Africa for Norway: Say Yes Radi-Aid, no to the stereotyping of Africa!

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Anti-stereotyping/racism/xenophobia, Pan-Africanism, [Social] Media
Tags: , , , ,

They call it a ‘Humorous video with a very serious message,’ but I didn’t find anything funny about it. Ironically, the first person who brought this project to my attention is a Norwegian friend of mine who has spent a good part of his life living in Africa, in my own country, a country that looks down on the sappy calls for donations to help the poor children of Africa (‘just a dollar a day will help feed an African child’ crap). He knew how much I would personally appreciate the initiative and message of the ‘Africa for Norway’ video.

I’m just so sick and tired of the stereotyping of Africans! Always painting a negative, desperate image of our beloved continent for the benefit of financing the villas, land rover cars, and all-expense paid vacations to ‘humanitarian’ workers. Not to diss those who joined the UN and big international NGOs (BINGOs) because they want to play their part in ‘making the world a better place.’ I happen to have plenty of friends who are part of the system. If any of them happen to come across this blog post of mine, I would kindly like to ask them to really ask themselves if their work is actually making a difference, if and how much of the money being raised by their agency/organization is actually being used to help Africans, and if their standard of living isn’t pretty awesome compared to those of their friends who are still in Europe barely coping with the austerity measures being undertaken in the Eurozone? Yes, you know it… you know that the pictures of emaciated African babies has given you the good life!

If you are like me, an activist against the negative stereotyping of Africa, and if you too were completely appalled by the reaction of your gringo friends who thought that posting the KONY 2012 video on their Facebook wall meant that they care about Africa, then please do proceed in getting the word out: Yes to Radi-Aid, radiators for Norway!

What do we want?

  1. Fundraising should not be based on exploiting stereotypes.
    Most of us just get tired if all we see is sad pictures of what is happening in the world, instead of real changes.
  2. We want better information about what is going on in the world, in schools, in TV and media.
    We want to see more nuances. We want to know about positive developments in Africa and developing countries, not only about crises, poverty and AIDS. We need more attention on how western countries have a negative impact on developing countries.
  3. Media: Show respect.
    Media should become more ethical in their reporting. Would you print a photo of a starving white baby without permission? The same rules must apply when journalists are covering the rest of the world as it does when they are in their home country.
  4. Aid must be based on real needs, not “good” intentions.
    Aid is just one part of a bigger picture; we must have cooperation and investments, and change other structures that hold back development in poorer countries. Aid is not the only answer.

Why Africa for Norway?

Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway” video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?

If we say Africa, what do you think about? Hunger, poverty, crime or AIDS? No wonder, because in fundraising campaigns and media that’s mainly what you hear about.

The pictures we usually see in fundraisers are of poor African children. Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. But while these images can engage people in the short term, we are concerned that many people simply give up because it seems like nothing is getting better. Africa should not just be something that people either give to, or give up on.

The truth is that there are many positive developments in African countries, and we want these to become known. We need to change the simplistic explanations of problems in Africa. We need to educate ourselves on the complex issues and get more focus on how western countries have a negative impact on Africa’s development. If we want to address the problems the world is facing we need to do it based on knowledge and respect.

  1. AYIBA ROSE says:

    africa is really taken to be a laughing ground for other western world, Plse follew africans why cant we wake up and fight the danger items disturbing us. So ever give up africa.

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