwe, Jacob Arback, a former vice president of DirecTV International, and Richard Hammer, a former executive
with Columbia Pictures Television. The hope is that by bringing everyday stories about what goes on in Africa, people
will become much better informed about the vast continent and its people. The channel will feature original
newsmagazine, reality TV, travel and soap opera segments produced largely in Johannesburg. The effort is noble and
sure. The question of whether people will watch…is not.