The ethics of aid

A lot of people arrive in Africa to assume that it’s a blank empty space and their goodwill and desire and guilt will fix it. And that to me is not any different from the first people who arrived and colonized us. This power, this power to help, is just about as dangerous as hard power, because very often it arrives with a kind of zeal that is assuming ‘I will do it. I will solve it for you. I will fix it for you,’ and it rides roughshod over your own best efforts.

That is Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina speaking to Krista Tippett on the Ethics of Aid. The podcast–one of the best I’ve heard all year–is here. Transcript here.

Wainaina edits the African literary journal Kwani? and penned the now infamous essay, How to Write About Africa-.

2 thoughts on “The ethics of aid

  1. Thank you for the kind words about the production. Mr. Wainaina is a fresh, bold voice who gave our audiences and the production staff a challenging, alternative perspective on how to think about helping others and international development. This show is the first one in a series exploring many ideas and voices. Cheers!
    Trent (online editor for SOF)