Living as we do in a racist society that acts like white people are the greatest thing since sliced bread—even though everyone knows George Washington Carver invented sliced bread—we are often left with the impression that sub-Saharan Africa is a backward land of hopeless poverty and toddler-level superstition. Sure, if you want to get technical, the average IQ of a sub-Saharan African is a cognitively impoverished 68, but that can all be easily blamed on colonialism and white supremacy. Before the white man came and destroyed their advanced civilizations, sub-Saharan Africans were so smart that they didn’t even need things such as written languages and technology.
Sitting here as a white man in a white land on a shiny-bright summer afternoon, I was struck with a deep stabbing pain in my soft white underbelly to realize that my impressions of Africa had been spoon-fed to me by other white people and not by Africans—and I’m not talking about American blacks, because they don’t count.
“Why not let Africans explain Africa without the oppressive filter of Western constructs such as logic?” I thought to myself with a smug smile. “Surely Africa has a vibrant and thriving media that portrays African life in an authentically African way.” I smiled again, overwhelmed with my cleverness.
During my intensive research of African media—a process that took at least a couple hours—I realized that more than any other continent, Africa is a land of magic.
I didn’t pay too much attention to that ravaged continent’s political landscape, because African politicians seem to be the same as politicians everywhere else—one accuses the other of having a small brain, while the other counters that with all due respect, his opponent is the son of a dog.
I also sidestepped all the debunked and discredited tropes about Africa being a crime-ridden hellhole, because there isn’t a place on earth where women don’t gang-rape men at gunpoint, where toddlers aren’t found with their tongue and penis severed, where triplets aren’t born in a mall toilet and all of them die, and where men don’t chop their grandfathers to death with an ax for daring to suggest they get an education. We are all imperfect human beings, and not even Canadians, as wholesome as they may be, are immune to such foibles. Everywhere from Edmonton to Cape Cod to Harare, when men suspect their women of cheating, they smash out nine of their rival’s teeth with a log. From Manchester to Oslo to Nairobi, when lovers quarrel, they squeeze or bite their partner’s genitals in a moment of unbridled passion.
Speaking of passion, a stereotype about Africans that is often unfairly lodged against them is that they have very high sex drives and enjoy having sex with everything from hippos to tree stumps. What’s wrong with enjoying sex? Is somebody a little jealous, perhaps?
Via the inscrutable wonders of electronic media, Africans are able to reach out to one another and offer help and advice with their multifarious sexual dilemmas.
African journalists offer loads of sexual tips—both figuratively and all too literally—that may help you avoid becoming one of the 25 million or so Africans that are walking or hobbling around with HIV. We learn that “Vaginal odours are easy to treat,” that compulsive masturbation can be a problem for young African men, that you shouldn’t be alarmed if you have “painless swollen lumps” on your vagina, that it’s wise to keep your “hymen intact to avoid being labeled a ‘whore,’” and that, as Hillary Clinton famously reminded us, it takes a village to provide “Succour for baby without anus.”
But sometimes even Africans get carried away with their healthy sex drives, which leads to politicians busting through underage girls’ hymens with their fingers, criminal cases over forced vagina-shaving, and a preacher who calls himself “Jesus One Touch” denying that he could have possibly ever molested his daughter simply because his busybody of a wife was always snooping around. Yes, sad as it may seem, sometimes even African men of the cloth yield to the temptations of the flesh, resulting in regrettable headlines such as “I Sucked Pastor’s Dick” and “Pastor Taps Vagina.”
One thing I learned to my shock and awe while perusing African journalism is that when African men allow their enviably powerful sex drives to run riot, that’s when they start defiling people—whether it’s a 50-year-old man using biscuits to defile a 7-year-old girl, an adult male driver who defiles a ten-year-old girl on her way home from church, or a man who gets a long prison sentence for defiling an “imbecile,” African males in full rutting season are prone to defiling others, which is why more often than not, you may find them walking around with a “filthy penis.”
But what separates African journalism from the roving light brigades of reporters and truth-seekers worldwide is its unflinching, unquestioning, and deeply uncomprehending sense of magic and wonderment. Viewed through the eyes of Africans, Africa is one murderous, sprawling Disneyland.