'Country positivity is like body positivity'

Mapp Up is new geolocation platform that shares videos made by young African content producers.

It contains a map of the world, developed in collaboration with mapping software OpenStreetMap. where you can find locally-created ambient videos that show an unexpected side of a place. A video posted from South Africa, shows the view from a motorway bridge in Yeoville, Joburg. Another shows families walking past a spectacularly beautiful ancient mosque in Kaedi, Mauritania. It’s a far cry from the stereotypical images tourists and newscasters choose to share.

The idea of Mapp Up’s videos more generally is to share positive content and portraits of people across the continent. They make short ‘ambiance’ videos which plunge you into the daily life of a city, without commentary, as well as interviews, like one with Diouly Oumar Diallo who runs self-defence classes for young girls. They’re also creating journalistic reports on subjects from eco-construction to local sports centres for the youth.

The organisation trained 10 videographers in the Mauritanian city of Nouakchott and they’ll be working with a dozen artists in Mali later this month, and training young Togolese creatives in February.

News reporter Amadou Sy and journalist Aliya Abass explain why Mapp Up matters along with co-founder Elsa Miske.

Country positivity is like body positivity “We want people to have a good image of themselves so they can love themselves; similar to the idea of body positivity. A lot of young Africans have a tendency to think their country is bad, that’s what they say, it’s a shame. I think it’s a different mindset that we’re trying to help cultivate. Seeing positive images of their own communities created by local content producers will hopefully help.” Elsa Miske

Different, dissident voices “Mapp Up is a kind of dissident voice by showing another face of Africa; the Africa in motion, where hope is not dead.” Amadou Sy

A different and simpler approach “Mapp Up stands out from what we are used to seeing the media. This is a different and simple approach to telling a story about a group of people or a place. It is a concrete way to convey a truer image of a country. It allows for a virtual trip to a desired location.” Aliya Abass

It brings different nationalities together “Mapp Up is important for more than one reason. First of all because it’s a platform that combines cartography with hosting and broadcasting videos and then because it brings together different nationalities.” Amadou Sy

We’re creating stories for an African audience “Anyone can watch the videos, but we hope the local communities, Africans all over the continent, and the diasporas will be the core audience. For now, this is what we’ve observed. We hope this can be a tool to change the narrative on Africa. For example, a French teen of Mauritanian descent will be able to show her classmates things that take place in her country of origin.” Elsa Miske

Amadou Sy is the founder of lereflet.net. Aliya Abass is part of Mapp Up’s team of youth reporters. Elsa Miske is the co-founder of Slice Up and Mapp Up.