The reality is that I know nothing about Africa. I have never even stepped foot on the soil of the continent (yet). Therefore, I do not pretend to be knowledgeable in matters I am not well-versed in.
And also therefore, it’s important to hear from the voices of people who are actually tied to these countries.
TMS Ruge, founder of Project Diaspora, writes an honest and real post about the #StopKony campaign, African agency, and respect for the people of central and east Africa.
“Let me be honest. Africa is not short of problems, epidemics and atrocities. But it is also true that it is not short of miracles, ingenuity, and a proclivity to surprise. We as Africans, especially the Diaspora, are waking to the idea that our agency has been hijacked for far too long by well-meaning Western do-gooders with a guilty conscious, sold on the idea that Africa’s ills are their responsibility. This particular affliction is called “white man’s burden” in some circles. Please don’t buy into this. Africa’s problems are our own.”
While I don’t believe in absolutely no aid or collaboration with any non-Africans, I do agree that more local/grassroots empowerment is needed to bring any real change.
Ugandan journalist, Rosebell Idaltu Kagumire, made a video response to this Invisible Children debacle. She takes a very calm and diplomatic approach, I think, but gets the point across that what the IC video represents isn’t going to cut it for the people of central and east Africa.
Rosebell implores us to focus on “intelligent campaigns” that are geared towards “real policy shifts rather than a very sensationalized story that is out to make one person cry, and at the end of the day, we forget about it.”
She adds that how the story of Uganda is told might be more important than the story being told:
“If you’re showing me as voiceless or as hopeless, you have no space to be telling my story. You should not be telling my story if you dont believe that I have the power to change what is going on.”