Celebrities For Africa—Really?

Meghan Reid June 15, 2011

There are so many celebrities that support causes, charitable organizations, or non-profits dedicated to helping Africa.

Whether it's to fight hunger, AIDS, poverty, education, to provide clean water, or support other issues, these celebrities try to contribute to the continent in one way or another. But with so much money and "effort" being poured into Africa, one has to wonder which celebrities are actually helping, and which are just doing it for show.

Celebrities like Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Bill Gates, and Madonna have organizations for Africa, but which ones really care? Let's take a deeper look into some celebrities and their activities to try to weed out the insincere ones.

Celebrities For Africa—Really?Back in 2007, Oprah Winfrey opened a school for young girls in South Africa, grades 7-12. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls focuses on several subject areas, such as design and information technology, business, sciences, English, social sciences , and math. The school provides a safe environment for young girls to excel to become the next great leaders of South Africa.

The curriculum is structured to create leaders that can perform well in all areas through learning inside and outside the classroom. Each grade level participates in "Grade Camps," where students participate in trips across South Africa to learn about the history of the particular area and to focus on personal, teamwork and leadership development.

Although Oprah's school was under investigation due to sexual abuse by a dormitory matron, she had the dorm matrons removed and hired private detectives. She never shied away from the issue. Oprah is a celebrity that is truly committed to helping the African continent through education. Her school is a testament to her strong dedication to Africa's success.

Celebrities For Africa—Really?Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has been very active in the campaign to eradicate polio from the world. This cause has made him very active in Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the last countries still fighting to get rid of polio.

Gates has been working with organizations such as UNICEF, CDC, and WHO to help with the transmission of the polio vaccine globally.

There has been great progress, but there is still much work to be done. Gates has been very proactive in the fight against polio through funding and vocalizing his cause. His efforts seem to be done done wholeheartedly.

Madonna, singer, has been interested in "helping" Malawi by adopting two children and trying to open a school for young girls. She has had a hard time getting the school off the ground, due to financial mismanagement.

“Despite $3.8 million having been spent by the previous management team, the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, over all, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States,” Trevor Neilson, a philanthropic adviser hired by Madonna, told the New York Times.

“We have yet to determine exactly what happened to all of that $3.8 million. We have not accounted for all the funds that were used.”
Madonna seems to be another celebrity interested in the social praise of ‘helping Africa,’ instead of being dedicated to the true work that it entails. Her idea of a school for young girls seems to be very lavish, instead of sticking to the things that really matter: Issues like the title for the land, fair contractors, and teachers that care about the students, not overpriced architects and employee perks.

Celebrities For Africa—Really?George Clooney has been a voice for the refugees of Darfur, Sudan. He has brought a lot of attention to the civil war in Sudan, and advocates for the international community to get involved with the humanitarian effort. Clooney, along with other celebrities, such as Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Brad Pitt have created "Not On Our Watch," which has a mission to "…focus global attention and resources towards putting an end to mass atrocities around the world."

Clooney has stood before the UN and spoken about the victims he met in Darfur. He’s told their stories to push for action. Clooney seems to be a celebrity who is very passionate about helping the Sudanese people.

Celebrities For Africa—Really?Actress, Angelina Jolie, became a NHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 after working with refugees in Sierra Leone. She has brought media coverage to issues facing refugees in Côte d'Ivoire Libya, Tanzania, Namibia and other countries around the world. Jolie seems to very passionate about helping African refugees, by visiting so many countries and asking for the UN and governments to intervene in the civil wars and protecting the rights of women and children.

Although many celebrities have been working to “help” Africa through exposure in the media, it still comes down to more African people and descendants to help change the issues at hand. The people of the continent know their own problems the best, which gives them better scope of the solutions. It’s nice to get help, but true progress is made by those directly affected by the problems.


Photos via Google Images

Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates