September not only saw the first African qualification for Africa's first FIFA World Cup, but the first of what will be hundreds of multilingual articles, photographs and audio recordings made available through an ambitious programme to help the rest of the world see through African eyes.

Fresh stories from Africa on the road to 2010 and the World Cup
Stories already produced include a range of interesting and surprising topics, such as the role of 'muti men' in African football players' lives (
), the Ghanaian academy that turns underprivileged kids into stars (
), or the fishing village shore that becomes an impromptu football field (

More than 100 journalists from 34 countries have been selected to participate in the Twenty Ten programme, a collaboration between the World Press Photo Foundation, FreeVoice, Africa Media Online, and lokaalmondiaal.

Known as the 'All Stars', these reporters, photographers and radio journalists will be reporting on the lead-up to the event from all across Africa, telling the back-stories and creating feature articles for distribution to African and global media markets. (Participants, or their employer media organisations, will get 50% of all revenue from sales.)

The 'Dream Team' of the best 18 of these journalists will travel to South Africa during the World Cup to cover the event, while the remainder will continue to cover the story from their home countries, providing a truly African perspective.

"The partner organisations are working to their strengths," explains David Larsen, managing director of Africa Media Online. "World Press Photo is training the photojournalists; FreeVoice is training the radio journalists and reporters; Africa Media Online is providing the technological backbone to market and sell the content through its global distribution network, and provide the logistical support for the Dream Team while in South Africa."

Larsen admits that such a multilingual programme is not without its challenges. "Content will be produced in French and English, but for it to have global appeal, it has to be repurposed for markets in Korea, Latin America, India, Sweden, China and other African countries." Africa Media Online already has existing partners in most international markets, and - most importantly for the African market - had already been involved in the development of the African Archival Thesaurus, through which content can be searched in the major trade languages of Africa: Swahili, Arabic, French, Portuguese and English.

Larsen explains his motivation: "At a time when the world is galvanised to focus on Africa, we want to help them see through African eyes, to love what we love and hate what we hate. If we can do that, then perhaps they will not just join us on the road to 2010, but also on the road beyond."

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Source: Biz Community, 11 September 2009,