Kenyans dismiss CNN story about ‘woman who found whales in Kenya’
Kenyans on social media are outraged after a CNN article appeared to credit a white woman from London with discovering whales in Kenya.
An article by CNN Travel carried the story with the headline, “The woman who found whales in Kenya” making it look like nobody ever knew of their existence before her.
The misleading article credits Jane Spilsbury, a former lawyer from London with having found the aquatic creatures in the country’ waters even though it quotes local fishermen saying that they have been seeing the whales for 30 years.
It even goes as far as to say that Kenya Wildlife Service did not know they existed.
“We were amazed, because no-one knew there were dolphins out there, not even the Kenya Wildlife Service,” Spilsbury told CNN. She is also credited as being the person behind the country’s “burgeoning marine tourism industry, with tourists seeking out the coastal town of Watamu, located 140 kilometers north of Mombasa, for its humpback whales.”
CNN writes that around 10 years ago, Spilsbury – who formed the Watamu Marine Association – began hearing tales from local fishermen of dolphin and whales sightings and “armed with just a few scraps of paper and a cheap camera” started documenting their existence.
“We literally came from a point of zero information and zero awareness, it seems ridiculous to imagine that nobody knew that the dolphins or whales existed here,” she told CNN.
The uproar has also stirred a racial debate on whether something is only considered a discovery if it is made by a foreigner as opposed to a native.
Angry Kenyans accused CNN of continuing with the somewhat racist agenda of wiping out the locals and only caring for the “white gaze”.
White people like John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, Johannes Rebmann and Johann Ludwig Krapf have for years been falsely credited with “discovering” major landmarks across Africa like Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, Victoria Falls and others which have existed for of years.
In 2019, Kenyans were also up in arms after a story credited a white person with the sighting of a ‘black leopard’ in Laikipia for the first time in 100 years.
Kenyans on Twitter expressed their anger towards the “discovery” story terming it as disrespectful and racist.
Extremely annoying & misleading article. Knew of Watamu for ages. Same mentality as saying someone discovered Nam Sango yet we fished in it. Or discovered Mwene Nyaga yet we prayed there! Shame on Ashley Stewart for this juvenile reporting https://t.co/FofDLFj2Z9 @CNNTravel
— Ambassador Hellen Gichuhi (@HadhiamboHellen) January 6, 2021
Kenyans, plus @kwskenya did not know they had dolphins & whales in our ocean until a caucasoid showed them to us.
This is race-baiting outrage journalism designed to trend storieshttps://t.co/IKLrBBMAjs
— thetimwork (@thetimwork) January 6, 2021
Behold The (white) woman who found whales in Kenya, according to CNN.
She discovered them as recently as 10 years ago, says the story, and even the Kenya Wildlife Service wasn't aware.
We are so grateful. https://t.co/VslbsASPSb
— FERDINAND OMONDI (@FerdyOmondi) January 6, 2021
Dear @CNN this is a new LOW.
Spilsbury says she learned about them in a similar casual way.
"It was as simple as talking to a fisherman at the bar and asking if he'd seen any humpback whales 'Sure, we've seen them for 30 years.'" https://t.co/XTocW0b0qK
— Terryanne Chebet (@TerryanneChebet) January 6, 2021
Can't believe in 2021 white people are still 'discovering' things we have always had.https://t.co/MVsv7KMDeR
— . (@gitweeta) January 6, 2021