If you’ve been on any social media platform for the past two days, you’ll know the conversation has been dominated by the “Kony 2012″ campaign initiated by the Invisible Children organization. The campaign’s video has a jaw-dropping 32 million views, three days after posting.
While its been enjoying some relative success, the video hasn’t been without its critics. AfriPOP’s own Luso Mnthali wondered whether it wasn’t the product of “yet another White person with a saviour-narcissist complex.”
Luso wasn’t alone in her skepticism. See how other Africans weighed in:
Nigerian-American author Teju Cole tweeted: “The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.” Read more
Journalist Musa Okwonga (who is of Ugandan descent) writes: “I understand the anger and resentment at Invisible Children’s approach, which with its paternalism has unpleasant echoes of colonialism. I will admit to being perturbed by its apparent top-down prescriptiveness, when so much diligent work is already being done at Northern Uganda’s grassroots.” Read more
Journalist Rosebell Kagumire (Uganda) writes: “The film is void of any means like peace efforts that have gone on and it simplifies the war to Joseph Kony — a mad evil man. This war was bigger than Joseph Kony and those who will end it won’t be Americans. It’s a complex war that requires African governments of Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic to work together to pacify the region.” Read more
Journalist Angelo Opi-aiya Izama (Uganda) writes: “The simplicity of the “good versus evil”, where good is inevitably white/western and bad is black or African, also reminiscent of some of the worst excesses of the colonial era interventions. These campaigns don’t just lack scholarship or nuance.” Read more
Solome Lemma (Ethiopia) writes: The dis-empowering and reductive narrative: the Invisible Children narrative on Uganda is one that paints the people as victims, lacking agency, voice, will, or power. It calls upon an external cadre of American students to liberate them by removing the bad guy who is causing their suffering. Well, this is a misrepresentation of the reality on the ground.” Read more
Eritrean-American NGO founder Semhar Araia tweeted:
#StopKony2012 is targeting privileged,educated,mostly white youth to care abt Africa by fighting LRA.I expect a more nuanced formula by now”
TMS Ruge (Uganda) tweeted: “Often, we Africans r sideshow while everyone else gets to marginalize & ” do” things 4 us…often ignoring our voice in matter.” Read his tweets.
Journalist Sentletse Diakanyo (South Africa) tweeted: “People who want to arrest Joseph Kony must go arrest him and stop spamming us.”
Where do you stand in the #kony2012 debate?