BOB’S BIRTHDAY AND WHY BORIS JOHNSON SHOULD NEVER WRITE ABOUT AFRICA AGAIN
WRITTEN BY NICK MONRO AKA DIKSON
“Johnson’s article reads like a Bob Geldof song made love to a coloniser’s diary and jotted the experience down” – author
Welcome to Zimbabwe. As we all know this Saturday His Excellency, The Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces and all that jazz, R.G. Mugabe will hold a mammoth feast (pun intended considering the contents of the menu). The outcries of conservationists and commentators rang in as wild, beautiful creatures including elephant and lion will be slaughtered in the name of the warped 21st February Movement – once a celebration and initiative for young Zimbabweans transformed into a party, so indulgent and archaic even Kanye West would consider himself too human to preside over it. How on earth do we justify throwing a million US Dollars away at a lavish party whilst the people of this country make a plan to get by week in week out? Here’s what deserves celebrating, the resilience of a society despite the conditions they are forced to operate in with crippling unemployment and the rusting of local industry.
However, in the face of all this, one critic’s voice that clumsily chimed in like a drunk giant woken from slumber needs to take a special bow. Boris Johnson, you take the award for the most ignorant and arrogant ramblings about this event. Whilst it is something to be addressed it is not an opportunity for your own political grandstanding at the expense of the entire African continent. Johnson’s article reads like a Bob Geldof song made love to a coloniser’s diary and jotted the experience down. Is it okay to write about Africa with such sweeping generalisations and outright falsehoods? Would you do the same if you were writing about Europe? Mistake spaghetti for high German cuisine and talk about how the ill in France wander the street corners, gormlessly drifting around? And before you go any further in throwing your imagination wildly at the streets of Zimbabwe please be sure not to include me, a White Zimbabwean, in your fond and fumbling plucking of heartstrings when you get nostalgic about your kith and kin *slides fingers down throat*.
Here are a couple pointers next time you write about ‘The Dark Continent’:
Tusker is a beer in East Africa, usually drunk at room temperature, thousands of kilometres South, in Zimbabwe (the place you were writing about) party-goers may drink Chibuku, or Castle depending on the opacity and potency that tickles their fancy.
If I go outside right now I won’t see “the ravages of HIV, the emaciated figures standing listlessly on street corners.” I will see the local airtime vendor chatting with the guy who sells bananas. HIV exists, and the rate has fallen dramatically (by about 10% amongst pregnant women according to the UNFPA) in the last few years, but sadly that doesn’t fit with your description of a zombie warzone.
On the topic of lions, prolific Twitter (we have that here) commentator andallegedly brainwashed Zimbabwean, Joe Black had this to say,”I find it quite heartening that Boris finds the concept of slaughtering a lion (albeit not for eating, like he mistakenly thinks) so obscene. He will no doubt be rushing to condemn every British conservative politician with a lion trophy mounted on his wall.”
Also, could you not be so overtly racist? The descriptions of the black population you write about come across quite clearly as either brainwashed, emaciated, tyrannical or buxom whilst you so quaintly describe a white innocence and justified community that even have relatives in the UK (wow they must be worth saving)! Don’t over simplify just so you can sleep at night sir. Colonialism isn’t a Fairy Tale.
I know you’re not writing for us in Africa, you’re writing for your voters in the UK and getting them all pumped up on patriotism. But please, next time you write something on Africa (or one of the 53 countries within it) do remember that some of us might read it and maybe, just maybe we don’t need you to tell us what’s wrong or right with it…
Your Kith and Kin