the-africa-issue

I read something in the paper that really confused me the other day. It said that 80 percent of the people in New York are minorities… Shouldn’t you not call them minorities when they get to be 80 percent of the population? That’s a very white attitude, don’t you think? I mean, you could take a white guy to Africa and he’ll be like, ‘Look at all the minorities around here! I’m the only majority.’
—  Louis C.K.
nature.com
South Africa’s San people issue ethics code to scientists
The indigenous people — known for their click languages — are the first in Africa to draft guidelines for researchers.

On 2 March, three communities in South Africa issued their own research-ethics code — thought to be the first from any indigenous group in Africa. Although the rules will carry no legal weight, their authors hope that scientists will feel compelled to submit proposals for research in San communities to a review panel of community members. And the San may refuse to collaborate with institutions whose staff do not comply, the rules warn.

The code was developed by traditional leaders of the !Xun, Khwe and !Khomani groups of San, which represent around 8,000 people in South Africa.

“We’ve been bombarded by researchers over the years,” says Hennie Swart, director of the South African San Institute in Kimberley, which helped to develop the code. “It’s not a question of not doing the research. It’s a question of doing it right.”

Writing on a group’s issues to which you have no connection

I want to write a story that basically protests colonial powers, particularly the French and their continued tyranny over West African countries. However I’m worried that it might turn out as a white person talking about black peoples issues and I’m not comfortable with that. Is there a way to write it and avoid this, or should I downright abandon this idea?

So long as the authority is people directly affected, should be fine. I mean, technically a white author wrote one of my favourite Native protagonist books (I Am Apache, which describes the Apache resistance to settlers) but she used actual survivors of the war to build her account. It’s a gorgeous book.

-Mod Lesya

I have no solid yes or no answer to this, as some people will be fine with it while others may feel you’re encroaching on an issue that you have no strong, legitimate claims to. 

As this is a story (fiction) be careful about blatantly preachy “This-is-bad” themes as it doesn’t typically make for an easily digestible story, and also don’t treat your characters as puppets for your theme. 

Most people know x is bad so illustrating the intricate horrors, effects, and just how bad x is, is more effective than drilling in the basic message of x being bad. 

I think you’d benefit from reading the ask Writing a genocide to which you have no personal connection.

-Mod Colette

“Out of everyone in the cast I’m the most impressed with Danai Gurira. Not only is she a talented and multi-award winning playwright, she’s currently making history on Broadway and is nominated for A Tony award. Which is the highest honor in the theater community. She’s a huge activist, using her fame from the show to shine a light on issues in Africa. She’s also an advocate for women empowerment. And this is just the short list of the things she’s done. She’s truly a blessing to the world.”

Under The Influence | Interview With Rebecca Ayoko (The Africa Issue)

“You can compare my childhood to a mix between ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Color Purple’ ” says Rebecca Ayoko. Born in Togo in the seventies, she grew up in extreme poverty and ferocious violence – an upbringing leaving seemingly virtually room for hope. Little did she know that she was to become one of France’s first black supermodels, and Yves Saint Laurent’s muse. Dior, Balmain, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta: no runway was without her. Shot by Helmut Newton, beloved by French Vogue, “I got my fairytale and so much more.” Today, she has marked history, but hasn’t forgotten her childhood. Her upcoming autobiography (Jean-Claude Gawsewitch editions) will tell her bittersweet, rollercoaster tale.