An article by BuzzFeed that recently went viral with over 1.6 million Facebook shares, highlighted 21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity. Unfortunately, Africa and Africans were absent from the piece. Despite efforts to change existing narratives, the African continent is still widely known as a leading recipient of international aid and the place where international NGOs come to ‘save’ the fragile local population. While there is no denying the enormous needs of the continent, what is often lost in the many humanitarian stories from the region, are the stories of Africans helping Africans. But there is no shortage of great testimonies of human spirit from the African continent. Here are a few photos and videos that show that “Africa’s got Heart” too:
Protecting fellow citizens during prayers in Egypt:
On February 3, 2011 during the Egyptian revolution, Christians put their own lives at risk protecting Muslims praying at Tahrir Square in Cairo, amid violence between protesters and Egyptian President Mubarak’s supporters. For more background on the context of the photos, see our special coverage of the Egypt protests.
Egyptian Copts protecting Muslims on February 3 on Tahir Square – Public Domain
Welcoming home returning IDPs in Sudan:
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) returned to their original village, Sehjanna, after living seven years in an IDP camp in Aramba. They are welcomed by relatives and friends who stayed back. The voluntary repatriation program is organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission.
IDPs return to their village and are hugged by the villagers on Flickr by UNHCR (CC license-BY)
Saving elephants in perils in Zambia:
From the Norman Carr Safari in Zambia: “The Kapani Lagoon is a source of drinking water for the animals of the area, as well as the place to go for a relieving mud bath. Unfortunately though, a young calf was unlucky enough to get stuck in the mud when visiting the lagoon recently. The calf’s cries attracted her mother who rushed to her rescue, only to get stuck in the mud herself.”
Elephants stuck in mud. Image by Abraham Banda, Norman Carr Safaris
Team trying to rescue the elephants. Image by Abraham Banda, Norman Carr Safaris
The elephant comes out of the mud. Image by Abraham Banda, Norman Carr Safaris
Overcoming cyclone together in Madagascar:
Cyclone Giovanna made landfall in Madagascar [fr] on February 13, 2012. The cyclone was classified as a category 4, with winds of up to 194 km (120 mph) ripping up trees and electricity towers. Officials reported that there were at least 10 casualties. The two main cities in Madagascar, Antananarivo and Toamasina, were out of power for long stretches, marking the darkest Valentine’s Day yet in the country. The cyclone did not dampen the spirit of Malagasy people, who showed resilience and helped one another to move away from the flooded areas, all the while still wearing their brightest smiles.
Citizens helping each other and still smiling despite the flood during Cyclone Giovanna by Twitter user @aKoloina
Helping students with disabilities in Ghana
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is an athlete and activist from Ghana. Yeboah was born with a severely deformed right leg. Yeboah rode 380 kilometers across his country to raise awareness and change perceptions of the disabled. He opened the Emmanuel Education Fund for promising students with disabilities.
Yeboah discussing overcoming disabilities with a child in a wheelchair. Screenshot from the documentary Emmanuel’s Gift
Celebrating peaceful elections in Senegal:
An historical ending to a tense electoral period took place in Senegal on March 25, 2012. Incumbent president Wade was defeated in the presidential elections after citizens protested for months against his nepotist and authoritarian regime. In downtown Dakar citizens celebrated the peaceful end of the Wade regime.
Demonstrators show their joy by Nd1mbee on Flickr, used with his permission
Protecting marine life in Mozambique:
Janet Gunter showcases a local NGO, Bitonga Divers, that strives to protect marine life by “making positive links between protecting sea life, tourism and economic development.” Here is a video of their work[pt]:
Winning an Olympic heat for Equatorial Guinea, months after learning how to swim:
Eric Moussambani Malonga is a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea. He gained fame when he won the heat although he had never raced more than 50m before the preliminaries, and was swimming by himself when the two other swimmers in his heat were eliminated for false starts. Eric confessed that the last 15m were very difficult for him as can be seen in the video. Yet his willingness to finish the race, while struggling mightily earned him a standing ovation from the audience.
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