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Africa: When East meets West

By Josef-Israel

Josef-Israel is a U. K. based Voice Actor, Broadcaster and Journalist working with West London's BBC Newsgathering. An 11 year sojourn in Ghana, West-Africa, decidedly weathered a passion and love for all things from "éyè-fie" (back-home), a regular in Accra, it is impossible to take the African out of this son of Africa.

Posted on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 17:12

Comic books may not naturally be the preserve of African literature, other than perhaps the contemplative buffoonery of Nigeria’s ‘MuguYaro’ or the pictorial social commentary of cartoonist Tayo Fatunla.

It seems however that the continent will soon experience DC Comics’ finest as DC Entertainment and Warner Bros launch the “We Can Be Heroes” Campaign enlisting the help of iconic cartoon Super Heroes; Superman, Batman, Wonder woman and the rest of what is known as the Justice League, to fight the hunger crisis in East Africa.

I recently viewed a Tayo Fatunla cartoon depicting a crying child, accompanied by the mandatory flies, set against the back drop of a map of what I now see is a euphemistic ‘Mother’ Africa. A reflective piece indeed, but I question, is this the inevitable?

In a case of East meets West, we are seeing the Sahel region increasingly becoming overcast with the shadow of hunger and famine. In 2010 the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) warned of growing needs across Eastern Sahel in West Africa, despite the humanitarian assistance provided the Sahel drought situation two years ago, the crisis that engulfed and continues in the East Africa now looms across the semi-arid shores of northern Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, northern Nigeria, Cameroon and southern Chad.

There is no stamp date on Tayo’s ‘Mother Africa’ but it does seem oddly prophetic to me, it is obviously a warning, not a lengthy report from Save the Children, Oxfam or a UN body, but a warning none the less.

Tayo has a similar cartoon with a Nelson Madiba Mandela quote, saying; “I am the Master of my fate…”. And whilst this too is true, are we really? Conflict continues in several countries affected for whatever reasons which undoubtedly compound the situation at the expense of Africa’s future, her fate.

Whilst in Ghana last year I watched with intrigue as a young Ghanaian schoolboy, Andrew Andasi, who, after seeing the ravages of the East Africa famine on Uncle Television decided to do something about it, hoping to raise millions of dollars. Andrew made worldwide headline news. But one wonders whether the companies, churches, and organisations Andrew hoped to approach actually came up with the goods? Was East Africa too far away from West Africa? After all this could never happen in Ghana, Benin or Nigeria right?

Master of my fate? Am I really?

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