oh christ

Here we go again. This, as Binyavinga Wainaina wrote famously for Granta a couple of years ago, is the way to write about Africa.

1. Find a (non) governmental organisation.*

2. Ensure support from the British/French/North American etc government ministry which is interested in awful suffering of poor darker people.

3. Focus your thoughts on what we all love to call global poverty – and highlight it.

4. Find a mainstream British/French/North American newspaper that displays its interest in Africa by hiring only one correspondent to cover (up) the entire continent (sometimes, yes, there are two: one in Nairobi as well as Johannesburg, or occasionally Cairo), and adds to that in-depth reportage with the help of numbers 1. and 2. above, or Bono & Bob (although Bob now works for the competition – the BBC – as their continental correspondent… so I hear from insiders).

5. Make sure you are interested in international development. International development.

Then get on a plane and travel with numbers 1. and 2. and tell the world what you’ve er-hum, discovered, about the deep dark continent.

What are you waiting for? Off you go!

*We should scrap the NGO and just go for GO. We all know that most NGOs are GOs. So let’s start being honest about it.


2 thoughts on “oh christ

  1. Gess, I also think that piece was very good. It made me laugh a lot, and made me think about my own work and we foreign journalists and writers in general. But I also think that too much time is spent criticising other people’s writings on Africa, and not enough time writing better stuff one’s self. I’m guilty of this myself (although in some ways I don’t think I matter because I’m foreign and to that extent discounted already). There lies so much debate in all of this. But, yes, BW’s piece mentioned here was very good. And it’s a shame that the people at The Guardian didn’t read it and consider it carefully!

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