Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa , G8

Faking Africa & stories of vanity

Ricky Gervais on faking it and dying after listening to a U2 cassette in Kibera, Nairobi (thanks Annwen)

and just in case it was missed – Bozo on himself in his latest “African Adventure”. Funnily enough it’s called “Vanity Fair”.

which apparently includes a pull-out supplement on uber-expensive jewellery titled: ‘Fire and Ice: 72 pages of ravishing rocks, ginormous gems and fancy fripperies’ (20). The jokes write themselves.

Videos aside, Joshua from African Path sent me this article from Spiked “Welcome to the People’s Republic of Bono: The G8 should change its name to the G9. Because if this year’s summit in Heiligendamm, Germany was anything to go by, there’s a new member of the pack.”

Bozo holding court with world leaders to hammer out what is good / bad for Africa

Bono had an extraordinary amount of influence at the summit. And it wasn’t simply a case of greying world leaders wanting to be photographed with ‘rock royalty’ in an attempt to make themselves look with it and cool, as some reports claimed (not realising that Bono is as uncool as it gets) (5). In fact, Bono held serious meetings with US president George W Bush, German chancellor Angela Merkel, new French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian PM Romano Prodi. According to reports, these were ‘tough meetings’ at which Bono and his people ‘rowed’ with world leaders over strategy, aid and their commitment to Africa (6).

What concerns me is the slavish endorsement of this man. Why are our leaders some of whom were present at this summit (Mbeki and Meles and 3 others ??? Shame but Euros love them even if we know better. But who are we? Just a bunch of African citizens) are silent or at least the media are not reporting that they spoke. Come to think of it what would Meles say? “give me more guns so I can terrorize my people even more or better still extend my role as a US lackey and invade Zimbabwe”? Or Mbkei could shout “I gave you BEE – what more do you want? that all of your have jobs and houses? that the white farmers still own all the land so what?” Either way the emphasis is on these two rock stars with diamond studs + a bunch of grey suits talking about us as if we are children – worse actually talking about us in our presence as if we are not there. Spiked quotes some of the media reports

Bono’s view of G8 dominated much of the news coverage, with serious media outlets running headlines such as: ‘U2’s Bono: G8 Not Keeping Money Promises To Africa’; ‘G8 Africa Pledge Is A Smokescreen, Says Bono’; ‘G8 Reaffirms Aid To Africa; Bono, Geldof Say It’s Old Money’ (14). Not only did Bono have ‘numerous sources’ reportedly agitating at the summit table; not only did he apparently influence the position of various states during ‘very, very tense meetings’; he also set himself up as the public moral arbiter of the G8’s achievements and

The mere fact that this man has more power to speak for Africa than our own leaders should seriously concern Africans especially as in 10 days the AU meeting to discuss the United States of Africa (USA – maybe there is some meaning in that a possible union of African states also ends up as USA) will take place over two weeks in Accra. Will Bozo who has superseded BobG as THE AFRICAN SPOKESPERSON be invited to advise us on how to form our union?

Sad thing is that a glossy magazine that is not even read by the regular Black population of the US of A let alone those of us outside the metropolis of capitalist consumerism is falling over itself over a few glossy photos of Africa that bears no relation to any reality. Ululating in orgasmic ecstasy over one white man who has the damn arrogance to speak for them. Malcolm X asked “What will they give us in 1965” Well in 2007 they have given us one white man and one race neutered black man – some damn progress!

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11 Comments

  1. Sokari, what do you think of this Africa Issue? I am very curious as to how it is being received.

  2. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Annie@ I haven’t seen it but will do so next week when I pass through London, [and please no comments from anyone about me not having seen the damn magazine because i will not be buying it anyway] but from the interview with Bono above and the Spiked article, the idea of such an issue in the first place – full of rich white and black (they dont get a capital B) celebs – I think I pretty much say it all in the above post. More voyeurism, more commodification of Africa, more consumption of Africa which has nothing to do with serious transformational change or the real issues facing people and just panders to American / Euro consumers. But more to the point is why is this white man having so much influence with G8 governments – why are so many Black people seduced by him? It is scary really scary.

  3. MW

    Sokari:

    I have seen the issue & there’s a lot there that I doubtless will read with interest. But my initial reaction was/is on the same lines as yours. That reaction persists. I love that Spiked article. It expresses much of what I’ve been harbouring concerning the persona of Bono for ages. I wish everyone could read the piece. Thanks for the link to it.

  4. I’m linking to this post from my blog tomorrow (in commemoration of the Soweto Massacre). I can’t say anything else about it because I am so sickened by the points you make so well here. Ever since the appearance of the “I Am Africa” advertisement featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, I have been avoiding the topic for fear I would have a magic meltdown in the classroom (as I am sometimes given to doing). Thank you for this.

  5. that is to say, “major meltdown”…sigh

  6. At first glance I am a irritated as per the ‘commodification’ of Africa. And I am irritated with Bono, a hangover of the whole project Red champaign I guess. Vanity Fair is promising to donate $5 for every new year long subscription it receives, I wonder how much will actually get to ‘Africa’. I intend to read the magazine though, as soon as I remember to buy it.

  7. elle

    Yeah, they’ve got to make Africa sexy.
    Cause if they don’t, who in the West (world) will give a damn about “fucking” her? (written with all the sarcasm I can muster.)

  8. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Ethan@ I will be watching for his contribution as the G9th member – I am sure he is wealthier than Gabon and Burkina Faso!

    I must agree I don’t see the analogy with post WW2 Germany. I understand he also laid some rather spurious claims to Irish connections with Morocco – maybe he is working his way down the continent!

  9. Yeah… all those rich folks should just shut up and go play golf. Best if they ignore the 99% who aren’t as rich and glamorous as them.

    Too bad that they’re trying to help. Too bad that they’re not perfect at helping. Too bad they don’t just quietly give their money away and join the ranks of the 99%.

    Too bad you don’t suggest ways they could be more effective, instead of just fuming at their money and power.

  10. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Gillian@ In your rush of anger at being rejected you completely miss the point of both my post and Kameelah’s follow up.

    Whatever reward you or they seek, I do not want it; I do not want your charity, your money or labour, and the patronising paternalism that goes with it; I do not want you to speak for me as I can speak for myself; What you could do instead is to open your eyes, change your ways of thinking about me and most of all listen to what I have to say.

  11. Me rejeceted? I didn’t feel that.

    I thought YOU were expressing your disappointment/anger at being overlooked at the G8 meeting. I can see your point when you say — “The mere fact that this man has more power to speak for Africa than our own leaders should seriously concern Africans”. I see that he has a lot of power in the Western world. Does he have the same power in Africa? Where are the forums where Africans feel they are able to speak for themselves.

    I am trying to listen. It seems I’m not very good at it in your eyes.

    I do hear many voices, many voices. Often they call for contradictory things. At the TED conference Madame Okonjo-Iweala told her own story about a doctor saving her sister’s life – “When someone is saving a life, you don’t care that it’s aid – you want the person to be alive.”

    Perhaps there is a question of scale here — while someone can be very grateful for help at the individual level, they may have other thoughts about help given on a larger scale.

    So, Sokari, perhaps I can respect your wish for independence while still offering my help to those who seek it. If I can give my help in a way that does not foster dependence, so much the better. And if I can give my help without carrying a patronising paternalism, so much the better. Is it possible?

    On another note, some of the things I DO get angry with are — the tilted trade system run by the rich countries to their own advantage; and loans to people/countries that don’t have the means to repay.

    Thank you for providing this forum for exchange and understanding… it helps all of us.