Africans respond to the re-release of the charity song Do They Know It’s Christmas? by One Direction, Bono, Sam Smith and others.
Abdullahi Halakhe, 31, policy analyst, Kenya
“I think the fundamental problem with the “saving” Africa posture is that it is predicated on the notion that Africa/Africans are agency-less, which for me is problematic because it is the continuation of never-ending paternalistic tendencies towards Africa.
“Also, the idea that Africa needs to be saved in 2014 by washed up C-list pop artists is a perverse example of a messiah complex.”
Robtel Neajai Pailey, 32, PhD researcher, Liberia
“Western charity songs like the one being proposed by Geldof are not only patronising, they’re redundant and unoriginal. Producing an Ebola song now to raise money, nearly one year after the first reported case in Guinea, is belated at best. It reeks of the “white saviour complex” because it negates local efforts that have come before it.”
Dawit Gebreselassie, 26, financial analyst, Ethiopia
“Ethiopia has for the last few years been trying extremely hard to change its image as a poster child for poverty. It has been trying to depict a new bright image to the world so as to attract tourists and foreign direct investment. But this uphill battle is always hindered when such reminders of the past appear again on the screens of the people that are trying to be persuaded.
“Africa’s only hope of success against poverty is through sustained, structured and equitable economic growth brought about through things such as investment and tourism. It’s hard to imagine how a few dollars raised every so often can possibly outweigh the damage it does by blemishing the continent’s image.”
Hadiyya Mwapachu, 30, student, Tanzania
“The oft-quoted observation by Marx that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” applies here for both its acuteness and how it has become a cliché. The Band Aid songs reflect this pattern. They begin as an attempt to respond to catastrophe and then excise all historical context and specificity.
“The meaning that remains is that one should help as “well tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you”. This erases the history of state actions in fostering armed conflict and the deliberate displacement of civilians. The 1984 and 1989 Ethiopia famine relief editions did not recognise this history. The genocide in South Sudan was also absent in the 2004 version to raise money for Darfur.”
Chitra Nagarajan, 31, human rights activist, Nigeria
“It’s yet another classic sign of white Western saviourism, in this case with celebrities swooping in to “save” the people of Africa. Not only does this take away the agency of people living in African countries who are the ones who actually lead and make change happen, but it perpetuates stereotypes of conflict, poverty and disease as the single story of the continent.”
Can u say #wigsnatch