Africa, Development

It is been tough months, the kind of tough I wouldn’t easily put down on paper! I am sure the last two weeks you read and re-read articles about life and the passing of former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela. I quietly read a lot too.

I wrote this small piece for Radio Netherlands Worldwide about what I thought of his life and legacy. I hope you still find it interesting.

I was barely 11 years old when Mandela was released from 27 years of inhuman incarceration. At home we didn’t have a TV and I bet that my day – that great day in history – went on like any other day of an 11 year old in rural Uganda.

Many years later, I would read of President Mandela saying: “The curious beauty about African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad story.” It reminded me of my childhood and how music introduced many of us to the apartheid and the evils in South Africa. The songs of Miriam Makeba and Lucky Dube would be danced to in my village, but they also sparked passionate discussions.

That said, death is inevitable and, in the end, the difference is only how much a person has been of service to others. And Mandela made this point with his life – both as a prisoner of the apartheid regime and as the first black president of South Africa. Many of his contemporaries never survived the chains

Read more here

As we grieved and reflected on such a life that graces our world once in a generation, I met a group of great Norwegians. If you watched last year’s christmas video Africa for Norway , these are the young people behind it.

Last week I was honored to take part in a debate they organised in Oslo to further highlight the state of the aid industry and it’s consistent emphasis on stereotypes. A few weeks before I had watched this video.

I must admit it is as hilarious as provocative. This is the latest production of The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH)

To further the conversation, SAIH held awards via social media nominations on what was the worst and best aid campaign this year. You can watch the nominated videos for both the Rusty radiator and Golden radiator awards. SAIH explained the need for the awards.

Stereotypical imagery is hurting both the cause and the people being portrayed. It’s taking away people’s dignity and agency, while creating apathy instead of action amongst people in the rest of the world.

Most of the videos in the worst category had an element of silencing the person they intended to help and the insatiable urge to shock and cajole the viewer to donate.

During the discussion on aid campaigns and what is missing with the SAIH, NORAD, UNICEF Norway and Plan Norway representatives During the discussion on aid campaigns and what is missing with the SAIH, NORAD, UNICEF Norway and Plan Norway representatives[/caption]

This Child Fund video was voted the worst aid campaign by the jury.

The best aid campaign featured 500 Ugandan women by Microbanker.
Where women are given loans not handouts to start businesses or acquire skills.

You can watch and make your own pick but i thought it was creative way to bring attention to alternatives to traditional aid.

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