As a five-year-old, George Alagiah emigrated with his family to Ghana - the first African country to attain independence from the British Empire. A Passage to Africa is Alagiah's shattering catalogue of atrocities crafted into a portrait of Africa that is infused with hope, insight and outrage. In vivid and evocative prose and with a fine eye for detail Alagiah's viewpoint is spiked with the freshness of the young George on his arrival in Ghana, the wonder with which he recounts his first impressions of Africa and the affection with which he dresses his stories of his early family life. A sense of possibility lingers, even though the book is full of uncomfortable truths. It is a book neatly balanced on his integrity and sense of obligation in his role as a writer and reporter. The shock of recognition is always there, but it is the personal element that gives A Passage to Africa its originality. Africa becomes not only a group of nations or a vast continent, but an epic of individual pride and suffering. Starting points:
What kind of pictures and stories do television news companies want? What do the television companies not want to show or report? What do we learn about TV audience from this passage?
* Use of fact and opinion
* Journalistic style
* Powerful imagery
* Frank details
* Sentence structure and lengths
* Development and structure of ideas
* Significant vocabulary
* Focus on particular individuals or sights
What are the experiences that George Alagiah describes in the passage? How does George Alagiah present his views about his experiences as a television reporter in Somalia? Why might George Alagiah have written this piece? What is its purpose?