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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Prescriptions Without Consultation

This article asks the question whether foreign aid is bad for Africa.  First of all, most of what is considered aid is actually loans that cripple our governments with payments and interest far beyond the borrowed amounts, although people around the world think its free money given with no stipulations like payback.  This article does however touch on something that plagues my beloved continent: a specific group of well-meaning Westerners who have no clue what is going on in places of need, but seem to think they have the answer.

People don't realise that most Africans go around clothed, unless they are the Himba in Namibia and other tribes that have managed to maintain their way of life far away from the modernity of urbanisation. And they wouldn't want the clothes if you offered either.  In fact, a lot of people get the clothes given for charity and sell them for profit: salabula baby ;)!  The good thing about the man in this article is that he was able to readjust his unoriginal plan to send T-shirts to Africa after aid workers berated him for his arrogant ignorance.  However Africa needs money, investment and corruption to stop, and not just on its own shores either:  It's a two way street - enablers and enforcers on all sides.  Although this has nothing to do with aid, the case of Lesotho suing a Canadian and German company who bribed their way into working on a project comes to mind.  I read a case study on this that likened the tiny Lesotho to a mosquito that was able to defeat the elephants.  Lovely metaphor that.  African governments also need to start acting like adults, not like petulant children who take what they want and then have to be chastised with sanctions, repayment schemes and other stipulations that continually disallow them from thinking for themselves.

The issues of aid, charity and donating brought to mind the New Zealand lady who thought it was perfectly feasible to send dog food to the starving children she had heard about from her daughter in Kenya.  Why?! Why?! But why would you think this is ok?! These kinds of things just make me so sad inside there is nothing to do but just ask why?! I just don't understand how you would not think this is insulting.

The funny thing is that after September 11 Kenyan Masaai donated prized cows to help those affected.  The BBC called this an "unusual gift". How is it unusual, people eat cows all the time, it's called beef!  Drugs I tell you drugs is all I can say to explain this! That seems a logically compassionate gift to give.  You see people in need, you give what you can.  You empathise, you don't give them something you wouldn't take!

And no one ever talks about the African diaspora who are in the millions but remit billions home every year.  We are always portrayed as sitting around or dancing about waiting to be saved instead of taking control of our own destinies.  We are, if only we would be allowed to in public! And the rest of us that aren't, its time that we do :)

Thanks ALICE for bringing this my way :)

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