This youtube video of a 9 year old Tanzanian boy recounting the plot line of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ‘Commando’ had me in absolute hysterics. (via Oliver Willis):
The video was made to remind people that it isn’t all doom and gloom on African continent, a stereotype Westerners perhaps understandably buy in to due to incessant media coverage of poverty, war and famine. I lived in Ghana for several months a few years ago and I vividly remember the condescending attitudes Westerners would show to Africans. I was teaching English and was struck by how fellow volunteers would refuse to treat the kids like normal students, as if they were disabled and unable to think properly for themselves. The kids were of course, like all other kids around the world. Cheeky, annoying, funny, clever, lazy, extremely bright, not so bright, well behaved and sometimes downright naughty (one kid I taught was actually caught gambling his school fees away!). Mostly, they were great, just like most kids are great.
The Ghanaians I met weren’t looking to be saved by kindly white people and were proud of their culture, heritage and country. It came as a big surprise to many of my volunteer friends, most of whom had had little contact with other cultures outside of their private education and middle class families in England, and were expecting to be greeted like saviours. Perhaps I am being a little harsh, but the ‘poor African’ stereo type is in desperate need of an update. And the hilarious video above sheds a little light on the Africa I think most of them would like the world to see.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.