Oh look! Ewan McGregor wants to show us all how pleasant Africa can be.

How saintly: Ewan McGregor and a friend took a motorycycle trip all the way down to South Africa from Scotland.  Apparently, Africa isn’t the land of heads on pikes and the seething, corrupted heart of mankind.  It’s a relatively pleasant place!  How quaint.

Sarcasm aside, Ewan should get off of his high horse (or in this case, motorycle) and realize that 1) his views are inherently biased by his perspective.  There deference, kindness, and hospitality he was shown in Africa certainly couldn’t have been on account of his travelling with a TV crew (and presumably lots of money), could it?

By fighting a bias that shouldn’t be there in the first place, McGregor is just feeding European paternalism by acknowledging it into existence.  Better to respect Africa’s sovereignty and let it speak for itself.

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One response to “Oh look! Ewan McGregor wants to show us all how pleasant Africa can be.

  1. Well said. I think that too often Africa is crafted into something to fill a need in European or Western minds (White Man’s Burden), yet that something resembles nothing of the reality of the continent (which has great variety). Many of the cities here resemble those anywhere else in the world. And although there is great poverty and many challenges within the countries of Africa, they should hardly be used to judge the culture and society as a whole. Nor should archaic images of wild animals and tribes.

    What is also interesting to think about is how Africa is portrayed by film crews. A film crew from the Netherlands came to the village where I am living. They were here to film one of the orphan care centers that my organization runs. Expecting their visit, the volunteers who run the center tried to make things look very nice, cooking a huge meal, setting out tables and chairs, dressing the children nicely (all things you wouldn’t see on a typical day). Yet when the film crew got there, they asked that all the chairs and tables be put away, they looked hard for the dirtiest and saddest kid to film. And all this was done to feed sentiments of a helpless, suffering Africa.

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