Much of the scholarly literature regarding theories of journalism practice is premised on the tenets of the western model of liberal democracy. To the extent that this model is held to be universal, it hinders the analytical theorization of journalistic precepts that have evolved locally in most countries of the developing world. This article seeks to address this problem by exploring the evolution of what may be aptly characterized as the African journalism model. This model is grounded in oral discourse, creativity, humanity and agency. By comparing and contrasting these two models, this article seeks to challenge the assumption that African journalism is one of mere ‘bandwagonism’ informed by western ‘modernity’ and ‘civilization’. In particular, by exploring the origin and transformation of journalism in sub-Saharan Africa before, during and after colonialism, this article contributes to the conceptual elaboration of alternative conceptions of the African model of journalism.