The image of Africa

International adoption and Zoe's Ark
November 02, 2007 - Radio Netherlands
"NGOs create this wrong image of children in poor countries, saying that they are abandoned orphans and that they need to be rescued. Most of the children - including in Darfur - have at least one parent, have extended family, and are part of a community. They are not orphans, they are not abandoned and therefore they should not be rescued." See full text

Western Adoptions of African Children Are Modern Day Slavery
"I hope the trial will resound as the willingness of Africans to protect their dignity and as a reminder to the Western world that our children are not for sale. By Wandia Njoya, Zeleza Post, November 2007. See full text



My image of Africa
By Charles Abugre, July 2005
As the G8 summit draws nearer, dramatic and distressing images of Africa are appearing everywhere. These show emaciated and drooping bodies of women and children, dilapidated villages and shanty towns, and barefooted jalabiya-wearing nomads roaming forlornly across the dusty fields of Africa. But Africa needs fundamental change to heal its wound, not cosmetic policies. (Charles Abugre is currently the head of policy and advocacy at Christian Aid. He has been a development activist in Ghana and many parts of Africa and Asia). See full text


More information

-->> The imperial tradition
Across Africa there is growing frustration with this economic model promoted by alliances of international institutions, western leaders and compliant African governments. By Yao Graham, TWN Africa, December 2004.
Source: The Guardian

Pambazuka related information:

Never about us without us

By Firoze Manji, June 2nd, 2005

One of the things that the disability movement has done successfully in the UK and in many other countries has been to put an end to the patronising, paternalistic approach that presents them as victims and objects of pity. On one disability rights website, I came across the wonderful slogan ‘Never about us Without us’. That should be the rallying cry of the African mobilisation for the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP- Africa) that was launched recently at a meeting attended by representatives of some one hundred organisations from 25 African countries.

Plans for mass mobilisations, concerts in African countries, television and radio programmes are well on the way across the continent, conceived of and organised by Africans for Africa. Would the Geldofs and Comic Reliefs of this world have launched a call for mass mobilisation about disability without the involvement of the disability movements? So how come they can do this in relation to Africa? What is it about us that allows these folk to behave so? For how much longer can we allow Northern development agencies and charities to portray us either in the form of ‘development pornography’, to use Rotimi Sankore’s words (see bellow Behind the image: Poverty and 'development pornography'), or as mere bit-players, extras on the film sets of their fundraising operations?

African diaspora organisations and other black organisations in the UK have already protested about the virtually all white line up of artists selected for the Geldof roadshow. Isn’t it time that we added our voice of protest to demand: NEVER ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

-->> Nothing about us without us
Britain has adopted Africa as a centrepiece of its Foreign Policy this year. In his usual missionary approach the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has re branded himself from being the Secretary of State for America into Prime Minister for Africa. "We have to summon the courage to stand up to these new missionaries in Africa represented by western humanitarian NGOs and politicians like Blair and ‘Globatricians’ like Bob Geldof. Their 'good' intentions must match our aspirations. We should do it together where possible, do it alone where necessary but at every stage we should have the veto, not them. We cannot outsource our progress and development. To borrow a phrase recently used by my Good Ndugu, Firoze Manji, Editor of Pambazuka News: "Nothing About Us without Us". By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, June 2005.

-->> Live Aid 2: “It’s like trying to shave someone’s head in their absence”
Twenty years after Live Aid Sir Bob Geldof will take his charity music show to the stage again in multi-city concerts scheduled for Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem is amazed that 20 years after Live Aid events like these are still being planned and executed without visible participation of Africans. The whole process, he says, is “like trying to shave someone’s head in their absence”. By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, June 2005.

-->> Global Call Against Poverty (GCAP) country contact details
You can join GCAP activities in your country. Click on the URL below to find the contact email addresses for organisers in 25 African countries. June 2005.

-->> Behind the image: Poverty and 'development pornography'
In a world where graphic pictures of starving children are used by development agencies to raise funds from the public in the rich world, it is criticized that the phenomenon of ‘development pornography’ has contributed towards deeper prejudice. New ways must be found to reach the public opinion and explain the real reasons behind poverty in Africa with clearer explanations. By Rotimi Sankore, April 2005.

-->> Band Aid and 'self-obsessed, angst-driven Western do-gooders'
It has always intrigued me why the conscience of the West can only be pricked by degradation of other peoples. The process of getting westerners to part with their donations end up dehumanizing and degrading Africa. Instead of creating the much needed understanding and solidarity it creates an unequal power relation with psychological hang-ups about superior and inferior peoples; one is a permanent donor and the other is a permanent supplicant. By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, November 2004.




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Did they plot to steal Africa's orphans of war?
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