"Nothing exists in Africa until a white person discovers it" - exclaimed one user on Twitter.
This would be the most apt way to describe how western media often tries to depict Africa to the world. To them, Africans see nothing, hear nothing, smell nothing, feel nothing.
This week has been filled with the news of a "rare" black leopard that was found in Kenya. It was reported that "a rare black leopard was captured" and the angle that the major news outlets from the West took was one whereby they postulated that they owned the "confirmation" of the black leopards in Kenya.
Nick Pilford, a global conservation scientist said he is "aware of a few different photos taken over the years, but most of them are taken from a distance and could not be used as confirmatory evidence."
He dismissed 2013 images taken by a Kenyan photographer Phoebe Okall for the Daily Nation Newspaper by saying it "is a captive black leopard that was brought from America as a kitten to Kenya, not wild." Just imagine.
White people always want to control the narrative of Africa. Take for instance Victoria Falls between Zimbabwe and Zambia. History books will tell you that it was "discovered" by David Livingstone and was named after Queen Victoria. But it was already called Mosi-oa-Tunya by the locals which means "the smoke that thunders."
Kenyans have now come forward saying that they took images of the black leopard some years back. A Kenyan who goes by the name Joe Gichuki wrote on his Facebook account that he took images of a black leopard back in 2013. He posted the images in the post.
So in as much as they may claim that these are the first images of a black leopard in 100 years, it's really a lie.
Kenyans have always known about this.
Another Kenyan, Letoluai Ambrose who is 24, said that he had many images of the animal, despite having helped set up a remote camera that captured the images of the black leopard since January 2018. He said that he was surprised the animal was getting such massive worldwide attention.
These cats have always been sighted in Kenya at different places and at different times.
“Ultra-rare black leopard is photographed for the first time in 100 YEARS in Africa,” read the Daily Mail, a British publication. But really?
It is a lie that black leopards have not been spotted in Kenya, and in Africa at large, for a century.
Capturing the images was a good feat, remarkable so to say, but the story was heavily distorted. That's what they did. National Geographic, CNN and the others - they all distorted the story. High quality images, yes, but not the first sighting of a black leopard in a hundred years.
Header image credit - Burrad Lucas