Point of View // 11.14.2011

How to Write about Africa

Article by Abena A-T

Forward Thinkers,

You need to listen to these two videos! The first is a note written by Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina and read by actor Djimon Honsou. I’m not even sure if I should even say anything about it or just let you watch for yourselves, but I will say that it is called “How to write about Africa”. It highlights multiple stereotypes and cliches with which people think about and describe Africa.

The next video ( or 3 if you watch all three parts) shows the author explaining is reasoning for writing this note in the first place. It. made. me. think. HARD. What he says about the assumed benevolence of NGOs in Africa stood out to me as most of my work history has been with NGOs, a couple of them international development related. What stood out to me specifically on this topic was the benchmarks of success these organizations set for the communities in which they do their work, how they are incredibly low and why. He marvels at the fact that so many groups will blog about how happy they are that a particular community can now feed itself. After 40 some years of independence, this is the best we can do?

Check the vids. Leave your comments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d9qlHW8_3s&list=FLD6lejDVPwzIVFefz1SfEgA&index=3&feature=plpp_video

3 Responses to “How to Write about Africa”

  1. Rita says:

    Oh now i get it. This is why i’m often confronted with questions of how i escaped a famine/war/aids/sacrifice or something horrific. Truth is, I think we all have a role to play in helping Mother Africa be the best it can be…

  2. Trinity says:

    It’s great to know that Africans are slowly waking up to this modern colonialism that is so subtle. In the same light the educated folks should do a more intense study on the loud cry to reduce the African population, can we not see the bigger picture???!! Canada and other European countries are begging for specialised personelle to migrate to their country because they made mistakes by encouraging their people not to have children (now they are not up to it!).They therefore do not have enough young people to work and pay for the pensions of their grannys(they may have to work for longer years!)
    What will happen to Africa when we do not have people? We don’t even have electricity in this day and age. Our dependancy will simply continue, the cycle continues!
    We really need to wisen up and look beyond the dollars we receive. African journalists need to stop making superficial studies about topics that are so crucial for Africa.

  3. Aba says:

    Trinity, you make a good point. Are global goals and targets disadvantages for Africa’s development? And if so are we taking a stance for what is best for future generations?

Leave a Reply