Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan author and a past winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, argues that the world has got its image of Africa very badly wrong.
Let us imagine that Africa was really like it is shown in the international media.
Africa would be a country. Its largest province would be Somalia.
Bono, Angelina Jolie and Madonna would be joint presidents, appointed by the United Nations.
European aid workers would run the Foreign Affairs Office, gap year students from the UK the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture would be run by the makers of the Kony2012 videos.
‘Wholesome and ethnic’
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Africa’s image in the west, and Africa’s image to itself, are often crude, childish drawings of reality”
Actual Africans would live inside villages designed by economist Jeffrey Sachs.
Those villagers would wear wholesome hand-made ethnic clothing, dance to wholesome ethnic music and during the day they would grow food communally and engage in things called income-generating activities.
For our own protection, American peacekeepers and Nato planes would surround the villages - making hearts and minds happy and safe.
We would give birth to only one baby per couple - this way we would not overwhelm poor, suffering Europeans with our desire to travel outside our villages and participate fully in a dynamic world.
We would not be allowed to do business with the Chinese and we would not be allowed to do business with the country formerly known as Gaddafi’s Libya.
Africa would discover the child in itself, and stop trying to mess around and be a part of the rest of the world.
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