Came across an article this morning in a Facebook post that is well worth reading. Written by the Nigerian-American author Teju Cole and published in the Atlantic, the article explores the complex issues behind much that we see too simply as Need in Africa, including our Western motivations for rushing to meet it. Cole may make you mad along the way, but he will make you think about the roots of the problems we see.
Some of you probably have already recognized the patterns Cole is talking about. In that event, he will give you an opportunity for the kind of mental calisthenics that can strengthen your insights. Others may be exploring new territory as you follow Cole through his carefully structured argument. I found myself wanting to argue that Cole’s position itself doesn’t admit the full picture of Western development assistance in Africa–but I suspect he might agree. He hints at that once or twice. He is raising issues that we must wrestle with on an ongoing basis, and he does it well. I, for one, am grateful.
SAJ 21 Mar 2012