Travel illusion: The awkward African diptych [VID] | Matador Network

Travel illusion: The awkward African diptych [VID] | Matador Network.

A thought provoking piece for all the expat bloggers and travel-writers out there. It’s getting away from the caricatures that makes a piece more memorable and evocative… deceptively simple in theory but requires more effort in reality. Those “tried and tested” idioms just “roll off the tongue”…

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. I enjoyed the video (filmed with an actor), totally agreeing that much of the videos and articles on Africa tend to be overwrought. I like the emphasis on respect and trying to capture the real essence of various places rather than the caricatures. Then I watched the author’s own response as to why he had written the piece in the first place. He’s absolutely right that some people get caught up in the urgency of the problem (because ‘they care’), but then admits that reliance on the soft power of NGOs has in many instances reduced the governments to participation as willing co-conspirators. It’s unfortunate that this has happened and that some default to letting the NGOs deal with certain issues, because there are real needs and insufficient resources. He may be frustrated with others, but he also holds his contemporaries guilty as well. Great food for thought!

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