By Mitchell Aghatise||
I find that as Africans, we are often more interested in how we are perceived in spite of our problems and challenges- surely this is noble, but it becomes problematic when you combat propaganda with more propaganda; painting pictures of grandeur that are half-truths at best.
A picture has been circulating on social media with the admirable purpose of telling the world that Africa is bigger than the Ebola regions- I never shared this picture because i found it insulting to label certain countries as Ebola with the rest of us free. Who gives us the right to paint certain countries with the tag of disease when we are fighting to ensure that is not done of the rest of us Africans. Double standards, no? Are they not Africans too? or have they lost their African-ness, just because the angel of misery chose them.Will a better method to show the world the individuality not be found in the rest of Africa showing more concerted effort to solve the crisis.
To Bono, maybe he only wanted to help, maybe he did not. I do not know. But, in agreement with him, I don’t think a young Ibrahim- hiding from Boko Haram is aware that it is Christmas. I don’t think that a young Nyokato, who has just been raped in Congo cares much for whether it is Christmas, I don’t think that a young Didier who still remembers family life in Timbuktu before the rebels cares much for Christmas and to those in Sierra-Leone and the afflicted regions, I surely doubt that they are keen on it being Christmas. That I felt upset does not take away that these are credible concerns. To impose a story of my enjoyable Christmas is also a single story, maybe if we had decided to take the gauntlet to help first, we instead could have defined the narrative on how the balance is said, no?
In essence, there are lofty ideals in you trying to tell the world that Africa is more than poverty, that Africa is more than disease, that Africa is more than Ebola; but we begin to lose our self identity and individuality within Africa when we see another suffering and our first instinct is to say- “…that is not all there is to Africa…”-
“…let’s put our house in order, for they too are Africans…”