Alex Crouch Global Connections David Johnson Microtheme David Johnson offered a very interesting presentation.

The very first thing to strike me was that he was working on a project that focused on women in Africa, which would seem to be the thing that was least relevant to him. Interestingly enough, as he pointed out, this fact is almost what gives him the most credibility. If it were a woman or an African doing this project, we would pay less attention to it because we would immediately assume she were just a feminist. But when the one doing the project has no stake in the documentary, it seems more sincere. As for the actual presentation itself, I liked the style David brought into shedding light on the problems facing African women. He stated that he could spout off tons of facts about women living in Africa that would sound tragic, but that eventually people naturally glaze over and become desensitized to the numbers. In response to this, David has chosen to photograph the lives of these women and focus on developing the stories behind the numbers. By delving into the lives of select individuals, he is able to educate people on the struggles of African women, and making it real. Sometimes, it can be hard to wrap your head around what is actually going on behind a story or a number, but when you see faces and places and real-life actions, we can grasp those and relate to them more easily. The key thing that David has focused on that I most applaud is his focus on showing the side of Africa that people often miss, hope. So often, we see terrible images of famine, disease, poverty, and death, but David has chosen to show people another side of African women, the side of happiness, progress, joy, and success.

While they certainly live in much tougher conditions, there are women who are succeeding and living happy and fulfilling lives. A great example was the slum girl who at the age of 10 represented the entire continent of Africa in the world chess tournament. She had been taught to play chess in the slums by a man who wanted to teach the kids and develop their minds. Sure enough, he proved that these kids could also contribute to the world if given the right life circumstances, even the lowliest of young slum girls.