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Chiamaka O.: My Africa is NOT Hungry!



My Africa is not hungry. My Africa is just a giant that has failed to take giant strides. Africa as a continent has probably suffered more than any other continent on the planet, in the hands of the press. The press has inundated us with images of hungry and suffering children. These are the pictures that best describe what the rest of world thinks of Africa, or at least that is what television has made us believe. You see, you never truly realise that you are a black person, until you move to a predominantly ‘white’ country. And that was my predicament.

Growing up in Nigeria, with fairly comfortable parents, my life was pretty fine. I got all my basic necessities and probably a little more, if I batted my eyelashes long enough at my father. But I wasn’t oblivious to the suffering of the poor and the needy, or so I thought. I saw the occasional beggar on the street & a fair amount of homeless people. But in my head, Africa was doing pretty well for itself.

This lasted, till I moved to England. Then I noticed that in between TV shows, there were always commercials, appealing for donations to ‘hungry African children’ somewhere. All over the UK as a whole, there was always somewhere appealing for help for Africa. The final stroke that broke the camel’s back, was when I watched the documentary ‘This is Lagos’, aired by the BBC. This is Lagos, made it a point of duty, to show all the worst parts of Lagos, and somehow missed all the more civil looking parts of it. On their way to the slums of Lagos, did they not see Victoria Island? Did they not see Lekki? Whether this was a coincidence or not, we will never know.

But all these made me see a side of Africa I had never seen before. A hungry, helpless, desolate place, looking up to the mercy of developed countries for its daily bread. It reduced Africa to the mere status of a jungle, and made people like me almost, ashamed to be called Africans.

While I applaud the efforts of organisations like UNICEF, for constantly advertising the plight of the less privileged African mothers and children. The world needs to know that Africa is not hungry. Africa is not helpless. Africa is not a dying child looking for help. Africa is a giant, which has just failed to take giant strides, due to sheer mismanagement of resources and greed among its people.

America has beggars, hungry children and poor people too. Have you ever seen them in the news? England has its fair share of the poor too. Have you ever seen them in the news? So why is Africa’s poverty so magnified by the press that it overshadows its progress?

The world needs to know the Africa I know. The one that is bursting with potential. The Africa that is full of intriguing culture, intelligent people and ancient wisdom that will make even minds like Einstein’s stop to think. The Africa, that produced minds like Chinua Achebe and heroes like Nelson Mandela.

Africa might not be running the race of development as quickly as other continents. Africa might be taking baby steps towards development, but it is MOVING FORWARD. I am not appealing to the media to perpetually paint a beautiful picture of Africa, but they should be fair in their assessment. And not just tell one side of the African story. The media should be careful, not to keep painting the picture of Africa the victim. But should concentrate on painting the picture of Africa the victorious.

For one to truly see the beauty in Africa, One must continually look through the lenses of HOPE. And I am very hopeful.

Photo Credit:
Chiamaka O. is a writer, lover and law student. You can follow her on twitter @YellowIgboGirl or check out her blog, to follow her adventures.

Blogger & Lover of All things African. I write about life. I write about Love. I write to capture my passion and the essence of my culture. You can follow me on twitter @YellowIgboGirl


  1. amaaa

    August 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    gwa ha biko nne ike agwulam all I see is desolation in parts of Europe and yet no one is magnifying the issues these countries face

  2. ileola

    August 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I definitely agree with you here. I have to say I did enjoy “This is Lagos” as it did show (apart from one episode) hardworking Nigerians doing all they could legally to better themselves with NO government help or assistance to basic infrastructure and facilities like healthcare, education, housing etc. But it did only show a part of Lagos – It would have been balanced if they did show ALL as not all the nice places in Lagos are owned and/or built by those who looted money – some of them are built/owned by hardworking Nigerians working legally. It also really irritates me when they show adverts of African children dying to ask for aid – after all poor people exist in the developed world – and I really mean poor – no food, homeless, etc, etc. When they (US/UK) advertise for aid like Comic relief or Sport relief in the UK for instance and they want to highlight causes in the UK where the money is to go, they always show positive clips of the people where the money is going to help – never of them starving or dying! Funnily enough – majority of these aid agencies are the best paying jobs, the CEOs earn loads and get loads of perks as well – go figure. Anyway – my two cents/pence/kobo

  3. Amaka

    August 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I am not hungry and Africa definitely isn’t! There’s no country in this world that don’t have people suffering. The world needs to understand that Africa as a continent has been through a lot in the past(colonialism; apartheid;etc) and we are still recovering. It’s a gradual step and I know we will get there. The media can help out by bringing a balance in portraying Africa to the rest of the world!

  4. Tiki

    August 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I disagree. Africa is indeed hungry. Note that they didn’t say Nigeria, they said Africa.

    I for one am against the lumping of the numerous countries that make up this continent as ‘Africa’. We are very different from each other. You cannot compare South Africa, Morocco, Ghana with Central African Republic, Togo, Eritrea. We have emergent countries, and countries still in the Dark Ages. We may all be in Africa, but we differ. I wish they’d say ‘so-and-so’ country is hungry instead…

    I digress. Africa is hungry (in general). Don’t be an ostrich about it. However Africa is not all about hunger. It is also about progress, about pride, about potential, about hardwork. It is about beauty, and talent, and accomplishment, and faith. Africa is, like any other continent, an amalgamation of what humanity is.

    That is the message we need to pass across. If we keep denying our hunger, we will never face it long enough to change it.

    • ileola

      August 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Tiki – not denying the hunger – the whole world is hungry – I’m yet to see or hear of any country in the world that can declare it is “full up” So why is it ok for them to be silent about theirs’ and announce ours to all and sundry ? Thats all

    • Damsel

      August 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Yes Tiki, the issue is not really whether Africa is hungry. The issue has always been why the West will portray Africa as a continent filled with poverty, war and death and totally ignore the affluence and peace in the same Africa. This is what Chimamanda calls ‘the danger of a single story’. It’s like the story of the rich girl who keeps bullying the poor girl in school but fails to let others know her parents maltreat her everyday. You need to see the trains in London, the buses, on TV, in fact everywhere, all you see is some sick looking African child and an appeal for aid or else the child will die because there’s no water in her community blah blah blah. Excuse me, don’t you understand the impact the media has on people.And that is the only reason someone will see me on the train with two smartphones and think I got them through benefits. Africa is not hungry, the media needs to stop this lopsided story. And may I also add, everyday I see homeless people on the streets of London. Do you see that on your TV?

    • Igotalk

      August 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      I completely agree with this view. Africa has MAJOR problems. We don’t need to deny them. Intact, acknowledging them may help us see our shame as it really is (remember the story about emperor with no clothes on) and face up to what needs to be done to fix things. Wether it’s Nigeria, Congo, Zimbabwe…we’re all in it together. After all when we go to Western countries, they consider us first as Africans before they (if at all) ask which country we’re from. Shared identity, shared problems!

  5. Olamide

    August 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    One of the silliest, self agrandising and shallow peices I have ever read. Excuse freaking me. They don’t show the negative parts enough. They need to give a voice to people who have no voice, so they can shame our government into action. OMG, how does showing the good parats of Lagos affect the poor little boy in Ajegunle who has no access to education, hospitals, a balanced diet and good cleaning water. Poverty is everywhere yes, but the peculiarity of the African continent is linked to massive corruption and leaders that don’t care, which is PREVALENT on this continent, when compared to developed nations. So, BBC should show more, CNN should dedicate a whole day to showing the disgusting inhumane mess that human beings are being subjected because of a government that steals billions, squanders on their children, yet millions of kids are dying everyday. The first day of a new month and Chimamaka you have just pissed me off majorly. You live in a middle class bubble or maybe you are one of the rich kids whose parents are part of the problem. OPEN YOUR EYES. The majority of Nigerians don’t live comfortable lifestyles. Lekki or VI are full of thieves and the proceeds of corruption. Showing such areas is even worse because we are celebrating corruption. What does it do for you, (if not your ego that is bruised) if VI and Lekki that is shown. What does it do for you. You think the mother who just lost her children to an ill equipped hospital in Kotangora cares about image. Rather than champion the plight of the needy, you are talking image. Does the girl being married of at 9years old care about the image of Nigeria. It is only rich and middle people that care. AFRICA IS HUNGRY make no mistake. Your Africa is not hungry but you are in the minority and rather than use the absundance of priviledge that you have been given to scream on the rooftops that the education you got millions of children can never ever get, you are here talking BS about image. We will only move forward and demand better as a nation when the middle class bandies with the poor, then we can kick the ruling class out because you know what, when the cards are down, the rich will not protect you. They will fly out with their private jets and relocate their families to expensive homes abroad. When the people no longer have something to eat, they will come after you. BN someone else sent something, like this sometime ago, I would have thought that you guys will use maturity to decline this write up. Oh, I have forgotten, all y’all are from cushy backgrounds so you don’t gerrit. Mschew

    • jcsgrl

      August 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Olamide no vex abeg….I felt exactly the same way by this piece but life is too short to be asking stammer for direction. Those of us that had comfy lives should stop living in a bubble. We are a horrific minority. Like you said, let them open our nyash well well so the world will see what we have done to ourselves.

    • 100 gbosas

      August 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      If I can take one line from your comment it is this “Lekki and VI are full of the proceeds of corruption. Showing those areas is celebrating corruption”. Chiamaka went to school in England. That removes her from the majority. She cant understand. Pardon her ignorance. She also sounds young and very green. Open your eyes Chiamaka there’s life beyond the comfort of your lifestyle

    • ileola

      August 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      wooow…. I see where you are coming from Olamide but I believe an argument can be made for both sides. The aid pictures and videos do not paint the true picture all the time and of the money raised this way – a large percentage goes back to where it came from. If the ‘western world’ want to help – they need to stop buying bunkered oil, they need to stop opening accounts for looted funds, they need to stop letting criminals in the guise of politicians loot and launder our money in their countries – but will they do that – of course not – after all we are the ones holding up their economies. Until they do that they cant really hold the moral ground they want to claim to have. Bottom line – we all have issues, some are just a lot worse than the others

    • izzy

      August 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Like like like!

    • y

      August 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      if there was a like button i would have liked your comment and lobbied for others to do so. some of these rich kids don’t understand. if with parents that are civil servants we only have some of the things we need what will happen to kids with unemployed parents. many children need voices and the only way they can have them is if people give them an opportunity to be heard

    • lola

      August 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      5000 likes. I especillay loved the your last lines.

    • Lizzie

      August 2, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Education is free in Lagos state upto SS3…. Now will the same people for which it is free attend? That’s another matter. Africa is not what they always make it out to be.

    • Cee

      August 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Before I give my opinion let me start by saying my dad grew up in Ajegunle with 7 siblings. Over the years he worked really hard to send all 4 of his Children abroad for school through legal means.

      I understand both sides of the story. Yes Africa is hungry due to mismanagement of resources and corrupt leaders. I agree there are a lot people living in poverty whose voices should be heard and I support that. But should that be the only story? By telling a single sided story are we not giving the west a right to treat us like lesser human beings?

      I am aware a great percentage of the Nigerian population lives in poverty and this is really sad. However, living overseas you will be surprised how many people think of Africans as uncivilized individuals who live in huts with animals and climbs trees. Some people think we should not be able to speak English and are not educated. As a result, the opinions of an African overseas are sometimes considered second class and barbaric. Every now and then we are treated like we have no right to have a say in matters of the world because after all what could we possibly know when all our lives we lived in a huts. (Please don’t get me wrong I realize some people do live in huts and I am not saying this to be disrespectful). But even other black nations look down on us. We not only face racism but also “Africanism”. A white lady once said to a Nigerian friend of mine that she was surprised she was African because she seemed so sophisticated she thought she was Caribbean. Mind you this Friend of mine is an average Nigerian person (i.e her father isn’t in politics or any of those high up there positions). I have also been a victim of “Africanism” Someone once referred to me as a bush poverty stricken tongue clicking African who lives in a hut because that is all they had seen projected in the media. I am not saying we should by any means ignore poverty in Africa. No, this is a story that needs to be told. However we also need to celebrate our victories and success stories and those who rise up in spite of all the odds against them and show this side of African (yes this includes VI and Lekki) and not attribute this to western government assistance or some other benefit as they do overseas or “thief-ery” as we do in Nigeia. What about those that work really hard to get to where they are? Should they not have a voice? Should their story not be told because of the bad eggs that have stolen in Nigeria? Should we accept being called an uncivilized barbaric people because of our uncivilized leaders? Not everyone who is doing well is a thief. We need to stop with the bad bele. There should be another side of the story so when ignorant westerners meet an a Nigerian person who speaks perfect English and is well versed in so many topics they do not attribute this to external factors or worse discount their opinion.

      My 20 cents.

    • Babe

      August 3, 2013 at 12:48 am

      God bless you for this comment Cee.

  6. jcsgrl

    August 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hmnn while I understand what Chiamaka is trying to say but if a documentary is done featuring wealthy Nigerians doing well, we go begin to criticize. Start calling them names that they are thieves like ppl throw insults to BN weddings of rich people. Just the other day, CNN featured owambe parties and the bashing began. My people, which way Nigeria? If they focus on the middle class, the poor class will cry foul. They focus on upper class the middle will cry foul. Emi omo o! The truth is we need help! Though I thank God Nigeria is not as bad as countries like Sudan. But mehn since our government will not help us, we gotta get it anyway we can. We might not be poor in resources, but our mindset and strongwill are poor. We are capable of doing much more than we are but we are producing so little. So my dear, count yourself lucky as the fortunate less than 10% of Nigerians who had a comfy upbringing. The story is not the same everywhere. Let the really poor people tell you their plight and you will know that there are way more than them than there are of us

    • jinkelele

      August 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      and has all these years of showing the ‘hungry’ Africa changed our fortunes? Please less of the victim 5 minutes of fame and more progress – even the same countries giving aid are facing their own poverty and thus asking what difference all their aid has done all these years. It benefits charities to show the worst squalor possible and it also feeds into immigration fears of why you are in their country especially now when their economies are down.

    • jcsgrl

      August 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      It might not have changed your fortunes but they have made impact in the lives of few. In a country where over 70% of population is poor, how much can they do? My point stemming from the author’s view that her Africa is not poor is baseless and unfactual. Just because your little circle of influence of 1000 people you know are doing well doesn’t mean the poor is not amongst us and they are plenty. Lets go with facts in the US about 50 million people are poor that is about 16% of the population. In sub-Saharan African about 239 million people are in poverty. In Nigeria, it is a whopping 70% of our population. So nne, based on this statistics are we not poor? The media should show the good, bad and the ugly until we learn to turn our fortunes back for ourselves. The developed countries will not do it for us. Until we get tired of the poor image and do something about it, let them show it 24-7!

  7. hayzey

    August 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Africa IS hungry. Drop the delusions and self-aggrandization.

    • ileola

      August 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      so which country/continent is ‘full up’ ?

    • Olamide

      August 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      So which continent has the highest proportion of hunger. Stop burying your head in the sand. because you have access to the internet does not mean that millions of people do. What does image do for you, if not rub your ego and make you feel good about yourself. What does it do for you exactly. So, you feel better and you smile and praise them for showing Lekki and VI while millions are dying. Image only means something when it is in the majority. Yes there is hunger everywhere but what is the proportion. For every homeless person in London there are millions with homes. The reverse is the case in Nigeria. You want the good to be shown alongside the bad, who is deceiving who. When the good in the large percentage is from people and their cronies who are looting the treasury, abi those billion naira properties in those areas are bought with clean money. If your parents belong to those groups of course you won’t get it. Our need to show off is why such images are paining us. Nigerians loooooove to show off. If Africa wants the world to tell a different story then Africa should put actions into place where there will be nothing to show, or it will be the minority. Why any sane person will be upset about This is Lagos just shows the shallowness of your mind an unfeeling nature. Love your neighbour as yourself, that commandment is lost on us, yet churches are at every corner. Anyone who is vexed should carry camera and go film the slums in new York and post it on Youtube. Mschew.

  8. aleesha

    August 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    The author of the post has a point, as does Olamide. I suppose most of us here had access to decent education, and a reasonable quality of life growing up, hence our dismay at the embarrassing manner In which these people portray Africa. Sometimes it seems like they’re bent on proving that Africa is all disease and disaster. On the other hand, it is really unfortunate that in 2013, people still die from easily preventable causes, there’s an absence of the most basic amenities. You have to provide everything for yourself: water, electricity, security… All because some people think that they alone have the right to live well.

  9. say what?

    August 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    ‘when I watched the documentary ‘This is Lagos’, aired by the BBC. This is Lagos, made it a point of duty, to show all the worst parts of Lagos, and somehow missed all the more civil looking parts of it. On their way to the slums of Lagos, did they not see Victoria Island? Did they not see Lekki? Whether this was a coincidence or not, we will never know’…………….I felt same when i watched the documentary but at the same time I was glad because it really opened my eyes…if you think Africa is not hungry you are delusional maybe not in resources but in our minds and laws. Yes some people are lucky to be well off but it is a few percentage, the majority are hungry. A continent riddled with the worst aspect of corruption, chauvinistic, lawless, selfish, infact ehn, we shall get there hopefully…….I agree with @TIKI… irks me that they group all countries together as one because you cannot compare Romania to Britain or Argentina to USA. The only thing I would agree with the writer is why dont they show South America, poor parts of Asia in the same light as Africa. it maybe they want to ridicule the black man? or is the African continent really poor compared to others?…

  10. Clover

    August 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I wholey disagree!

    Many black African countries are starving. The 1 % rich and 2 % middle class are not the norm. They have to show more of the dirt in Africa to shame those corrupt thieves governing us. Ole them who send their children abroad to educate them instead of building good schools at home. Ole them who travel abroad to hospitals instead of building good hospitals in their OWN country.

    Even if I didn’t grow up in poverty, I’m not joining you and other middle class members in ignoring the plight of the underprivileged people on our continent. I saw way too many children and women suffering on the way to school. Do you always close your eyes when traveling through Nigeria? Don’t you see little children hawking their market in the hot sun between traffic, don’t you hear of little girls being forced into marriage or widows being pushed out of their matrimonial homes just because their husbands died??? Where in UK do you have this madness that is now the norm in Nigeria? Students being gunned down by the police, Nepa issues, the majority without access to free and pure clean water, crime everywhere unless you pay the police to provide you with guards. Leki and VI are now the standard for normal Nigerians, I think not and I’m doing my best to make the world know of the injustice in my country.

    Keep batting your eyelashes at daddy to provide you with cash but please don’t try to force this vomit down our throats. I’m truly disgusted at this piece.

    • ileola

      August 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Clover – I don’t think anyone is denying the fact that many black Africans are dying – it’s just that it is not the whole story. That is what I think most people (and definitely what I am) trying to say. Only last week they on UK’s Crimewatch TV show was the real life story of a boy (ironically Nigerian) who was gunned down in his brother’s car at 8pm for doing absolutely nothing! He was not in a gang, he was inside his older brothers car and his brother was driving, it wasn’t late at night (8pm) and they had stopped to buy something from a store on their way home from the gym. Terrible story – but real life and it is sadly not a one off. Yesterday also on UK news, a child who was starved and beaten to death by his mother and her partner (both white, child white). What about the horrible tales of gun violence in Chicago in schools? I enjoyed and defended “Welcome to Lagos” to everyone. And I still do, but the constant drip feed of ‘starving Africans’ are not genuine – and I repeat the a lot of the money they raise does not benefit what they try and guilt-trip people on – money will be better spent on lobbying the western governments to stop politicians coming over to their hospitals to get treatment or disallow any children of government officials attend schools abroad.

    • Olamide

      August 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      I will never lose hope, as long as people like you are still alive. I think the celebrity culture and the reign of blogs have made us forget the real issues I think, and we are beginning to consume ourself with the images that we are bombard and assume that they are the norm. Bless you Clover, Bless you

    • Babe

      August 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Olamide I wish you would not be so opinionated and consider the other perspective on this issue. As Ileola said, that Africa is hungry is indisputable but when it becomes a one-sided story then there’s a problem. Permit me to ask, you rant about the poverty in Nigeria, have you ever thought of donating benches to the public school in your area? Well, that is if you actually live in Nigeria. Secondly, have you ever put your grievances into positive action by helping one of the poor children on your street? Before you tag me ‘one of the rich kids’, my mum is a civil servant and I don’t live in Lekki, but in our own little way, we help the poor around us. It may also interest you to know that some people who live in high brow areas of Lagos, Lekki and VI actually worked their muscles off to get that house in Lekki. Not everyone living in comfort stole their way up.

  11. festivalking

    August 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Sorry love but I beg to disagree.
    Africa IS VERY hungry … beautiful and blessed by nature with natural resources, but still Hungry!
    I know you mean well by this piece, trying to paint a prettier picture than the dark continent has. Still let it not be said that you are in some way trying to paint over the true picture of the many malnourished, fly infested children on this continental plate. They exist along with thousands of other gory images brought on by starvation.

  12. Lara

    August 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    It’s a good piece… let us wash our dirty linen at home. The West that is portraying this starving and desolate Africa, does not have Africa’s best interest at heart. In fact, their anti Africa policies help keep Africa in poverty.. Colonialism was not in the interest of Africa. What is the point in applauding the West for portraying Africa in such a one sided negative light? It just reinforces their racist beliefs that African are black baboons with lesser brains. I totally agree with the author… let the portrayal be a truthful one…. because showing poverty stricken Africans doesn’t benefit Africa anyway, it may benefit the salaries of the charity workers, and only creates more racial bias against Africans. I have lived in the US and Europe for many years… they have their share of social ills…. let them focus on that. Let us focus on ours!,

  13. Lala

    August 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I love this article!!! I quite understand where the commenters who do not like this article are coming from but on the whole, this article is wonderful. Like Chimamanda Adichie will always say, you don’t know you are black until you leave Africa. I’m currently studying in the US and I must say, the media portrayal of Africa is APPALLING!!!! and it makes me sick. There are tons of suffering people here but how many people see that side of US in Africa? Practically none!! Why would someone ask me if animals roam the street in Africa or if i live in a hut? It makes me sick!!! I’m not denying the fact that people are suffering. All I’m saying is there should be a fair share of both worlds. Sha!!! Nice article. I LOVE IT!! It’s says a whole lot..

    • Msunderstood

      August 2, 2013 at 4:59 am

      U havnt seen anything.some oyibos in my office were discussing d horrible heat of up to 35degrees this past week, I pitched in to say it was just too much. Only for one of turn to turn n say isn’t that what I’m used to, why am I complaining? Haba, so cos cold is in oyibo land, why dont u sef wear singlet in winter. Ode.
      A typical oyibo hasn’t left his country so all they c wen they c a black person is disease, hunger. I dress exceptionally well n den u see oyibos telling me” oh, I’m sure u’ve lived here all ur life cos of how u dress”-something in that line. My dear, no, I only moved here 2 years ago, I ve lived in Nigeria all my life. Or one my oyibo friends asking me how soon I can bring my parents here, like I told them they r suffering in naija. I told her my parents can never live here, mama is a successful iya oloja who’s has a driver n several helps, u should ve seen d shocked look on her face.
      I’m not saying don’t show d ugly part of Africa but at least let it b balanced. Another one will ask me how many lions we have in our compound. Such silly image they have abt Africa, very sad.

    • Olamide

      August 2, 2013 at 9:42 am

      and apart from your ego that is affected, how else does it affect you? Can you all see how shallow you sound. You are talking about you who have had the chance to go abroad being asked silly questions or spoken to in a derogatory manner. If you didn’t have the resources to school or travel abroad, will you be in the position where someone will ask you that? Can you see where I am coming from. Apart from your ego, ego which you have built from a comfortable lifestyle, how exactly is it affecting you, the image of Nigeria. Like my earlier comment, will an oyinbo man ask a little boy dying in Ajegunle how many lions are in his backyard? When we begin to look beyond ourselves and see the larger picture then you will realise and open your eyes that millions of people are suffering and it is that suffering we should focus on and not some yeye image which doesn’t count in the grand scheme of things. Let us focus on them and not the backlash we get from our peers when we live abroad. Na you carry your leg there because you can afford it, no one forced you to. People will always be ignorant, if you life run a broadcast on CNN of Lekki from now till 3050 people will still be ignorant. So instead of being aggreived because someone is talking to you anyhow, be aggrieved instead about the suffering your fellow Africans are going through and be grateful for the Grace that your case is different. It is totally shallow and selfish to be bothered about image because you and people in your socio economic bracket are being smeared.

    • Damsel

      August 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      If people like Olamide understands the impact of image, he/she won’t make the comment he/she just left below. It’s not about bruising personal egos my dear, it’s about belittling an entire continent. Please tell me you don’t live in Nigeria and let me just stop replying your comments, so I’ll know you’re one of those who fight Nigeria’s battle from arms length. In case you live in Nigeria and have never traveled outside your country, I pray you will have cause to one day and understand the point some people are making. Don’t forget that some people won Visa lottery and moved outside the country with funds put together by friends, so this is not a question of ‘they have enough money and the luxury to even travel’. The day people make demeaning comments to you and about your continent or treat you like an infidel because of what the media preaches to them, then you’ll rethink your argument and understand the point this writer is making.

    • Seriously?

      August 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      With all due respect Olamide you need to examine yourself. It appears all this hate is coming from a pained place. From my observation you have clearly never been discriminated against in your life. If you had then you will understand why image is important. Nobody is denying that there is poverty in Africa but that should not be the only story. There are too many ignorant people roaming the streets thinking they know what Africa is all about because they watched a TV commercial. I really dont understand what you have against people who have worked hard for their money i.e the ones that have not stolen and yet some how still manage to own homes in Lekki and VI. Some of these people even give back in anyway possible. What have you done to help this poverty stricken Africa that you support in the media. You seem like the type that will just sit in one corner and insult all the rich people in Nigeria without making a change in the lives or the poor people in your own little way. Please take a chill pill. Dont be so aggressive, stop hating on people who have made it (you don’t know how hard they had to work to get there) and try to make a difference in your own community rather than being an attacker on bella naija. Charity they say begins at home. Enough said.

    • Jeje

      August 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Where are those living in a bubble it dey pain dem for body about image. Where dem dey. Please watch the videos on this link
      and come back and talk rubbish again about Image. So, in your opinion such videos like this should not be shown, so that some ignorant oyinbo person in the comfort of your home or office abroad will not think all of you live like this. All your comments just come from a place of vanity and pride. I saw this video and I wanted to cry for the pain and suffering but at the same time I was so proud of the work that the charity is doing. THOSE ARE THE THINGS WE WANT TO SEE not proceeds of corruption in the fancy fancy areas of Nigeria. Let us see the poverty and hunger and things being done to affect THOSE PEOPLE SUFFERING to make their lives better. Lekki and VI DOES NOT affect those people suffering. It does not at all. Yes some got there through hard work and legal means, but how many please lets face facts. No beef or bad belle. Be honest with yourself how many compared to the vast inhabitants who are linked to corruption Those areas do not in any way represent Nigeria or Africa. It is like someone only showing Zanzibar and saying Tanzania is rich. I watched a programme yesterday about the Onchocerciasis problem in Tanzania and Uganda and how people in the affected areas are living. OMG what I saw there made me feel so selfish because I was in Zanzibar two years ago on a holiday and it did not even occur to me to see the country beyond the resort and fancy areas. All the money I spent there, I could have made a contribution to a charity and I felt bad about it. That is another danger of showcasing the good places. Zanzibar is not fully representative of Tanzania. More tanzanians are suffering beyond the glitz and glamour of Zanzibar. Those in support of good image have only pointed out how they are discriminated against because of the bad stories of Africa. Erm, you guys are from rich and middle class homes whether through hard work of your families o, or gains of corruption. The issue is it is mostly through a better state of finances that you are in a position where someone can ask you if you live in huts. You are far removed from the real issues. those affected by the real issues are not bothered about image. Africa is hungry and they should show more. If it will not shame the government into action, it will shame people like you and I to contribute more and give more of our time and resources. My friend spent a gap year building schools in Africa, an American that has never left the US before. How many of us Africans who live abroad can do that or even the ones who live comfortably in Africa sef. Honestly the documentaries I’ve watched this past few weeks have struck a chord in me and I really want to do something. If those images were not shown I would have continued my life not being moved to give back. So today I urge us all to get up and do something and stop being pained about the image they show. Watch that video and if it does not touch you and all you think of is image, look at the man in the mirror. I don’t know this Olamide person but someone that passionate must be doing something to give back. No need to be asking. Not all charity work is publicised. Rather than ask stupid questions, you ask yourself what you are doing to give back to charity

  14. Hurperyermie

    August 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    hmmmmmmmm as for me africa is hungry why lie to ourselves when we know the truth why don’t we shame this stupid people up there doing nothing than embezzling money so that they can start something that is why we have a lot of young thieves and political thugs everywhere infact africa is hungry

  15. chydee

    August 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you Olamide! Dear writer, Africa IS HUNGRY!

  16. ileola

    August 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Not everyone who is living or has lived/schooled outside of Nigeria necessarily had a daddy they could batter their eyes at and get what they wanted. Some people grew up with next to nothing and are where they are through the grace of God and a lot of handwork and a lot of ‘suffament’, having to hawk goods at a young age and continue hawking and selling throughout university education. So not everyone had it easy or cushy. Some people do and did, yes I admit but it is not the same story for everyone. Which I guess is why no one side is correct in my opinion, each side has a right to say what they need to say and each side has their point – but to condemn the other side totally is actually agreeing to what you are trying so hard to NOT defend

  17. eghe

    August 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Chiamaka go back to Nigeria please
    That your country is worse……by the day, Nigeria is becoming something else, that’s same Lagos you see on BBC, was where they killed 2boys on broad day light with the police watching, so my dear, BBC news even tried for us.
    Moreover, make sure you do your research proper before you post because I’m disgusted by this non sensible statement, you make me sick, I leave here in the United kingdom, and I’m scared to go back home.

  18. Toyinfabs

    August 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    We all know Africa has lots of issues but it is quite sickening how the WEST chooses to show only the ugly part. They derive an almost orgasmic pleasure from seeing the ugly,hungry children of Africa so much so that this is what they also look for in our literature. If you cannot write about sick,hungry children, pot holes, thatched houses, men and women wearing leopard skins with several teeth missing, you would never make it as an African writer. Yes, Africa has issues, but have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to know when an advert is about Africa, have you always wondered why all we see are women in wrappers with pots of water on their head, hungry children tied to their back, walking through a desolate path to a mud house where a hungry looking man with a dirty hat is waiting? Does it not annoy you that they deliberately ignore the positive aspects? I know it annoys me that the stories that sell and become popular in the west are those that depict us as barbarians? I saw a UNICEF advert on CNN today and it pissed me off. I am not denying that we have issues but I believe they (the WEST) need to get off their hypocritical high Horses and stop pretending they have our best interests at heart.

  19. Myne Whitman

    August 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Africa is hungry, please open your eyes people. We can sit in our abroad homes or air-conditioned middle class homes in Nigeria and pretend, we’re less than 5%. Nigeria may be among the wealthy contries in Africa, yet up to 80% of the population live in poverty. Who are we fooling with articles like these? There is no single story, sure, but let’s be realistic. Hunger is in the land. And people are angry, do you even read the papers? Boko Haram, Mob Killings, School Strikes and riots, armed robbery, death trap roads, and more. Terrible!

  20. slice

    August 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I would say I think the western media is equal opportunity when it comes to showing the bad side of a place. Bad news travels fast and bad news sells. Americans accuse cnn and co of always focusing days on bad events…whether its a plane crash, violent deaths, poverty, dying animals etc. That’s just the business of news. I don’t think they r necessarily trying to show africa in particular in bad light, I think they r just trying to make their money. For example, ask many people about india and they’ll probably tell u not to go because indian men rape women and that’s bc cnn and co have spent months talking about two public rapes there. Ask about nigeria and u’ll hear 419…yet how many nigerians do it. Ask about america and you’ll hear racism, yet how many americans are actually racist. All to say, they r not telling these stories to be evil, they just want to make money….at least most of em

  21. pynk

    August 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Africa is hungry, however it CAN FEED ITSELF!

  22. Jo!

    August 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    PULEEAAAZZ Africa is hungry abeg, just accept

  23. Banke

    August 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Olamide ehn, I will ask my grandma to pray for you in Yoruba. Honestly English will not cover how much you need to be prayed for. BN comments like this should inspire you guys to post articles along these lines. Echoing what Olamide said I also agree that the era of blogging and celebrity culture is making us desensitised to the issues at hand. The largese and opulence we are seeing is conditioning our minds to not see the ills and suffering in our society. We are almost forgetting that the majority of us live below the breadline. That right there is the problem with showing only the good parts Chiamaka. Blogosphere which is the strongest media platform in 9ja does NOT show the bad parts. All the show is the good, so leave CNN and BBC do our work for us please. We are all ogling pictures myself included while Rome is burning. It is until the rubbish gets to our doorstep before we realise that we have been trifling with our time and resources whilst the people affected are getting angrier and angrier by the day until they get to a flashpoint, and that flashpoint is coming. It is definitely coming. Instead of companies spending money on more social responsibility initiatives they are there signing celebs. What have these telecommunication companies and the likes done to give back to society and not just a select few celebs, over half of which have no real discerning talent. You may say you live abroad but when trouble comes it will affect you because you still have friends and family who live there. Africa is hungry, Nigeria is basically starving. Chiamaka should have ben brave enough to fill out her last name in full. We go know whether no be some tif tif pickin she be. Oshico. Olamide I hope you are female o because this kind of reasoning just sounds like a correct woman. Oya over to you because I want all we women to famz you.


    August 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Very well said. However the continent needs a lot of help and prayer.


    August 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    plz you dont have to go far to see hunger! people just choose to ignore it! i went to a private school where kids went abroad every time we got vacation but once we left the gates of school we saw kids our age hawking orange! plz dont be naive!

  26. Tee

    August 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    A lot of sense has been made, but if you think the portrayal of the single story would cause our politicians to wake up, then you’re on a long thing. I don’t even know if they are capable of shame.

    I will tell you why the single story is equally as bad. The picture of Africa being hungry would chase potential investors away, and it would also chase a lot of Africans who have never been here away. Did you read Tope Folarin’s “Miracle”. One of the miracles is that he was lucky to live in poverty in America, than to live in Africa. That many people in nigeria are dying for that position. I believe the reason he said that was because he has never been to Nigeria, and the only thing he has to tell him of the country is what the media po trays. So even if he wants to help Africa for instance, he would rather do it from a distance than come the jungle of africa and live in a hut, after being used to the marvels of civilisation.

    But I believe it is way worse to live in any country in poverty aside yours. I read his story, everything he went through. Read it up and you’d see its not so different from what poor people over here face. So, how is it better? But he’s probably never coming back, because he believes it’s worse. It’s the same with investors. When all they have is a picture of people living in huts, do you think they’d see any opportunity. All they see is people who live in huts, with no electricity. And that’s why we cannot keep showing the single story. It keeps development away.

    I also used to think the portrayal was okay, it would make our politicians ashamed I thought, but years passed and I realised it wasn’t doing any of that.

    Yes Africa is starving, but it is also habitable. Yes Africa is starving, but its not a place of animals in human skin living miles away from civilisation. We have hard working citizen striving to develop it in their own little way, irrespective of having no help from the government.

    • Tee

      August 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Forgive my calling it him. Of course it was the character in his short story.

    • Lizzie

      August 2, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Thank you!

  27. Changing Faces

    August 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Nnem, this your write up perfectly sums up the attitude of the average Nigerian! Suffering, smiling and hoping. Hoping that one day e go better, while you stay ignorant in your bubble. Since your Africa is not hungry, why did you go to study in England? You should have stayed here, batting your eyelashes at dadddy while insisting on going to unilag… Or how many westerners have you seen studying in your rich Africa? This is Lagos clearly depicts how majority of Nigerians live. Im ashamed to admit that if the BBC had not done that exposé, I may have been sitting beside you in your bubble. I live in Nigeria but it took a foreign media house to show us the side of Lagos we coud never imagine. Let NTA go and research and find the hungry people in London, so Chiamaka and her friends will be happy.

    BN, please try to properly spare us these unresearched and shallow feel good articles, let’s face our truth!

    Thanks Olamide… Do you work for a charity, or do any sort of people oriented service? I’d like to be a part of it. Also can anyone suggest credible charities in Lagos someone can volunteer for?

  28. Damsel

    August 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Olamide let me also add, I believe you didn’t read this Article in-depth. You probably focused on the caption and glanced through the content. This is how people fail exams o! Did you read this part at all? “Africa might not be running the race of development as quickly as other continents. Africa might be taking baby steps towards development, but it is MOVING FORWARD. I am not appealing to the media to perpetually paint a beautiful picture of Africa, but they should be fair in their assessment.”
    You should not just lash the ‘Chiamaka’s’ write up like it made no sense and the other commenters in your ilk who just followed your bandwagon, please read well next time. The ‘Chiamaka’ is not advocating that only the beautiful parts of Africa should be shown, he/she simply said, make a fair analysis. An imbalanced analysis will always be faulted and stands incredible. An intellectual understands that your criticism must be balanced, you don’t merely raise the ugly and ignore the beautiful. Your argument will lose credibility. Finally, why are people focusing on Nigeria like Nigeria is synonymous with Africa? Please o! We have other countries in Africa, don’t rub Nigerian problems on all of Africa. Have you heard of Angola? Mozambique? South Africa?. If the writer had said ‘Nigeria is not hungry’, maybe I would have completely disagreed with her.

    • jcsgrl

      August 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Excuse me Damsel you’re the one that doesn’t read properly. For the sake of copying and pasting Chiamaka’s words, she started off saying that the Africa she grew up in is not hungry. That she had more than enough growing up and the people around her were doing well. Infact a statement below, “Growing up in Nigeria, with fairly comfortable parents, my life was pretty fine. I got all my basic necessities and probably a little more, if I batted my eyelashes long enough at my father. But I wasn’t oblivious to the suffering of the poor and the needy, or so I thought. I saw the occasional beggar on the street & a fair amount of homeless people. But in my head, Africa was doing pretty well for itself.” All her perception is in her head was not backed up with research and facts. She now chastises BBC and co for not showing the so called part of Lagos that was doing well. Olamide and his bandwagon’s argument is to refute the fact that Africa is indeed hungry. Statistics prove it. We might be making baby or giant steps in development, but we still po! Until the baby steps changes statistics, fact remains the same. A hungry man who got dashed 2nd hand clothes is still a hungry man just that he’s dressed better.

    • IDG

      August 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      How is Africa moving forward?The same issue Fela was singing about 30 years ago, we are still talking about it!Moving forward my a**

  29. IDG

    August 1, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I disagree with this writer.Africa is a failed continent and we are hungry!What was portrayed in the “welcome to lagos” documentary was just a tip of the iceberg. Forget people like the writers that live in a bubble, most Africans live in abject poverty. We come on bella naija and see pictures of fashion shows, nice houses, elegant wedding but only a few Africans actually enjoy such luxuries. It seems like we care more about how we are portrayed than the issues we really have. Africa is a dying continent with corrupt leaders and complacent followers.

  30. Warren

    August 2, 2013 at 6:12 am

    As someone in the aid and relief field of work, i can tell you that majority of Africa is indeed hungry. I am not denying the fact that the media are indeed more often than not, biased in their portrayal of Africa. People from the west rarely get to see the more affluent parts of the continent; but that’s not the point. True , there are beautiful houses and estates in the Lekki and V.I. neighborhoods. But what proportion of Lagos do these constitute? Having a few wealthy people does not take away the fact that majority of the people can barely meet their basic needs. Take your time and travel through the continent and you will see that there is a huge amount of people whose idea of luxury would be bread and pure water. Africa is indeed hungry, but she shouldn’t be. She is very much self-sufficient. She’s be a giant had it not been for the poor decisions made by her policy makers coupled with the embezzlement of public funds by the government officials. Until remedies for societal ills such as the above are found, your Africa, my Africa, our Africa will remain hungry- sadly. What Africa needs to do is stand for herself and stop accepting the role of the last child of the family.

  31. UnitedStatesfoAfrica

    August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Hungry, how now? I agree to disagree

  32. UnitedStatesofAfrica

    August 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    beg your pardon

  33. Tunmi

    August 6, 2013 at 3:22 am

    When will BN have an article that represents the majority of Nigerians?

  34. Toyin

    August 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm


    High five. Your opinion and mindset is what many Nigerians are allergic to bcos they hate the truth. Nigerian’s biggest problem is, DENIAL. Look at how some people are attacking you and saying things like, “Abeg, no vex” or you need prayers. It’s an indirect way of saying, don’t be realistic, lets all live in the bubble and denial that our parent and many others are still living in. That mindset is what applies to blacks around the world, and that’s the reason Africans/Black people are the least developed.We will rather sit on butt and think another person is the solution to our problem. And, that’s simply SELFISHNESS AND STUPIDITY. Or is it bcos we see ourselves as incompetent of using our God given brain to develop ourselves. It’s quite disturbing. I’m yet to connect how 2% living comfortable in Nigeria applies to the majority. Showcasing big houses, big cars is not equivalent to economic growth or development as a whole. Development to Nigerians is, showing bright colorful unnecessary huge houses, buying expensive cars not a successful protest against corruption where the government is held responsible. Not a protest for employment opportunities. Nigerians, use your common sense to differentiate the poverty level between the West and the whole of Africa. There are basic necessities in America, compared to a necessity to have a generator to provide electricity. Only the rich and above average can afford a generator. Living in a big house in Lekki or VI, driving a car on a poor road, dilapitated roads, building high fences for protection due to lack of security, a big house in the midst of 10huts does not show PROGRESS. But, when you drive by with your driver next to some kids begging for money or food, you give yourself a pat on the shoulder, I’m doing better. That’s just nonsense. The same lekki and VI that these ignorant Nigerians want to be flaunting and boasting about was developed by the West. Most houses, businesses in these areas are owned or run by foreigners and high class Nigerians who are somewhat connected to the government. The West will continue to show the poverty stricken country until Nigerians stop displaying backward thinking of flaunting, showing off as the solution. If your Africa is not poor, then why are u guys waiting for years for visas just to go study or work abroad. Why don’t you stay in your so called, “rich continent or country”. To show the west that Africa is beyond the poverty, develop your infrastructures, security, health and school system. Let the average Nigerian have access to basic necessity, let there be job opportunities, let the money and wealth not just be recycling within the same circle or family. Now, you can write a whole essay to prove and show the improvement and reasons why your Africa is not poor. The West are very much aware of the houses in Lekki or VI, they are just not aware of Africans using their brain to come up with solution to develop their continent or country full of natural resources yet the poorest instead of pointing fingers, blaming or showing. Respect yourself first, before you demand other to respect you. In order to stop a negative image portrayed about you, it starts from you.

  35. Sexy mama

    August 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Bella hot topic ,i feel so bad am still in my office at 7:47 pm reading this, we live in so much self denial, we look at all the celebrity fronting and call it progress SMH when we know that majority of our so called female celebrities are Whore in disguise , Bella Quote me anywhere you cannot make genuine wealth in Nigeria, at every point you must give BRIBE either willingly or not i work in a firm where i personally transfer millions of Naira and Euro as bribe and what do i get as my monthly salary 50K total package
    Life is tough in Nigeria for you to get a decent place in the F.C.T you have to pay Minimum half a million now times my salary by 12 months what do i get as my feeding and you come and Tell me Africa is not hungry in fact Africa is more than hungry, Nigeria is starved
    am about getting married and i feel so bad cos about to have kids which i worry for their future , i don’t want the experiences i have my kids should go through them. my husband to be graduated with first class but he tried getting a job no way he sold his land , we raised some money and he started a bakery
    now what about those people that don’t have money to start up Business
    Bella i will continue on Monday Travelling from Abuja to onitsha to buy my cheap wedding souvenirs see you soon
    Since we no get money to go newyork and to flaunt Vera Wang wedding gown lol

  36. Mo'chanya

    November 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Ok so, I am not rich, in fact i’m broke as I type this, the government has failed to spoon feed us, every thing is wrong, infact nepa just “took lite” and i’m pissed off, the roads make me laugh, but that’s besides the point, I think olamide has serious issues, he needs to chill, he can attack a person’s view, but leave that person outside the range of his shots. That said, I think africa is messed up, I think we can do better. but to be sincere, i’ve travelled far, but not wide and I haven’t seen these starving children white media keeps buzzing about, i’ve seen poor people who can’t afford 900 naira pta levy but they ain’t hungry, I saw a beggar the other day counting his cash and I almost went to beg him… i’ve watched so many adverts on starving children, I had to go around asking if I didn’t grow up in africa. Ok, let’s assume that I am also in my bubble of ignorance and 90 percent of Africans are starving, were they starving before the white men came? how come all of a sudden the african man can’t farm to provide for his family? The african man can’t dig a well, so complains he’s thirst and believes the true color of water is brown, and is overtaken by too many diseases, why does the african man no longer believe in herbs…and pls I have to digress a bit ” where the f..k did ebola come from? now it’s a disease wit an african label…would it be too much to ask that I watch my TV in peace, of course with my generator on, and not have to see white people tell me african is hungry or starving… if you guys care so much don’t just talk, do something, and when you find where the starving children are, those ones wit flies buzzing around them, with thin legs and bulging stomachs, with one more day to live, let me know, I have enough food to share round (even though i’m broke), you can find me in the food basket of nigeria, yeah, you guessed right, benue state. peace to all my brown brothers and sister. (nepa still never bring the light fa, there is God!)

  37. Jude

    June 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I have read your article and gone through a slew of comments. Clearly, this is an issue that touches a whole lot of people in many ways. It appears most of the people who commented are Nigerians with disparate views of the nub of the matter so let’s drive the point home-that is, leave out other parts of Africa and focus on Nigeria. I am sure the writer knows that 50% of states in Africa’s largest economy are indebted to workers-( yet most of them earn a paltry N18K/Month). For lovers of statistics, Nigeria is rated sixth largest producer of crude oil, 8th largest exporter of crude oil and yet has the 10th largest oil reserves. That is not all: Nigeria has one of the highest growth rate of about 7.4% and in two years-that is from 2009-2011, earned a total of $143.5B as revenue on oil and gas alone. But what does this monolithic crude oil sales record amount to when about 100 million of its citizens live on less than $1 a day, with external debts soaring to about $66B, inflation (as at July 2014) is 8.3% and import/export ratio stands at 97:3 according to National Bureau of Statistics?
    Obviously, your terms of reference is diametrically opposed to that of the majority of Nigerians. Here is the bottom line: the foreign press may not have told the whole sad story; but the untold part is negligible.

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