africans to bono: for gods sake please stop.


After his impassioned defense of aid, an African man in the audience asked Bono, “Where do you place the African person as a thinker, a creator of wealth?”

Celebrities make easy targets. Many at TED attacked Bono (ironically the catalyst for holding a conference in Africa in the first place) less for what he has done and more for what he represents. He has done more for raising Africa’s profile and our awareness about debt relief, unequal trade, malaria and HIV/AIDS than perhaps any human being in history. He represents a game we have all played for nearly fifty years whose only winners have been corrupt governments and the international development industry.

Visibly wounded by the question, confused how anyone could misinterpret his good intentions, Bono, like the proverbial white man with black friends, set out to prove how down he is with the black man.

Africans are the “most regal people on earth” and music is their DNA, he told the room of mostly doctors, engineers, and businessmen. He then began singing a traditional Irish dirge to show us how Celtic music has Coptic roots, and so is fundamentally African. I wasn’t the only one giggling in the back row.

Bono, in his awkward defense of his “Africa credo,” also represents our fundamental failure to listen.

an excellent ted article on the path to the future of africa. the classical fish vs. fishing cane problem.


one comment to “africans to bono: for gods sake please stop.”

  • DarKLotuS says:

    I’ve discovered your blog a few days ago and I’ve been reading it since then. I like it a lot, I must say.
    You have an impressive CV and a huge amount of achievments at your age.
    You are a very good photographer as well.
    Even though I don’t know you in person, I wish you all the best during your stay in Shangai.

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