I'm listening to it now, and I hope you will too. BBC World Service radio, that lifeline from London to the world, has its "Close Up" program on its website, and you can listen to it on their Radio Player.
On the East African island of Zanzibar, the lyrics of local Taarab songs are used not just for entertainment but to convey pungent messages of longing, rivalry and loss between the members of the audience. This goes back to a time when open expression of personal emotion was taboo in this traditional Islamic society. Close Up this week explores the course of love in Zanzibar through this vibrant local tradition, in the first of a 3-part series of Songs of the Earth. Local men and women speak frankly about their relationships, from infatuation to disenchantment, from respectful love to outrage, when a wife discovers that her husband wishes to bring another wife into the household.
Here you will hear the lilting English of Zanzibaris who came of age in the days of independence (and fusion with mainland Tanganyika, forming Tanzania) in the sixties. The Taarab music provides a haunting backdrop. Just listening to this wonderful little bit of radio should help provide an antidote to the pervasive tendency to portray Africa in the abstract as a continent of misery, only surfacing in the media when a disaster (usually man-made) strikes.
While you're at it, another BBC World Service staple, "From Our Own Correspondent," gives journalists a chance to report on the atmospherics and "backstory" of the places they cover. This week's is also devoted to Africa, and again provides some gems on little-heard stories. In "No Guns at Ethiopian Peace Talks," East Africa correspondent Elizabeth Blunt recounts how "the tribes of the South Omo Valley in Ethiopia recently held a gathering to discuss shared concerns and invited their neighbours from the Kenyan and Sudan borders."
In a continent as massive and varied as Africa, there have to be scores of stories that show something other than dying children - and child soldiers - but don't count on soundbite journalism to tell you. But the BBC is a good place to start seeing Africa in a different light.