We do, apparently. At least, insofar as it can serve as our personal dumping ground. Got a used bra? Africa needs it. Some old shoes? Africa needs those too. And flip-flops count as well! Knickers? Africa will take those too. Dresses made out of pillowcases? Hey, all girls need to feel special. Wedding dresses? Africans get married too, you know. Anything else? Send it. We all know Africa needs it. Nothing is off-limits (as you can see from the list put together by Tales From the Hood), including your old unwanted fur. Because, while “fashion-conscious and compassionate people” wouldn’t be caught dead in fur, this is OK for Africans and homeless people (what? these two groups aren’t mutually exclusive?) who are obviously neither fashion-conscious nor compassionate. They’re just needy. Of course, their needs come second to PETA’s, which covers most of the unwanted furs they receive in fake blood, then uses them in their demonstrations. Oh, PETA. They never cease to amaze. This is almost as good as their 2008 collaboration with the U.S. Border Patrol.

Now, lest you fear that Africa isn’t getting enough of the Stuff We Don’t Want (SWEDOW – now with its own Twitter hashtag!), rest assured that the continent also serves as the world’s dumping ground for counterfeit goods, including everything from electrical products to software and antibiotics. Used or fake, it seems everything we don’t need is precisely everything that Africa needs.

Which brings me to the picture above. It’s taken from a campaign by an organization called the Mocha Club, whose aim is “to start a new conversation [and] raise awareness of the joy and hope that exist in Africa, and begin to reform the inaccurate perception that Africa is a continent only of despair.” MC’s tag line is Africa Needs Me More Than I Need Africa. Why?

Because it is Africa that has taught me that possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart. I’ve learned that I don’t need what I have and that I have what I need.

So it is through Africa that we learn we don’t need things (they live simply over there, you see), and then it is in Africa that we dump the things we’ve just learned we don’t need. How convenient.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.