If you haven’t already watched, here’s a video of comedian, Trevor Noah drawing comparisons between African presidents and US Republican candidate hopeful, Donald Trump. The comedian who recently became the host of popular US political comedy show, The Daily Show, compares Trump to South Africa’s President Zuma, Our own president Robert Mugabe, former Ugandan despot Idi Amin and the controversial late Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi.
While, the internet has predictably found this funny and worth of praise for the South African comedian, some do not agree, pointing out that such jokes are unhelpful.
… in my opinion he overstepped the mark when he generalized all the negative aspects of these leaders and defined them as “African characteristics”.
This is problematic as it reinforces stereotypes about Africa and its leaders which are neither unique to Africa nor generally characteristic of African leaders. This continent is full of examples of leaders who have fought injustice, who have stood for what is right and who have been exemplary as leaders – the shocking comments and actions of these few leaders does not define African leadership.
Similarly you do not need to look far to see that all over the world there are many examples of despotic leadership and so this type of leadership can never be classified as being uniquely African. Noah would do well to look back just a few years to some of the comments and actions of former US commanders-in-chiefs, whose legacy of despotic leadership has left the whole world less safe.