Saturday, 10 February 2007

"Aaaafricaaaa"

Let me explain "Aaaafricaaaa" as distinct from Africa. Africa is a continent. A chunk of Earth's surface. "Aaaafricaaaa" is a concept, a kind of marketing ploy to instill pride in its denizens and wanderlust in its visitors.

Let's face facts for a second. Africa, as a whole, is a fucking dump. What isn't wartorn is disease-ridden. What isn't disease-ridden or wartorn is full of cultures that think women are filthy without their external genitalia replaced by a chunk of festering scar tissue filled with menses and urine that can't escape. Full of cultures that are totally okay with rape as a substitute for consent. Full of corrupt politicians who'll sell out swathes of their population to Western business in exchange for a new Mercedes. Full of people who think nothing of hacking off children's limbs with machetes over forgotten disputes. One African nation has an AK-47 on its fucking flag, for fuck's sake.

Despite this, I don't hate Africa. I feel something between pity and despair, but I don't hate it.

"Aaaafricaaaa" is a continual stream of bullshit that's created by Western-style marketing departments for Western-style businesses to make them seem less Western and consequently more "genuine": less nakedly avaricious. I take its name from the basso-profundo generic-African-accented grunt which is used to intone the word "Africa" on an advert about the merits of a local brand of, say, curry powder.

"Aaaafricaaaa" is a leopardskin scarf on a white air hostess on a Boeing 747, flown by foreign pilots.

"Aaaafricaaaa" is a continual stream of smug Northern African models (local models are not considered worthy) looking bemused at incapable, racially stereotyped white morons bumbling with the competition's products to the accompaniment of a synthesised marimba soundtrack (marimbas are also no more local than, say, violins).

"Aaaafricaaaa" is the populist howl of potentates in Hugo Boss suits decrying the abuses of the White colonial past while hocking chunks of the country to China and India for a holiday in Monaco.

"Aaaafricaaaa" will fuck you, every time.

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