The ebola crisis in parts of Africa prompted Bob Geldorf to resurrect the Christmas hit Band Aid. Thus he gathered together a legion of singers both old and new to produce a new version which he hopes will sell well enough to raise money to help the cause. Unlike the previous single buying this one is simple, you can download it in seconds from a number of sources. For sure, the artists involved will feel that they have helped and those that donate will gain that warm feeling that comes from “doing your bit”.
However, many Africans believe that the approach taken by Geldorf is flawed. The lyrics of the song are a concern because they portray a negative impression of Africa as a country riddled with disease, torn apart by war and mostly impoverished. Lines such as, “where a kiss of love can kill you and there is death in every tear” and “there is no peace and joy in west Africa this Christmas” do not portray the Africa that many Africans would recognise.
It is understandable why Geldorf and others since the 1980s have painted this type of picture because without it nobody would have donated. Unfortunately though, these images do not truly reflect the majority of the continent which is far from poor, is happy, secure and rich in resources. They serve to deter visitors and prevent people from investing in one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
Of course, everyone is moved to assist in those countries that have suffered from the deadly ebola virus but for the rest of the continent, this type of portrayal is counter productive to their achievement.
I am not suggesting for one moment that we should not donate, those countries affected need all the aid they can get at this time. We should however remember that it is not the whole of Africa that is suffering any more than believing the whole of Europe is in crisis.