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, prominent ribs, naked breasts:
There are regular flights to the nearest genocide, and there are green lawns, tennis courts, good fawning service. If you work for one of the major newspapers, or television and radio services, chances are you live in Nairobi or Johannesburg.
To make your work easier, you need, in your phone, the numbers of the country directors of every European aid agency: Oxfam, Save the Children. To find these numbers is not difficult: Because you are a good person, who believes in multiculturalism, and that politicians are evil.
You are a child of the human rights age. A post-cold war child. In this age, which has no ideology, brown and black places are flat issues: In this age, all local knowledge is carried by aid organisations.
These organisations speak human rights, and because they do so, we know that they are good, objective and truthful. So, if a foreign correspondent needs to know what exactly is going on in Sudan, their weekly lunch with the Oxfamy guy will identify the most urgent issues.
Since, in your world, big history died with the Berlin wall, there is only little history left to report on Africa. Little history is full of many small flares of wonderfulness and many small flares of utter horribleness that occasionally rise in a flat and benign world: He has a good smile.
Osama bin Laden or one of his peeps bombed trains, planes and innocents — and you slept safe that night, all of the flat world slept safe that night.
There are five or six places that have not been fully pacified inside the vision of the world as run by the victors of the cold war: North Korea, Gaddafi that has been dealt withSomalia, Afghanistan, the women of Africa, and the poor poor people of China, slaving away under the most terrible conditions doing confusing things like refusing to evolve into Europe.
Big places where history is still alive — like Russia, China, the Middle East — are to be feared and demonised.
In the 80s, your newspaper probably had correspondents in many African countries. Now there are two: Africa, based in Johannesburg. Some African countries were on one side of power, some on the other side of power.
They could not be ignored. As nobody had won, the big powers had to fight for the hearts, minds and minerals of all. All an African president needed to do was suggest that he was crossing over and have love and Smarties dropped over his house by Nato planes.
Margaret Thatcher visited Zimbabwe.
InAfrica ceased to exist. The world was safe, and the winners could now concentrate on being caring, speaking in aid language bullet points.
My favourites are clitoraid. This part of Africa is run by nameless warlords. When the warlords fall, these places are run by grassroots organisations that are funded by the EU and provide a good place to send gap year kids to help and see giraffes at the same time.warm virgin forests.
If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.
Binyavanga Wainaina spoke eloquently about his writing career and his life, and how the two are intertwined, at Wits University recently.
The event was titled 'How to Write About Everything'—echoing Wainaina’s famous essay 'How to Write About Africa'—and it was his first major public appearance s. How to Write about Africa, by Binyavanga Wainaina An antelope at dusk, with the African sun This really good article by the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina on ‘ How to Write about Africa ‘ was recently shared with me.
Bono sent a book of poems. Someone wrote an essay, “How to Write about Afghanistan.” I shook hands with, not one, but two European presidents, who read my text and shook their heads: How bad, how very bad.
How to Write About Africa II The revenge Binyavanga Wainaina. “How to Write about Africa” grew out of an email. Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay, “How To Write About Africa,” published in , remains the most forwarded article in Granta’s history.
The laugh-out-loud-funny satire captured every recorded stereotype that has been used by journalists, novelists, and historians when writing about Africa and its myriad countries, peoples, languages, and animals—and turned each cliché on its head.
How not to write about Africa in – a beginner's guide Binyavanga Wainaina The booming continent is ripe for new partnerships, but with those who address us as equals not in aid bullet points.