Posts tagged Africa.
you guys should never complain about anything. there’s kids in africa. they’re there in africa. the kids.
Further, though, the TOMS campaign — like the million shirts — misses the fundamental point that not having a pair of shoes (or a shirt, christmas toy, etc.) is not a problem about not having shoes. It’s a problem of poverty. Shoelessness, such as it is, is a symptom of a much bigger and more complex problem. And while donating a pair of shoes helps shoelessness, it does not help poverty.
Things like jobs help poverty. Jobs making things like shoes, for example. But TOMS doesn’t make its shoes in Africa, it makes them in China where it’s presumably cheaper to make two pairs of shoes and give one away than it is to get people in a needier community to make one pair of shoes.
The result of this setup, as Zizek explains most succinctly, is that on a big-picture level, TOMS (and other buy-my-product-and-donate companies) are busy building the exploitative global structure that produces economic inequality, while on the other hand pretending that supporting them actually does something to fix it.
It doesn’t. It just gives people shoes.
African women—women from Africa, women expected to speak for and as Africa, women invited to events to be African—face the daunting burden of speaking, but not too well; understanding, but not too fluently; responding, but not too abrasively; knowing, but not too comprehensively. And always, always, upholding their dignity as African women. U.S.-based institutions invite African women to be African women: we want colorful head dressings so we can ooh and aah, appropriately chunky jewelry that socially conscious students can emulate, and down-home wisdom rendered in proverbs and riddles, references to ancient wisdom and secret knowledge.
Chimamanda Adichie visited the University of Maryland to participate in the Dean’s Lecture Series, and she said “fuck, fuck.”
It happened early during her session. And here’s the context. She described walking near her ancestral home, on the way to visit a favorite uncle. A woman who was walking ahead of her slipped and fell and said, “fuck, fuck.” And so Chimamanda repeated, “fuck, fuck,” several times as she told the story. In fact, the story became the words, “fuck, fuck.”
I loved this moment of her session. It was perfectly pitched. Calibrated to manage our expectations of Africanité. With this one gesture, Chimamanda refused to assume the mantle of the sage-like African woman who knows a lot, but not enough to ever intimidate U.S. hosts, who are all too willing to explain local customs.
I can relate to this so much, especially given that every time the rich white people my mom works with invites her to galas and the like, they expect her to be bedecked in full asoke, lace, and gele. I don’t understand it, but she doesn’t feel some type of way being the “token African Queen” and she always manages to shit on them because she’s well-aware of them fetishizing the shit out of her and our culture (sometimes I’d be required to accompany her to these events as her right-hand).
I’m just glad we’re not the only ones who get this kind of butterfly-under-the-glass treatment.
Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. The young girl grew up in the African desert and developed an uncommon bond with many untamed animals including a 28-year old African elephant named Abu, a leopard nicknamed J&B, lion cubs, giraffes, an Ostrich, a mongoose, crocodiles, a baby zebra, a cheetah, giant bullfrogs, and even a snake. Africa was her home for many years and Tippi became friends with the ferocious animals and tribespeople of Namibia. As a young child, the French girl said, “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends.”
These photos are really powerful. This description though is ridiculous. It’s things like this that made everyone in elementary school ask me if I lived with lions and elephants when I was in Ethiopia. “Africa was her home” uhhh yeah it was mine too…not all of africa is frolicking with elephants…
we all have that one uncle…
“I’ve never understood why racist people tell black people “go back to Africa”. That’s like kidnapping someone and then saying ‘Go home’” - @vohandas
Redditor ProfessorLaser makes a clever point about the ultimate cliche of African landscape photography:
1) Select a base image; 2) Cut and paste in a picture of a giraffe; 3) Darken the base image by increasing saturation level; 3) Do the same with the giraffe image by increasing shadow level.