October 19, 2015
Africa is no longer just about resources.
India’s attitude towards Africa cannot remain imprisoned in the ‘dark continent’ stereotype. Neither can it be defined solely by the legacy of the colonial era. Our language of engagement needs to create a new edifice defined by an aspirational Africa’s quest for a good life
The views of most Indians, including the educated ones, about Africa are still largely trapped in stereotypes. The episodic reportage in the media perpetuates some myths: Africa is still the land of jungle safaris; the place of Mahatma Gandhi’s first satyagraha; the continent of Ebola, HIV and tribal conflicts; the home-place of both Idi Amin and Nelson Mandela. We also see news items on Nigerian students peddling drugs and the hosting of fancy wedding ceremonies for India’s nouveau riche in South Africa. In short, a ‘dark continent’ with some bright spots. Some new stereotypes have also come to shape contemporary views of Africa — it is a growing market for Indian companies but the Chinese have stolen a march over the Indians.