Sensitive Africans

The popular American show The Amazing race filmed some episodes in Ghana, and  the contents of the show has some Africansin a tizzy.  According to them, once again the lens of foreign cameras descended on Africa to perpetuate negative stereotypes. They are offended by the imagery of the chaotic market scene, the underdeveloped village scene, the children studying under trees, the bad roads and the crazy taxi drivers…

They wanted the lens to capture the sprawling mansions in the residential areas accompanied by the BMWs resting lazily on the interlocked driveways.  Oh why don't they show the private beaches and the darling pupils in their private school uniform. Are you serious??? If you have ever taken an objective look at the state of our continent, you would admit that the development and sophistication we know of exists in the capital cities. Further more, the luxuries  of shopping malls and 5 star hotels are enjoyed by the elite few. The imagery before you on Sunday nights is not at all distorted, it is the truth. If the show had focused on starving children with snort stained faces, I would have been upset. If they had focused on landfills or  lions and monkeys I would have been pissed. We always complain that Western shows do not include Africa, yet when they do, we complain that they do not show the side of Africa we like. I happen to love Amazing Race and I love the episodes in Ghana. I like that they showed the school children playing games like wheeling the rim with a stick and  I loved how they incorporated the Adinkra symbols into a puzzle. These are things that are charming African.

Complaining about the show is like keeping your house in disarray, inviting guests over and then getting mad that the guests reported on the mess they saw instead of your 1000 thread count bed sheets. If we want to show a different kind of Africa, then either more Africans need to get behind the camera, or we spread the concentrated luxuries from the cities to the villages.  Africans love the luxury of filtered portable water, yet we litter our streets with the empty containers. We want highways that mimic I-95, yet when we build them, they are so badly planned that the highway looks like a parking lot of a dysfunctional car dealership. We want an organized marketplace yet, we do not want to relocate squatters. We want to decongest the cities yet we don't create factories or employment in the rural areas. Now the camera is on us and we are up in arms about negative stereotypes. Interestingly enough, I noticed  that nobody is complaining about the show perpetuating the stereotype of 'dumb Americans' especially when Princeton graduates could not locate Ghana, a country they are in.

Relax a little and enjoy the show cause we are all getting exposed. But, If you remain uncomfortable with the depiction of Africa, it means you are not immune to the problem, so what are you doing about it?

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  1. Well said! I can't wait to see you live on location…u might have to leave Millicent at home.

  2. You see ooo!!! You've said it all! I had no idea people were up in arms about this. Me myself, I live in an area where children play 'chaskele' (the rim and stick) and have NO PAVED road. On my trip back from T'di, the final destination was that saaame market at Kaneshi. I thought I was going to die. It was filthy and scary at 8 pm. If Africans want a different picture of Africans shown to the world, they need to bust out some pretty huge paint brushes and git to paintin'!

  3. I knew you would understand. It is the top 5% who enjoy this great life, yet we keep complaining.

  4. "DAS RITE!!" I Love Makola one of my favorite location in Ghana. I just didn't like the girl wearing my cloth through the show "ni fie atadi y3 ma sori atadi ohh sista….. I am in agreement with you, I love this article.  Africa is Beautiful and it is what they showed! Define beauty how you want I love it all.

  5. Amen my dear….well said. who are these africans wanting to show their bmw's and mansions? they should be ashamed to show that when the people right next door to them dont have running water….kwasia.

  6. Oh Oni, the paradox that we live in. As i know you agree, there is nothing wrong with wealth, issue comes when we want to pretend 50% of the population live even close to this

  7. We love every part of it

  8. see this article has made me want to watch it… lol i am just checking it out now on utube… and so far i love how one of the guys just told the taxi driver he wants to go to kwame memorial lolol this should be fun

  9. awwwww its soo funny am so enjoying it lolol. i thought it was great, the showed the market how it truely is, and they had good shots of our monuments in as well, so if people are complaining that i truely dont know what they are doing

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