The Dirty Reason Why Starving Children Are The Face Of Africa In The Media
I had the pleasure of visiting Africa a few years back, and it was far from the sh*thole I thought it would be.
I was gobsmacked at how vibrant, beautiful, and modern many of the cities were…
And how vibrant the people were…
Africa has its problems — and I saw that while I was there. But this was a far cry from the images I had been shown in the West.
The Archetypal Starving African Child Is Burned Into My Psyche
Growing up I can remember those old ‘feed the children” commercials of starving children in Africa.
Emaciated frames covered in flies. Toddlers scraping at the sides of empty cans for the smallest morsel of food. Little girls with cleft palates peering out from a dark shack.
Black mothers suckling infants with deflated breasts. Sitting on the rust-red dirt of a barren landscape.
These scenes were all I knew of the human side of Africa (alongside the racist tribalism portrayed by National Geographic).
Seeing people who had the same color of skin that I did suffering the way they did left a mark on my young psyche.
It fed the narrative that “Africa is poor”. And since these people looked like me, then that narrative became “I am poor”. Not because I was, but because my skin color made it so.
I was ashamed of being poor and Black. This media inspired shame surreptitiously burrowed its way into my self esteem. I did everything in my power to avoid being seen as poor — or as African.
I spent more money on cars, clothes, and jewelry than I should have. I went to great lengths to convince the world that I was nothing like those children that I once identified with in those commercials.
But as I worked harder and harder to disavow who I was, I became more and more like the images I saw. Not externally. But on the inside.
I was starved of my connection to my people. I was culturally impoverished. I was as hungry for the rectification of my identity as the children in those telethons.
That is what drove me to Africa. I had to see it for myself. I had to know if Sally Struthers was legit.
She wasnt. Not completely. I discovered that In Western media, Africa is made to look like the land that God forgot.
Documentaries like the one below make it seem like villages are giving up their children to pedophiles for a few shillings.
And behind it all were shadowy organizations called NGOs.
The NGO Con Game
I did some investigating and discovered that most of those old commercials I saw came from NGOs, or Non-Government Organizations. These are companies that are formed to address a specific social issue — like battling malaria or child marriage.
Since these companies are non-profit, they rely on donations to operate. Since charities and NGOs cant make a profit, the donations can only be used to cover administrative overhead and victim relief.
The ‘administrative overhead’ of a not-for-profit company can include
- Big salaries
- Marketing campaigns (so they can raise even more money)
- Paying for staff members to lounge around in luxury with girls who look 14
- Paying the legal fees for those same staff members when they get busted for raping 14 year old girls.
The more pitiful they make Africa and Africans look, the more donors are inclined to throw money at the problem. Since these donors cant travel to Africa to see how their money is being spent, they must trust the word of the NGO.
NGOs pay their staff ridiculously large salaries. As a perk of employment, they shell out for all the travel and lodging perks they can find. They spend lavishly on entertainment, and create nice, pretty marketing campaigns to raise even more money.
Whats left over *might* get to the people the NGO claims to want to help.
Thats why people in Haiti are still living in tents, almost 10 years after the earthquake. The Red Cross raised more than half a billion dollars for the 10 million residents of the island.
25% of that money disappeared right off the bat. No one knows where it went. Another 25% was spend on ‘internal expenses’. No one knows what that means.
The Red Cross used what was left over to build 6 houses.
You read that right. 6.
“…a 2015 report by ProPublica and National Public Radio found that the Red Cross had managed to build only six permanent homes in what had been billed as one of its landmark reconstruction projects in Haiti. That report quoted a former Red Cross official who said the charity came to see the Haiti disaster as a “spectacular fundraising opportunity.” — Source
Thats why so few wells have been dug, schools have been built, and power grids that have been turned on in Africa. Those results are byproducts — not the primary purpose — of some NGO operations.
Look, NGOs are important mechanisms for correcting the worst of wrongs in today’s society. And I believe we all should support the good NGOs out there.
But the fact of the matter is this: Africa has been used as a fundraising opportunity by the West for too long. And by portraying the Continent and her people as dependent and destitute, middleman charities can keep lining their pockets.
Its in the best interests of those scam institutions to keep you thinking that Africa is on its last legs. Dont believe the hype.