STEVEN FRIEDMAN: Africa is our home and not a mere convenient symbol
Africa is always a word used to make a point, not a home whose experiences affect us
Is Africa the continent on which we live or a word we use to win arguments? Last Friday was Africa Day. Much of the media marked the event, and the president issued a statement. However, while the people who shape opinion seemed to think the rest of the continent was worth a mention, the day was ignored in political discussion. A personal story illustrates the point. I was invited to talk at an event on Friday organised by a bank. The organisers deliberately held it on Africa Day and asked speakers to talk about politics and economics across the continent, which we did. During a lively question and answer session, not a single person asked anything about the continent. No one, it seemed, shared the bank’s enthusiasm for talking about Africa. Interest in Africa is patchy among opinion formers. In the media, interest in Africa Day did not stretch to a serious attempt to look at trends on the continent.The rest of the year, Africa is a political and economic side story; some British me...