feature: stop victimizing africa! the message behind new documentary ‘framed’

August 22, 2014

Celebrities are always looking for a cause to boost their humanitarian and philanthropic personas and over the past few years, Africa has become that cause. The same celebrities we see on the front of US and People magazine are the individuals slumming it in villages. And it’s not only them. The West as a whole has decidedly taken Africa under its wing and has made it the perfect place for a nationwide empathy movement. Creators of the documentary “Framed” want to make it very clear: Africa is not the West’s victim to be saved.

Words by Cook TP, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Documentarians Cassandra Herman and Kathryn Mathers dig deep into the discussion of why Africa has become a “trendy” cause to get into. The filmmakers follow Africans and look to answer the question as to why the West invests in hashtag campaigns and online petitions for issues overseas rather than focusing on struggles we are dealing with nationally.

On their Kickstarter page, explained: “Images reach us faster today than ever: through Facebook, Twitter, ‘volunteerism’ dispatches, and branded social causes. Our response to the images we see of Africans makes us feel like good, caring people who can make a difference. We want this film to speak to that sincere intention, by taking a second look at the framing of Africa in crisis, and listening to African experiences and perspectives; to explore how our “saving” ultimately undermines the agency and self-determination of Africans, and how we might be complicit in creating the same inequalities we hope to erase.”

The recently released trailer highlights hashtag campaigns #KONY2012 and #BringBackOurGirls and how these campaigns are created with good intentions, but usually turn out to be more crippling than helpful. South African born educator Zine Magubane explains in the film that these tactics of awareness merely create a savior/victim relationship instead of allowing Africa to build on its own foundation.

‘Framed’ hopes to uncover the reasoning behind America’s deep seeded hero complex and to bring awareness to issues we suffer from nationally and locally first such as poverty, mass incarceration, and police brutality. Kenyan image change Boniface Mwangi makes a statement in the film that sums up the concept of America’s overseas humanitarianism, and that is “Africa doesn’t need a savior, America needs a savior”. If you would like to donate or get involved with the film in anyway, visit the website

* CookTP
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