The Continent Writes Back

In my last post I discussed the way that certain discourses about the African continent circulate and reinforce structures of power and accumulation, and ultimately inequalities. At the end of the post I emphasized the need for those outside of the continent to pay more attention to voices coming from it. I’ve gathered a few examples that I will introduce but let speak for themselves.

First, push-back to the Africa Rising narrative, which situates Africa not as the Dark Continent but rather the final untouched economic market which promises riches to those “brave” enough to invest. Chibundu Onuzo discusses how this so-called “economic boom” has focused on urban centers, leaving rural communities widely untouched.

Next, in late September the Independent published an article on the Ghanaian art scene. In a cringe-worthy series of paragraphs, the author described the scene as lacking, misspelled kenkey, and mostly gave credit to expats for re-vamping the scene. A few days later Kofi Amoo-Gottfried took the Independent to task (“Oh, hello there, ‘white savior complex’… I was wondering where you’d gone.“), countering each of the article’s points with counter-examples and important analysis.

Lastly, this video of Ory Okolloh explaining the ‘fetishization’ of entrepreneurship went viral last month, and is a powerful reminder that “hacks” and “innovation” do not confront the structural issues that create and sustain poverty and massive global inequalities.

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