Prices slashed! Buy one, get the government free! ( Population optional)
On Nambrageline and Africa in Hock
By Wambui Mwangi
Not long ago, African Bullets & Honey coined the phrase “a dollar a day continent” to describe Africa.
In that context, the phrase referred to our alarming propensity to welcome do-gooders of every hue and stripe, and to allow them to tell us that we urgently need; wells, schooling for girl, children, fish farms, women’s institutes, abstinence but not birth control, radios but not computers, etc.
Of course, being ourselves congenitally - Africanly — capable of nothing, we need also the skilled personnel from these very same “donor” countries to run these admirable enterprises, so that it is perfectly understandable that many of our “charitable” friends are forced, nay, compelled to spend the overwhelming majority of their donations on themselves, their overheads, their lodgings, their four wheel drives and their salaries.
Ah well, it’s the thought that counts. Not.
However, we Africans have now reached new depths of depravity and shame. Or perhaps that should be heights, since it is somehow rather ineffable that an entire country can be turned into a private maternity ward.
An entire sovereign country, Namibia, has granted Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt the rights of ownership (or lease?) over its borders and its airspace, so that this couple, who are accomplished enough to have arranged their genetics so as to have the requisite good looks—if one likes that sort of thing—to subsequently make unthinkable amounts of money for occasionally pretending to be someone else on film, can determine who enters or flies over Namiba.
I repeat. Namibia, the country. Who is going to be deciding Namibia's foreign policy: Tom Cruise? Will Julia Roberts be in charge of Namibia's vote at the United Nations?
Has there ever been a situation as wounding to the spirit of the people of Africa as this?
You know, even the United States has to go to war in order to take over other people’s countries….unless, of course, they are African countries. In that case, you need only be a Hollywood personality.
In that case, you need only want a place to have a baby in privacy and Africa prostrates itself for your purchasing consideration.
Goodness! Why did our parents make us go to school, if all you had to do, was….act? Or is that: be rich, white and….act?
Of course, it is clear to all of us that the process of childbirth is so new, so unheard of, so completely and utterly stupendous that the one woman in the world who is to undergo it should have a whole country to herself in which to do so. Naturally.
I am astonished that Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie did not merely take over Bethlehem, so as to have the full weight of historical resonance. Oh, I forgot, the Israelis have some pride, so that would not have worked.
Silliness mounts upon absurdity in this case, because really, why bother being independent, indeed, why bother going so far as to have a war for independence, if in the end you are just going to sell your country (is the population included, or do you have to pay extra?) to some random Americans thirty years later?
Is it me, or does this make the ordinary understanding of humiliation, of craven indignity and self-demeaning subservience resoundingly and forever redundant?
Cry the Beloved Country! For this the freedom fighters died? For Rent-A-Country? The perfect weekend getaway. Family packages available. Excellent birthing facilities and geriatric care available upon request.
For this our heroes died?
Oh, bring back colonialism and have done with it, for heaven’s sake. This piecemeal process is inefficient and only prolongs the inevitable outcome. This time, we have ourselves agreed to slavery and to colonialism. This time, we have invited and reveled in them.
This time, we have no excuse. I have never been so ashamed to be an African!
Wambui Mwangi is a Kenyan academic and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. She blogs as Mad Kenyan Woman.
So the Namibian government have decided to lease their country to two Hollywood do-gooders with penchants for publicity. Are African leaders still suffering from what Fela Kuti called "colonial mentality"? Or is this an example of Africa's warmth and hospitality ?
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