Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Africa, the Continent of many Specialists and few or no experts by Alison

If there is any continent that draw more attention in the World, it should be Africa. From a recent observation, it appears that any International Journal without a topic on Africa lags behind. The most interesting aspect of it all is that it seems the best way to make a website popular is to attribute a column to this black Continent.
One only need to have a look at such important journals or News sites like New York Times, Vanguard, Osservatorio Romano, Le Monde, Washington Post, BBC, VOA, Al Jazeera, etc. to find out that at the default of fresh news, one has to recycle News already published in order to satisfy the new and important demand in African News.
However, just like the Nigerian literature Guru, Chinua Achebe said it, “until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters”, the News about Africa has always been know to be about war, hunger, famine, analphabetism, poverty, AIDS, terrorism, piracy, just name them for the simple fact that the continent compared to the west, woefully lag behind in journalism, in particular and in communication in general. I have no intention though, to deny the existence of these facts. Far from that! I am just of the opinion that there is a stereotyped view of the Continent by the western World. This particular problem is one of the issue that Chimamanda discusses in her speech, The danger of a single Story,
Chimamanda Adichie, in one of her paper presentations, precisely during her Speech at the University of Amsterdam, at the 13th debate in the Narratives for Europe - Stories that Matter series, held on 18th April 2011. Chimamanda in her paper entitled “the Stories that Europe tells himself about Africa”  explains that the problem of many Europeans, is that they are victims of a single story of Africa. She made it clear, using the famous Dakar speech of President Nicholas Sarkozy of France. I would want to comment her speech here for it is so wonderfully done that any comment might attenuate it. Here is the Speech:

Furthermore, should we talk about the recent move of many NGOs and individuals to save the Continent? The number of such moves are innumerable but we will name only the famous and actual Invisible Children Campaign, the recent manifestation of George Clooney, the famous adoption of an African child by Madonna and the attempt of trafficking 103 children from Chad by a French Charity organization, Arche de Zoe. Though I have no reason to condemn such moves like that of Clooney and that of Kony2012 (ICC), I still think many are more of economic exploitation than Charitable work.
Chimamanda reacting to this issue once said:
 What I find problematic is the suggestion that when, say, Madonna adopts an African child, she is saving Africa. It's not that simple. You have to do more than go there and adopt a child or show us pictures of children with flies in their eyes. That simplifies Africa. If you followed the media you'd think that everybody in Africa was starving to death, and that's not the case; so it's important to engage with the other Africa[1].
There are also those who move to the other extreme of the case. They make believe that Africa is already well placed. I always become furious when I see such titles like Africa will save the Europe, Africa is a continent of the future, Africa is the hope of tomorrow. Though it might sound attractive to the eyes of uninformed Pan-Africanists, I am of the opinion that it is a play with people’s sentiment for behind that hides a strong . Many say so only to keep the African Spirit fast asleep as the World move forward.
Why is Africa not the Continent of today? Why must she be a continent of the future?

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