As the controversy continues over the stereotypes perpetuated by fundraising initiatives like Band Aid 30, David Coles highlights some commendable efforts that have been made to counteract stereotypes.
I don’t need to explain why Band Aid 30 can have a detrimental affect on the wider communities of Sub-Sarahan Africa, it’s been done so eloquently by Fuse ODG, Ben Keene, Cecilia Lynch on Africa is a Countryand Bim Adewumni. The evidence on the damage that stereotyping and ignorance can have is also highlighted in The Economist.
As someone who was born the year the original Band Aid was released I can remember “Africa” been shown as a place of war, famine, dirt and hate throughout my formative years. It wasn’t until I visited Ghana in my twenties that my views really began to change, and they continue to do so.
In this blog I wanted to share some of the brilliant efforts been made by people all over the world to challenge stereotypes and put forward a truer picture of what this fascinating continent is like.
1. Africa for Norway
Released a couple of years ago by RadiAid, this video seems particularly apt right now. Perhaps if the only images we saw of Norway were people freezing to death we’d reach a conclusion that sending radiators to help would be the only answer. It helps that the song is particularly catchy.
2. African men, Hollywood Stereotypes
All Africans are obsessed with war and killing right? Great video from Mama Hope.
3. Alex Presents: Commando
Another video from Mama Hope. I’m not sure I entirely agree with showing Commando to a nine year old but he hits the nail on the head.
4. Let’s save Africa – gone wrong
Michael, the African fundraising pro shows us the secrets of making a good charity video.
5. TIMS — A Revolutionary New One for One Campaign
It’s easy to know what Africa needs right? Sure…
6. A version of ‘Happy’ filmed in Kpalime, the town where my good friend and KickStart Ghana volunteer Coco is from.
If this video doesn’t change your view on the Band Aid lyrics, “No peace and joy in West Africa this Christmas” then nothing will.
7. Telling the African Story: Komla Dumor at TEDxEuston
One the most impressive BBC journalists around during his all too brief career. In this excellent TEDx talk he shares stories from his travels and advises on how to portray Africa. Perhaps the most important point is his very final one.
What I don’t want to see
As Komla says at around 13 minutes the media need to speak to African experts on issues affecting Africa. This and this (from 21:55) has to end.
Do you have any other example of people challenging African stereotypes? I’d love to see them.
David Coles is the Volunteer Co-ordinator at LSE. He blogs at davecoles.wordpress.com, where this blog first appeared. Follow him on twitter @dave_coles.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the Africa at LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.