One of the things that the disability movement has done successfully in the UK and in many other countries has been to put an end to the patronising, paternalistic approach that presents them as victims and objects of pity. On one disability rights website, I came across the wonderful slogan ‘Never about us Without us’. That should be the rallying cry of the African mobilisation for the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP- Africa) that was launched recently at a meeting attended by representatives of some one hundred organisations from 25 African countries.
Plans for mass mobilisations, concerts in African countries, television and radio programmes are well on the way across the continent, conceived of and organised by Africans for Africa. Would the Geldofs and Comic Reliefs of this world have launched a call for mass mobilisation about disability without the involvement of the disability movements? So how come they can do this in relation to Africa? What is it about us that allows these folk to behave so? For how much longer can we allow Northern development agencies and charities to portray us either in the form of ‘development pornography’, to use Rotimi Sankore’s words (see the Pambazuka News article at or as mere bit-players, extras on the film sets of their fundraising operations? African diaspora organisations and other black organisations in the UK have already protested about the virtually all white line up of artists selected for the Geldof roadshow. Isn’t it time that we added our voice of protest to demand: NEVER ABOUT US WITHOUT US!