Thursday, February 07, 2013

From Indignation to Indifference

The Economist May 13th, 2000
The Economist
(13 May 2000)
The Economist 3rd Dec 2011
The Economist
(3 December 2011)

I can still remember my immediate reaction to The Economist's now (in)famous "hopeless continent" cover back in the year 2000: indignation. How dare they pass judgement on an entire continent and its millions of individual citizens?

My response to the magazine's "Africa rising" cover over a decade later was not one of elation, rather it was one of indifference. Why? What had I learnt in the interim? It was this: Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what "they" think, whether good or ill, and whoever "they" may be. What really matters is what Africans themselves think (about themselves and about their continent) and, more importantly, what they do -- or don't do -- about it.

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