Contra Larry


There is the popular phrase

“Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

which when applied in this case means Africa must tell her stories. As long as our stories are told by others, here the western media but this could be the case also with the media in the Arab world, we will always come out badly- which has been the case for ages- but then telling a different story when there are glaring dysfunction is not helping our case. It is in this view of the hunt that my country man attempted to tell the story of Africa.

The article has generated quite a bit of heat since its publication. There are quite a number of people who agree with him. There have also been those voices that opine the piece lacked nuance and there are those who think the reporting is flawed. For those disagreeing with the post, the main issue is that it is not supported by facts, paints a glossy picture while ignoring the glaring structural problems in Africa.

There is a tradition in the west, exemplified by Hegel when he wrote

Africa must be divided into three parts: one is that which lies south of the desert of Sahara–Africa proper–the Upland almost entirely unknown to us, with narrow coast-tracts along the sea; the second is that to the north of the desert–European Africa (if we may so call it)–a coastland; the third is the river region of the Nile, the only valley-land of Africa, and which is in connection with Asia.

and continues to say, the negro

“exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state and has no knowledge of an absolute Being, an Other and a Higher than his individual Self.

To him therefore, the African proper, to use his phraseology, is not a subject of history.

We spend so much time responding to the descendants of Hegel instead of challenging the systems at home that oppress us with support from the western governments and their mouthpieces- journalists and media houses with bases in Africa.

It does seem to me that Larry’s article is no different from Mbiti’s African Religion and Philosophy where he attempted to to assimilate African thought to western categories, not for consumption by Africans, like this article, but for consumption of those who had removed Africans from the stage of history. I don’t think we have to justify ourselves to anyone.

Well, we have banned the use of plastic but done shit on the part of solid waste management. In many urban centres in Africa, close to 50% of all generated solid waste is not disposed of properly. There is a lot to do at home instead of wasting time telling our stories, flawed as they might be to an audience that may really not give a rat ass about what we do. Or how we do it.

Europe or the Americas are not trying to defend themselves to anyone. We know most of it is racist and some of them wear their racism on their sleeves. We know there is a homelessness problem in NYC and other cities across the US. But it seems their elite take these for granted. It is, for lack of a better way, taken for granted that to be white is to be.

Africa must work for us first. The western press, for all I care, can say all the shit they want. Our governments must do all the must to make the African proud of his place in the world. No amount of story telling will do this if we still die from preventable ailments, have no access to sanitation, weak financial markets and all.

But for those who want to tell stories, or as they set the record straight, it’s a free world.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

16 thoughts on “Contra Larry

  1. I hope this Larry guy has taken his medication before speaking. Many Africans are running away from their own governments, trying to enter any country in Europe…on a boat. And he says Africa is doing fine? The average African country has an annual budget comprising about 70% in foreign aid and donations and he says Africa is doing fine? Is he fine?

    Hegel (and Kant) never travelled to Africa. I’m not even sure they have ever met a black African so we can forgive their ignorance.

    Africa needs to do its homework first.

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  2. Tish Farrell says:

    I’m agreeing with all your points, Mak. Also the western mass media not only does makes little effort to provide coherent coverage of African nations, it has absolutely no interest in doing so. Its presentation of world and even home events in general are only constructed to fit received narratives and ruling-class agendas. So yes, Africans should definitely be telling their own well informed stories. The sad thing is, though, too many outside the continent are unlikely to believe them, or even be interested.

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  3. renudepride says:

    Every African has their own opinion on how the continent is doing and functioning. That is simply the “way of the world.” All thoughts and feelings are different depending on the individual. The same holds true for every continent and country on this earth. Before anyone exonerates the West, keep in mind that the current president of the USA WASN’T elected into office by the majority of the voters. That should clear the air somewhat. Naked hugs, my Kenyan brother! 🙂

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  4. Naked Johnny says:

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    http://www.frank-answers.com/frank-answers-about-swimming-naked/

    Liked by 1 person

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