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How to Write About Africa

This sharp-witted essay takes irony to a new level. In How to Write About Africa, Binyavanga Wainaina dissects the African cliches and preconceptions dear to western writers and readers with a ruthless precision. Clever, humurous, and true. Illuminates the many cliches throughout western media’s portrayal of Africa. Namely, that we can sum up these generalities cast blatantly at an entire continent. A must read for anyone who has experienced Africa and/or the literature about it.

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“Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the ‘real Africa’, and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.”