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Fake love hits Africa as Mrs. Trump extends care to ‘shithole’ children

October 01, 2018 at 09:00 am | News

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

October 01, 2018 at 09:00 am | News

Melania Trump. Photo: Flotus/Twitter

Many have not forgotten that U.S. first lady Melani Trump wore a jacket written ‘I really do not care, do U?’ when she visited a children’s detention centre at the Texas border.

It was seen as a tone-deaf and blatant display of lack of empathy. Even the response from her team that the jacket had no hidden message was met with criticism.

Now that the First Lady is travelling to four African countries to promote her child initiative called ‘Be Best’, her caring (or not) nature has been brought into question.

Be Best is a program Melania initiated early this year to promote children’s social and emotional well-being. It comes with three pillars: physical and emotional health, responsible social media use and the effects of the opioid crisis on children.

“We can and should teach social and self-awareness, positive relationship skills and responsible decision making. Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and encourage them to Be Best in their individual paths in life,” she said at a press conference at the White House.

Why would she, after having ignored the plight of many American children, go all the way to Africa to promote such an initiative?

According to the statement from the White House, Melania will be in Africa to “learn more about the United States role in providing assistance to help countries become self-sufficient.  Her trip will focus on maternal and newborn care in hospitals, education for children, the deep culture and history woven into each African country, and how the United States is supporting each country on its journey to self-reliance.”

It would be interesting to see and hear what Melania would say during her trip, especially against the backdrop of child detention in America; controversy over whether education is a fundamental right, and school shootings.

The visit by Melania has already elicited mixed reactions from people far and wide, starting with the first ladies of three African countries.

Isaura Nyusi, the first lady of Mozambique, stated that she is looking forward to seeing how Melania’s initiative would be implemented to address African challenges, according to the VOA.

Namibia’s first lady, Monica Geingos, hoped that the U.S. first lady would educate herself on Africa to break the stereotypes about the continent.

“I think the narrative that is generally crafted around African issues is really one of these poor, incapable, helpless Africans. And that’s not the narrative of Africa when you actually get to the continent. Even in the worst cases of poverty, you’ll find the most dignified Africans. And you can only treat them with dignities they deserve if you understand where they come from and what they deal with on a daily basis,” Geingos told VOA.

For Sierra Leone’s first lady, Fatima Maada Bio, Melania’s first task should be convincing African heads of state to establish an office of the first lady.

“I think the first lady of America, what she can do is actually start talking to African heads of state to start empowering the first ladies’ offices, because the first ladies’ offices, as much as we are not an elected office, but we can make very big changes to society,” she said.

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