You do not need a champion to beat stereotypes: the sport’s winning Africa

Ten out of 13 female athletes are Afro-descendants. They are the players of handball by Cellini Padova. They are one of the examples of sports integration in Italy. Their story is told, just as the story of Amy Lasu, the captain of the South Sudanese national football team, is told in the special edition of the Io sono una voce podcast, produced by Amref Italy, available on the main streaming platforms and on the official website of Amref – Italy.

The Paduan handball girls come from Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The average age of the first team is 19 years and coach Abderrahman Saadi is also Moroccan. This team also felt that racism was being fought, but precisely with the strength of the group. Sport can be the way to talk about Africa and those of African descent and overcome stereotypes.

May 25th Africa Day, in Rome, the Africa MEDIAta report was presented by Amref, which analyzes how and to what extent the Italian media describe the continent. War is always the first theme, but the sport, the Olympic, gives a different picture. He has been doing it for some time, right from the Abebe Bikila that Riccardo Cucchi mentions in the podcast, the athlete who won the marathon in Rome in 1960. If that barefoot athlete was in many ways a stereotype, the situation is different in the cases analyzed. of the Tokyo Olympics and Africa Cup of Nations.


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“Italian athletes with descent, birth and history in Africa are by far the best flag bearers in the fight against racism and afrophobiaSaid the president of Coni Giovanni Malagò. As Marcell Jacobs says: in sports, everyone starts from the same starting line, without differences.

In the analysis of the first pages of six newspapers from March 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022, Africa appeared on average 16 times each month. 68% of the news tells about Africa in Italy, therefore apropos migration and racism. The same goes for TV.

Africa at the Tokyo Olympics was analyzed through Italian athletes. Of the 384 athletes from the Italian delegation, 21 were of African or African American descent. One of these, Paola Egonu she was elected as the representative of Europe at the opening parade with the IOC flag. Thaw Marcell Jacobs And Eseosa Fostine Desalu they won gold medals.

The report reports: “Overall, the sports narrative has shown that it knows how to return a picture of Africa and Africans progeny descendants much more favorable than that which dominates in other information frameworks. The main themes related to the sports narrative of Afro-descendants of Italian athletes are hospitality, social inclusion and multiculturalism.


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There Africa Cup of Nations for the first time it received excellent news and TV coverage in our country. Among the 70 African and Afro-descendant athletes playing in Serie A, there are 4 who cover starring roles in the 20 clubs’ Instagram profiles: Osimhen, Abraham, Koulibaly, Kessié.

“The sport of the Olympic Games showed us a different Italy, where the Afro-descendants were an integral part of the Italian national team that contributed important medals. But how much does the strong and widespread image reflect our reality? ”He asks himself Paola Crestani, President of Amref Health Africa in Italy“We can not accept the idea that Africans and Afro-descendants can only be seen well when they are successful. The gap between the worldwide image of our multi-ethnic Italy and the real one, where a citizenship law has languished for years, needs to be bridged. Change takes place, it grows as children of Afro-descendants grow up in our classrooms. How long can we still refuse to see it and force these children and young people in search of identity and rights to limbo? Like Amref, our goal is to contribute to inclusion and combat discrimination with communication, awareness raising and projects in the field. Sports and the media are powerful allies. “

In parallel with the report, Amref, with CONI’s protection, launched the campaign You do not need a master to beat stereotypesjoined by: Giovanni Soldini (navigator), Raphaela Lukudo (sprinter), Alessandro Florenzi (football player), Max Sirena (skipper and team director Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team), Giancarlo Fisichella (F1 GT Endurance driver), Francesco Gambella (canoe owner), Felix Afena-Gyan (football player), Martin Castrogiovanni (rugby player), Daisy Osakue (discobola and weightlifter), Hervè Barmasse (mountaineer).

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