Tuesday, 3 May 2011
A friend sent me this this op-ed on Swaziland and these are the opening lines:
"Swaziland – a bewitching, verdant and mountainous little kingdom in southern Africa – has lately been more troubled than usual."
Like a red rag to bull this sentence has all the Conrad-esque lazy stereotypes that would be written by 'Westeners' of Africa. But its not written by a Westerner, but someone in Swaziland and it was published by the revolutionary Al Jazeera. At least there's a nice little disclaimer at the bottom of this commentary, otherwise this wouldn't reflect well on AJE. If you carry on reading its one depressing, negative statement after another. To be honest, this kind of thing belongs on the BBC or New York Times who've mastered the art of producing depressing narratives on Africa. Don't believe me - search through their 2001-2009 articles on Zimbabwe and there are archives of 'Zimbabwe the basket case' analogies. This on Swaziland, belongs there.
Future opinionistas on Africa, please consult Binyawanga Wainana's How To Write About Africa before writing.