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FUSE ODG: WHY I HAD TO TURN DOWN BAND AID

19 November 2014 (Courtesy of The Guardian)

In truth, my objection to the project goes beyond the offensive lyrics. I, like many others, am sick of the whole concept of Africa – a resource-rich continent with unbridled potential – always being seen as diseased, infested and poverty-stricken. In fact, seven out of 10 of the world's fastest growing economies are in Africa.

Let me be clear, I'm not disregarding the fact that Ebola is happening and that people need help. Since the start of the outbreak in March it has killed more than 5,000 people. But every human being deserves dignity in their suffering and the images flashed on our screens remove any remnants of this from Ebola sufferers, many in their dying moments, when they should have it the most.

I am not disputing Band Aid's good intentions. But the shock-factor strategy they have used since the 1980s has sparked a whole wave of "good cause" organisations that have been irresponsible with regard to the images shown to the rest of the world. It's been totally one-sided. That's understandable in part, as they wouldn't raise much money if they showed the affluence, wealth, and happy lifestyles that exist in the continent. But in the process of doing all this “good work” a huge imbalance has been created.

That image of poverty and famine is extremely powerful psychologically. With decades of such imagery being pumped out, the average westerner is likely to donate £2 a month or buy a charity single that gives them a nice warm fuzzy feeling; but they are much less likely to want to go on holiday to, or invest in, Africa. If you are reading this and haven't been to Africa, ask yourself why.

This is New Africa (Tina) is a movement empowering people to shed a positive light on Africa. I was born in Tooting, south London, and was taken as an infant to Ghana. Returning to London at the age of 11, being African was not something to be proud of because of all the negative connotations it conjured up, and it drove me to be almost ashamed of who I was. (Click here for full story, courtesy of www.theguardian.com)

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