Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Publication Date



The purpose if this qualitative research is to acquire new knowledge in the African visual representational landscape, a digital space carefully filmed and edited by some of the most celebrated and acknowledged, mostly Western, NGOs in the world. The most watched Africa-related video from 50 NGOs were selected, downloaded and analyzed. After continuous re-watching of a 3.5 hour long set of visual data tree themes emerged. One segment relates around the NGOs intervention, another about the term or statement ‘help’, and the last theme is HIV/AIDS. The findings include the realization that the beneficiary was never explaining the intervention of the NGOs project itself; he or she, the subject, only represented the need of the intervention. Common words used in the videos analyzed, for example community and help, represents a set of skillfully branded donor-driven words. Controlling their importance and meaning within the system of development allows the development agencies to stay relevant. This analysis proposes a conversation among development practitioners, online and offline, on the topic of mitigating unequal power relations. A set of reverse-representational campaigns have been launched by various NGOs and institutions in the last years; these initiatives paves the way for the future realignment of fighting serotypes in a changing African landscape.