One thing that strikes me quite strongly, reading and writing about Africa, is the depth to which false perceptions of Africa have sunk in our collective subconscious. While I think it is forgivable for people whose only experience of Africa is aid adverts with awfully malnourished children and news bulletins featuring some rabid warlord spouting maledictions – this delusion of utter dependence should not be replicated by Africans.
Simon is a campaigning and community education expert. He has contributed on development issues at some of the world’s leading conferences including the G20, the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is the co-founder of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organisation working towards the end of extreme poverty, and wrote the ground-breaking 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation, which has been delivered 750+ times to 100,000+ people since 2009
Nigeria has been at the democracy game for a good number of years now and a lot of talk goes on about the ‘dividends of democracy.’ This makes it sound like democracy is some kind of equation where D (democracy) + SS (sovereign statehood) = DoD (dividends of democracy)
(I wrote this on a different platform in 2010)
‘Welcome to Lagos’ (abbreviated below as W2Lag) was a BBC three-part observational documentary series, narrated by David Harewood, which explored life in the urban environment of Lagos, Nigeria. The documentary focused on life in different parts of Lagos such as, the Olusosun rubbish dump, where around 1,000 people live; the waters of Lagos Lagoon where people live in a houses built on stilts, and the beach in central Lagos, where people live in houses built from cardboard, scrap wood and tarpaulin.
The history of humanity seems to be defined by human eyes
Looking away from dead bodies floating in the water,
Looking away from people trapped in steel cans,
I am looking back on this article in 2020, five years after I first wrote it. I wrote it in the style of the debates we used to have in secondary school. If you are reading this for the first time, I suggest that you also read ‘Questioning the ‘Aid to Africa’ Structure‘ as well as a speech by the late Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, ‘A United Front Against Debt (1987)‘ given just a few months before his assassination. This is one of the things I don’t mention in detail in the article below. The relationship between unjust debt and unhelpful aid.
I remember writing on these issues a few years ago. I am going to quote myself and the venerable Professor Soyinka in the same post! yikes!
There have been repeated incidences of the #childnotbride hashtag being part of a public outcry in Nigeria.
Ludicrously, we have made race into the dominant narrative of our time.
It is a paradoxical narrative, because it is rarely spoken.
On the 8th of March the world celebrates International Women’s Day. I chose to mark the day rather than celebrate. ‘Why?’ you may well ask. Here is my answer:
As long as women still have to justify their existence as equal citizens of the world, I will not celebrate,