Africa: helping American stars feel better since 1884

2013-10-20 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Christina Aguilera, the ambassador for the World Food Programme (WFP), recently went to “war-torn Rwanda”, People Magazine tells us. Well, thankfully, she made it back home safely.

I’m not sure exactly which war People Magazine is referring to – last time I checked, the civil war in Rwanda ended 20 years ago.

Also, Rwanda is an entire country. Where in Rwanda was Aguilera?

The song the children are singing in the video of her trip is, of course, inaudible but Aguilera’s is crystal clear.

Her Light Up The Sky forms the background to the video. Interestingly, one word from the kids’ song in Kinyarwanda is clear: “tuzarwubaka”, meaning “we will build it (the country)”.

This would seem to indicate that meaningless charity is not what they have in mind but rather that they are actively engaged. Of course, this is lost to all the non-Kinyarwanda speakers.

After insisting that “the people of Rwanda?...?are in a place that needs our help”, Aguilera says: “This trip came at a time when I needed to step away and connect with bigger issues in the world.”

Africa: helping white people who are a wee bit down-in-the-dumps feel better since 1884.

Even if we were to accept this blatant fallacy that Rwanda is a “war-torn” place, what kinds of superpowers do Aguilera and the WFP have to make them think they alone could change such a situation?

War and poverty are the result of larger structural inequalities, part of larger historical and political circumstances that no individual can resolve.

And certainly not Hollywood-style celebrities à la Ms Aguilera. Stick to your various professions, thank you very much.

Also, the participating “restaurants” to help world hunger in partnership with the WFP are KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Seriously, junk food outlets helping end “world hunger”? This partnership couldn’t be more ironic.

The video ends with Aguilera singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to a group of children.

One among them is singing along and Aguilera seems a bit surprised. Too unfathomable that children of “war-torn Rwanda” might know an English nursery rhyme?

Welcome to the 21st century, Ms Aguilera!

»?This column first appeared on the blog Africa is a Country (

»?Nsabimana is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Columbia University

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.