The Real Africa – by David Brooks

The Real Africa

David Brooks

By David Brooks – The New York Times

In 2005, Binyavanga Wainaina published a brilliantly sarcastic essay in Granta called “How to Write About Africa,” advising people on how to sound spiritual and compassionate while writing a book about the continent.

“Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title,” Wainaina advised. “Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.”

Wainaina had other tips: The people in said book should be depicted as hungry, suffering, simple or dead. The children should have distended bellies and flies on their faces. The animals, on the other hand, should be depicted as wise and filled with family values. Elephants are caring and good feminists. So are gorillas. Be sure to show how profoundly you are moved by the continent and its woes, and how much it has penetrated your soul. End with a quote from Nelson Mandela involving rainbows. Because you care.    [Read more]


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  • francis jackson  On May 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Op-ed piece by David Brooks is excellent; glad I took the time to read it. Thanks for the post Cyril.

  • gigi  On May 14, 2014 at 1:43 am

    This from David Brooks! Hmmm….the ultra conservative believer of the “white male privilege.” One wonders about the hidden meaning in his message. Well, I guess one has to be another privilege white male to decipher this message…

  • Ron. Persaud  On May 18, 2014 at 11:16 am

    My opinion is that Mr. Brooks is a competent and objective commentator.

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