Raucous Royal

Raucous Royal

What do Africans think about the Harry and Meghan interview? Watch South Africa’s Josh Pieters’ You Tube with four prominent media experts on the royal family who critiqued the interview, as if it happened, before it happened. Click here to enjoy then…

Realize that comedic relief from really horrible situations is an underprivileged people’s art form. Laughing is common when there’s no confusion about the situation, no equivocation on its wrongness.

The British empire gave Britain the fortune if grandeur that it has today, but at the expense of so much of the rest of the world. It’s lesser but still true of the Dutch, the French, the Belgians and Spaniards and Portuguese and Germans, and then in a childishly unfortunate way, the Americans and Chinese in more modern times.

Fortunately, we are beyond the academic struggle to understand if empire building – as oppressive and unjust as it was to its lowest subjects – was intrinsic to modern development. Whether it was or wasn’t matters less than our current realization that restitution is necessary.

Can’t change the past. But you can most certainly effect the future.

African media tried to ignore the interview. “We’ve had enough TV sitcoms about privilege,” one Kenyan friend told me. “It’s not funny, anymore.”

So instead of direct reporting, African media carried lots of critical global reports:

“Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview shows how royal family’s racism lingers” was the headline that South Africa’s IOL wrote above a Washington Post dispatch. Eyewitness News edited an AFP dispatch to emphasize the racism of the Royal Family.

Direct reporting was more cutting of the dying empire, focusing on actual news instead of gossip:

“The Queen of England’s friend, Sheikh Mohammed — the repressive, billionaire ruler of Dubai who is holding his daughters, Latifa and Shamsa, hostage — has been allowed by the UK authorities to become the kingpin of Britain’s massive, world-renowned horse racing industry. For how much longer can that industry remain silent on its benefactor’s crimes?”

Forget the glitz. Get to the pain.

Oprah companies, however, are making every penny they can peddling the full interview to the highest bidder in every African country they remember exists.

A Kenyan reporter decided rather than focusing on what the interview said to focus on how much richer the interview made Oprah:

Joel Muinde of K24 News reported to Kenyans that Oprah earned about $4 million/hour interviewing the couple, and that CBS as the broadcaster charged $325,000 for each 30-second commercial.

These are staggering figures to virtually anyone in the developing world.

So while the overall consensus in Africa was to shrug one’s shoulders with a “So What’s New?” facial expression, there is a scathing serious aspect to all of this.

One that can’t be remedied by a globally produced apology. How about giving up a few of your vaccines for the kids in Kibera?