Not quite like a prayer
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Not quite like a prayer

A Kenyan tells Madonna that his country wants to live in a material world

india Updated: Apr 14, 2013 22:48 IST

Dear Madonna,

I wish to thank you for being a caring mother to all the children of Malawi, to all the children of Africa.

I wish to thank you for all your money too. Africa is deeply invested in your love of us, in the schools you build, and in the central place in the world you have afforded Africa by choosing us!

I would like to ask you a favour. Please forgive President Joyce Banda for all those nasty things somebody said on her behalf about you.

If Malawi has been ungrateful and treated you badly, you must know my country Kenya has orphans too.

Kenya specialises in making tourists feel very happy and at home, dancing around an African fire, drinking gin and making happy sounds in the middle of herds of animals and on beaches.

It’s been well over a century since we met your people, and since then Africa’s relationship with the western world has gone from strength to strength.

Today, bad people, like those from China, Brazil and India are coming to Africa to bring colonialism back by buying our minerals and crops at good market prices and giving us cheapish loans for infrastructure.

But some of us Africans are deeply committed to the values Europe and the West brings to us: like democracy, human rights and lots and lots of cold hard cash for human rights workers and civil society and anything, really, that does things like sustainability, empowerment and most of all, capacity building — which, as you know is very, very important for Africa’s future especially as it is tax free and comes with per diems and conference allowances.

Imagine what your money would do in Kenya! We have cannier auditors than the Malawians.

Those countries, BRICS as they are called, who think development is about bridges, roads, rail and electricity are not investing in democracy. Europe and the West, they have a simple way of developing Africa.

They give money to do something called institution-building. They find activists who can start pro-democracy organisations with massive budgets.

These civil society activists like to make social-change soap operas about a thing called governance, which is very important for Africa because Africans are corrupt and illiterate and need a lot of gentle lectures from western institutions about how to unthreateningly and firmly and nicely talk to the grassroots and show them the best way to choose their leaders.

African people, of course, cannot make good decisions.

Kenya is full of vibrant organisations who make wonderful reports but who struggle to get Kenyans to listen to them because Kenyans need a lot of European funding to become ready for democracy and more and more institutions need to be built until the fools learn.

Those rebellious Kenyans who keep wanting to do business with the BRICS need a good awareness workshop and some focus groups!

Meanwhile, Nato and America will circle our shores to protect us from bad Asians and South Americans.

Invest your love Madonna. Invest in love for Africa. For… for our children. Much Love.

The Guardian

First Published: Apr 14, 2013 22:47 IST