Pandemic politics and Africa: Examining discourses of Afrophobia in the news Media

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In addition to the devastating loss of lives, the harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to individuals and communities around the world has caused seismic disruptions in economic, social and interpersonal relationships. The pandemic has affected international diplomatic relations as well by amplifying existing geopoliti¬cal tensions. By situating discourses of Africa and Africans within global ferments of pandemic politics, this study interrogates how Africa and its peoples were invoked in global media. Drawing from postcolonial theory and conceptual propo¬sitions of Afrophobia, the study uses multimodal discourse analysis to critically examine news stories that engaged with two phenomena: Controversies regarding the African director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) and xeno¬phobic treatment of Africans in China. Findings indicate elements of Afrophobia were evident in the Trump Administration's and US conservative media outlets' engagement with WHO. Additionally, the study showed the mainstreaming of non-western Afrophobia through the example of the xenophobic treatment of Africans in China. It concludes by proposing a contextual, intersectional and criti¬cal geopolitical analytical optics for a more robust understanding of the global Black experience.




Workneh, T. W. (2022). Pandemic politics and Africa: Examining discourses of Afrophobia in the news Media. Journal of African Media Studies, 14(1), 159–176.

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