I realised I was sharing a lot of Africa-related content in December. Likely this is related to research I’m doing for my talk on AI and human rights on January 20. But this also meant I was more receptive to the stories coming from The Continent, a weekly publication I subscribe to that showcases the best reporting from journalists across Africa.
I was especially taken by the final issue of 2021 and it’s summary of the year gone.
“As Africans, we had the extra spice of watching our expectations play out as Western countries finally sent us some of their hoarded vaccines (just before they expired – and then only as donations). The northern hemisphere is already talking about booster shots while fewer than 10% of Africans have had any sort of jab.
In public climate negotiations, the same countries spoke of a fairer and more just world while behind closed doors telling African countries to shut up and accept the status quo.”
Africa consists of 54 countries. I have lived in two and visited a total of ten. Of course I argue that we can not talk about Africa as one place, given its glorious diversity in culture, literature, language, animal life, architecture, innovation and more across its vast land
from ocean to ocean. But what The Continent
does really well is pinpoint the ways in which Africa as a whole is mistreated, exploited and cast aside on a whim. The pandemic has highlighted again and again how easily Western countries get away with empty promises
There is power in unity and I am hopeful in seeing highlights of African leaders raising their voices
in rare expressions of blunt frustration with what they express as “afrophobia” and “travel apartheid”.
This issue is about challenging biases and understanding how important voices are so easily ignored and silenced. By design.
Wishing you all the best from a cold and snowy Sweden. Attaching a photo from our walk in the forest earlier today.
P.S. I want to read more so I’m starting a book club. After reading this newsletter you’ll understand how I came to choose the first book on the list.