Technology, Africa and Public Policy

A blog that examines the overlap between all three, we'll be happy with at least two - but we've settled for less.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

African Literature and African Visa's

If someone didn't say literature granted access to a lifetime of human wisdom, they should have, and hopefully done so more eloquently than me.  Visa's also grant access, perhaps to the more mundane*, so here is a post on both.  

(*not always - shameless earthporn from Namibia and Madagascar.)

Tope Folarin wins Caine prize for African writing.  Perhaps more for (African) writers identity is important/relevant to who they are given their business, but a piece that reflects more broadly on African identity.  I wonder if there is a greater expectation, especially by those outside Africa, that African writers reflect their 'Africanness' in some way in their works, as a theme, setting, or in their characters and if such a link is not there the work is somehow not as capable of saying something wider about the human condition.  I actually know very little about literature, African or other sadly, but I am reminded of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who said, perhaps unfairly targeting Americans:

"Americans think African writers will write about the exotic, about wildlife, poverty, maybe Aids. They come to Africa and African books with certain expectations. I was told by a professor at Johns Hopkins University that he didn't believe my first book because it was too familiar to him. In other words, I was writing about middle-class Africans who had cars and who weren't starving to death, and therefore to him it wasn't authentically African."

Visa's in Africa

It's bad enough getting a visa for the US, UK or Europe but there are too many visa's need for travel around Africa.  It hampers growth and inhibits much needed regional integration.   
"On average, African citizens require visas to visit 60 per cent of African countries – ranging from a high of 84 per cent for Somalia to a low of 41 per cent for The Gambia."
Meanwhile, it is very easy for a Brit to come to Africa, slightly trickier for an American though at under 50% visa free or VOA.  It should be easy for anyone to come to Africa and move around.  The planned new single visa for Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda should be welcomed and hopefully can demonstrate the benefits of a more streamlined system.     

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