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Heeding Obianuju Ekeocha’s warning about Western elitism

Nigerian biomedical scientist and pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha first made headlines when she penned an open letter to Melinda Gates, cautioning her not to impose her markedly Western understanding of women’s liberation onto African countries. The Gates Foundation’s funding of reproductive health efforts in Africa, claimed Ekeocha, ultimately aims to “replace the legacy of an African woman (which is her child) with the legacy of ‘child-free sex.’”

She garnered further attention on BBC World News when she debated a reporter who claimed that the distribution of contraception in Africa would alleviate poverty and provide Africans access to what they need. “According to whom?” fired back Ekeocha. “These are colonial thoughts, so you better be careful with how you express yourself. It’s kind and generous people like yourself from the West who come tell [Africans] that what they need is contraception. So you give them contraception, and the next year they still don’t have an education, they still don’t have work. Westerners don’t ask Africans what they actually want.”

Her 2018 book Target Africa draws from “a broad array of well-sourced materials and documents,” telling “the story of foreign aid with strings attached, the story of Africa targeted and recolonized by wealthy, powerful donors.” Strings Attached, a documentary she produced last year, further exposes the neocolonialist threat imposed by Western corporations and NGOs onto African nations.

Ekeocha is an anomaly in today’s cultural landscape. Her pro-Africa, pro-woman, and pro-life rhetoric doesn’t exactly fit well in ideological boxes. This is due in part to the nature of the lines demarcating the factions in today’s “culture war.”

Many align themselves either with proponents for or reactionaries against ideals rooted in postmodern critical theory. Social justice warriors aim to subvert structures of power that have historically disadvantaged oppressed and underprivileged communities. And populists are wary of elites encroaching upon their established lifestyles and values. One tends to to carry out its goals with little regard for first principles, while the other does so with little regard for how the status quo has engendered unjust and inhumane conditions for the most marginalized.

Read more at Catholic World Report

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