Culture et idées Interview

'Disease and disaster': the clichéd view that ex-colonial powers still have of Africa

Souleymane Bachir Diagne, a philosopher from Senegal who is currently living and working in the United States, has spoken out about the current global health crisis and the inequalities and prejudice that it has revealed and the outdated thinking it has exposed about Africa. In an interview with Mediapart's Rachida El Azzouzi the academic discusses why so many observers still only discuss the continent through the prism of disease and disaster. Souleymane Bachir Diagne explains that despite many of them having a colonial past, developed countries of the North do not really know modern Africa and the progress it has made in recent decades. He calls on African countries and people to proclaim their achievements to the rest of the world, and talks of the need to 'decolonise' our minds.

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Why is it that Africa, which has defied the grim predictions and resisted the Coronavirus pandemic fairly well up to now, is always looked at through the prism of impending doom? Why is it that in the wealthy countries of the Global North that it is minorities - in particular black people - and the poor who have been hardest hit by the Covid-19 virus?

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