04 January 2012

Toto's 'Africa' Ripped to Shreds

Dear drought-plagued continent,
You really remind me of a girl I want to sleep with.
Author Steve Almond rightly analyzes and rips apart the song "Africa" by Toto.  The above quite is not nearly as good as the quote from the keyboardist explaining his inspiration drawn from UNICEF ads of starving children in Africa.

This talk is as good as it gets when talking about the problems rife with the portrayals of the 'dark continent.'  The era that brought us Toto and Live Aid has given way to poverty tourism.  Fortunately, there are less songs such as 'Africa,' but that is probably because more people are traveling down to save children.  That is not to look down on the desire to help and have empathy for others in the world; we could use a whole lot more of that.  Rather, it is to illustrate that the status quo presents the continent as a monolith that lacks any diversity or really anything else than people in need.

As long as this persists, true development will be unattainable.  It will be driven by the idea that outside help is necessary to pull people out of poverty.  It subverts the possibility that people living in an enormous continent are able to achieve anything in their own right.