Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

"We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld."

We've also got Mac Airs and Converse Allstars.

'African' stories are constantly taken from their very specific cultural settings and decontextualised
to stand as symbols for the entire continent.

This is the kind of thing we're subjected to:


That's not Africa. That's a fictionalised idea of Africa.

'Africa' is really only a geographical space. Culture is not a single h***geneous unit. It's a diverse and fragmentary mix of language, community, attitude and identity. Understanding this is key to social innovation.

Don't let stereotypes mess with your ability to truly interact with people, African or otherwise.


Views: 11

Comment by Brandon Spearman on March 3, 2010 at 10:22am
You're right Charlie. Commercials like these from major corporations only live to strengthen stereotypes that need to be forgotten.
Comment by Gene Becker on March 3, 2010 at 9:39pm
Well said. To EVOKE, we need to understand. How can those of us who are far removed from the real on-the-ground culture through geographic, economic and cultural distance, learn the ground truth? How do you do it, yourself?
Comment by Bruce Haynes on March 4, 2010 at 2:33pm
i def choose to power vote this as LOCAL INSIGHT ! you seem to have a good grasp of what seems to be a complex issue , keep talking charlie, we'll be listening:)
Comment by Sam Merrell on March 9, 2010 at 8:47am
Definitely agree here. I find it very frustrating when people generalize Africa so much. It is such a diverse continent and we all need to be aware of that. I also feel the same as Gene, for someone like myself I know that I don't know much about the culture or conditions in many places in Africa and I'd like to see how others are learning. As for myself I think I could begin by looking for bloggers in Africa I could follow or those on Twitter would be a good start.
Comment by Jerry Rae Leyland on March 9, 2010 at 10:58am
So well put!

*local insight*

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