“Collaboration, collaboration and collaboration. We need to form a community of storytellers. Currently, photojournalists across the African continent are doing their best to showcase the Africa the other continents don’t see but we can do better and the best way to achieve this is by more collaborations..’ says Ibrahim Mansur, a journalist working with TheCable in Lagos, Nigeria.
Like Kunle whom I featured in the first episode of #ThroughTheirLenses series, Mansur was part of the Global Moment in Time(GMIT) program(Photojournalists Documenting the COVID-19 Pandemic) under the United States Department of State IVLP(International Visitor Leadership Program) program. Mansur and Kunle represented Nigeria in the program.
Mansur developed interest in journalism from a young age as his father insisted on their watching news bulletins together. He pursued a post graduate diploma in digital media and is passionate about telling the African story. While he was passionate about journalism, he settled for photojournalism as his favorite genre as he says he preferred working behind the scenes to tell stories through the lens.
“Journalism for me was telling the stories that needed to be told, it all started when I went for my PGD in Digital Media to tell African stories through movies but in the mix of taking journalism courses and having my internship at a TV station drove me deep into journalism although I’ve always had flair for news reporting as my Dad used to make us listen to news bulletins with him.”
We had a conversation about his journey as a journalist thus far, the lessons and his vision for storytelling in Africa. One among mare to come in the continuing #ThroughTheirLenses series.
What stories do you cover and where are they published?
“I currently document all forms of news, from politics, sports, street photography to daily life of Nigerians. I’m the multimedia manager for an online newspaper, TheCable based in Nigeria. I also freelance for AP.”
What would you say has been your most impactful work? What did you cover?
“Documenting the school children kidnap in the northern part of Nigeria. I got my first freelance gig from the documentary and also was runner up for Reporter of The Year award in 2019 at TheCable”
How was the experience covering COVID-19 in your country? Any lessons learnt from being at the frontline?
“It was scary at the beginning but when we finally understood necessary precautions to take, it became a normal. Leaving the house everyday to document the lockdown wasn’t also easy at first as my family had this believe that if I’ll somehow one day bring the virus home. The major lesson for me was once we all as citizens decided to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols laid down, we defeated the virus half way.”
How would you describe your experience throughout the GMIT program and what lessons did you learn that you’d want to share? Any particular tips from the in-person bit of the program?
“I call it ‘October to Remember.’ It’s an experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. I still look back at all that was experienced and still cherish the memories. Seeing the cultures of the Americans on TV was totally different from experiencing it in-person. For me, the major highlight is listening to all my colleagues from different countries sharing their experiences on the field and knowing that we all had almost the same experience during the pandemic period, especially on the aspect of access to document. The in-person program also made me improve my time management.”
What is your perception about How Africa is covered? What are you as a journalist doing in that regard?
“The only way the perception of African stories can change is by US Africans telling our own stories by ourselves. We should improve in our storytelling by making sure that even if those who don’t know our stories want to tell it, we guide them through and be sure no lies or fabrications are told.”
In your opinion, what should journalists in Africa do to better cover the continent and tell impactful stories?
“Collaboration, collaboration and collaborations. We need to form a community of story tellers. Currently, photojournalists across the African continent are doing their best to showcase the Africa the other continents don’t see but we can do better and the best way to achieve this is by more collaborations.”
Should more people get into photojournalism as a career? Is journalism important?
“Journalism is very important in every society as the major role is to inform the citizens on the best possible decision making that impacts their lives. The importance of photojournalism on the other hand is to tell stories with images by educating and communicating with the audience. Good journalism still pays and gets recognition, all you need is the passion and drive, if it wasn’t for the passion I had for photojournalism, I wouldn’t have gotten half the access I have today, so follow your passion and never stop trying no matter how many times you fail.”
You can find Mansur’s published work on https://www.thecable.ng/ and can be reached via email@example.com. His social media handles are: Twitter: @MansurIB007, Instagram: almunsure, Facebook: Ibrahim Mansur. You can also find his work submitted to the GMIT program here: https://www.globalmomentgallery.com/mansur
This series #ThroughTheirLenses continues. I will bring you more conversations with other journalists from across the continent and the world. Keep it here for all the stories from the men and women through whose lenses we see the continent and the world.