“How to Write about Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina was published in 2006 in the British media Granta Magazine.
The essay is not in reply to a particular event but rather to Western literature and media using negative stereotypes to portray African countries and people. The idea that racism is still present in Africa and representations of Africa is conveyed in the opening lines of the essay: “Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.”
Binyavanga Wainaina gives various examples showing which circumstances and events in Africa literature and media focus on. These examples typically show the Western focus on violence, corruption, poverty, and diseases in Africa.
The references to “Ebola fever” or “that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War” are relevant for certain African countries that are struggling with war and diseases.
On many occasions, Wainaina mentions violent images that Western media a...