The White Man’s Burden

• January 17th, 2013 • Posted in All posts

I was nauseated on sight by a new ad from Oxfam: “Let’s make Africa famous for its epic landscapes, not hunger,” it said.  And then “Help end hunger”.

It struck me as pretty patronising to suggest that Africa isn’t known for anything other than either beautiful scenery or starving people.  And what arrogance, to suggest that somehow foreign NGOs could ‘end hunger’ in Africa.    Do African people themselves have no agency?  Might as well talk about ‘benighted heathens’ or ‘the dark continent’ or the ‘white man’s burden’.

It seems I wasn’t the only one to react this way.  See this piece for instance.

Meanwhile here’s a picture of a street scene in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.  Neither beautiful scenery nor starving children, just people getting on with things, the same as anywhere.

Street scene Ougadougou, Burkina Faso.

From Wikipedia.  Photo by Helge Fahrnberger.  Full credits and copyright details here

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