Chielozona Eze on Kony 2012 and the African Victimhood Complex
by Ikhide R. Ikheloa
“I saw the first white people in my life in 1969. That was in a refugee camp, during the Nigerian civil war. Two Catholic priests and a middle aged lady in a bluish gown. They brought us food, clothes and medicine. It took my little body time to recover from the ravages of hunger and malnutrition, from kwashiorkor. But I made it, thanks to the enormous responses from the peoples of the world.
Fast forward to 2012. I am alive; I teach at an American university. I, too, watched the video, Kony 2012. I’m aware of the many celebrity endorsements of the video and the backlash it has unleashed especially from some African intellectuals and some liberal groups. Teju Cole’s “The White Savior Industrial Complex,” stands out not only for its highly crafted, nuanced arguments, but also for putting together decades of hurt, oppression and paternalisms from the West on Africa. It is difficult to challenge the core arguments of the essay without appearing to be against Africa. The success of the essay lies in the fact that it is rooted in the time-tested model of African write-back ideology, the ideology that has Africa’s victimhood as its first, inevitable premise. But isn’t Africa a victim? Isn’t Africa easily taken advantage of by those who lack all diligence”
– Professor Chielozona Eze on The KONY 2012 video and the resulting brouhahaBrilliant and coolly eclectic, Eze breaks down the issues regarding giving and victimhood in Africa into practical lessons. It is so refreshing to see that African intellectuals are showing the world that there is not a monotony of opinions on the Africa project.