Here’s what’s wrong with voluntourism in Africa

In 2012, a spoof music video calling on Africans to donate radiators to Norway as part of a charity drive went viral on social media and made headlines across the world. The campaign, created by the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) on a small budget, aimed to challenge the stereotypes people have of Africa and create a new conversation about the global south.

A few days ago, the SAIH released a second video that’s bound to draw as much attention as the first did. Who Wants To Be A Volunteer? is a provocative and hilarious take on voluntourism in Africa and the well-known stereotypes of the “white hero” and “exotic other”. It’s already received over 90 000 views since being posted on YouTube on November 7. Part of the video mimics a reality TV show: think Western aid workers competing to come ‘to Africa’ to save us all, without having a clue about the continent. Go on, watch it.



  1. Bibette van Zyl says:

    While very funny and a bit tongue in the cheek, it is a fact that these tourists actually makes a difference. As a long time expat in Africa, I have seen young people in conjunction with charities and international schools build libraries (fully stocked), bridges over flooding rivers, making sanitary pads for girls who cannot afford the real thing and therefor miss school several days each month. I have seen them brighten rows and rows of tiny orphans’ days by just playing and loving them as the staff just simply do not have time for personal interaction. Corporate (ot African but foreign) and private donations to overcrowded schools have afforded more teachers and a warm meal. Some kids really only come to school for that ONE meal. A lot of Africans live on a dollar or less a day. Many kids are raised by grandparents or siblings and making light of a little help is really not the way to go. And to pretend that Africa is not asking for help is also not true, Why has South Africa (which does not really fall in the same catagory as the rest) and other African countries recently held out a begging hand for aid money.

    • Corinne Johnson says:

      Sadly,what you describe is the aftermath of colonialism; the corruption of Africa by Western ideals. If Africa was left to the Africans then Africa may have been better off.

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