#Kony2012: Why The Nitpicking?

Hands up if you knew about Joseph Kony before the viral #Kony2012 video.

Hands up if you’ve brought it to light using the tools and platforms availed us via web 2.0.

This campaign by Invisible Children Inc. has been torn apart and critiqued in numerous ways. I read the opinions on the #Kony2012 campaign before watching the documentary.

Someone help me understand, what is the big deal?

How have Ugandan activists been sidelined?Disrespected? Is the absence of mention of particular groups what qualifies said sidelining/disrespecting?

How has the progress made been undermined? And what do we define this progress to be? #Kony2012’s mandate is clear: make the world know of this atrocious man(at least on that, we all agree!).


Yes, the US has fallen guilty in its Saviour Mentality, but how does that apply here? Should young,ordinary Americans be held at fault for empathizing with a situation we all agree is dire? Should they be critiqued for wanting to do something, to see justice prevail, just because theirs is a country whose foreign policy we may often perceive intrusive?

Didn’t we run headlines on the deployment of US troops to assist in putting an end to LRA?

African activists,lobbyists and advocacy groups, where are the stories of what you’ve done towards stopping Joshua Kony? How many fellow Africans have you brought to awareness about this man, about the LRA and its mindless abductions of innocent children? Yes, it’s a  lot more complicated than I know, but I have learnt about what’s happening in my neighbouring country,not from your efforts, but from a documentary gone viral. How then, does that undermine our efforts to save our continent?

Why haven’t we heard a call to action, to rally towards the gates of the African Union headquarters, to call for our governments and leaders to do something?

We tried for this with the #LastFamine  Campaign? Did we sustain it? Did we support it fully?

How are Africans Acting for Africa?


If the issue here is to let Africa handle her own problems, then show me those voices calling us to action! Truth is, most of us are indifferent, justifiably so for the most part, because Africa’s problems morph at a rate faster than we can solve them. How many campaigns, by Africans, for Africans have brought their efforts online, as the #Kony2012 campaign has?

We have got to stop crying foul in the very same measure we ask for America to quit acting saviour towards Africa!! If we accept their assistance on other matters,if we continue to fold our arms and watch our governments open up our governance to them, how then do we hope to be part of the solution, if that is the problem?


Could it be that its our conscience being stirred, and we are instead lashing out?

Should Gavin have been replaced by a young African child, would that have been more acceptable?

Should Invisible Children not have done that documentary at all?

For as long as we continue on this path, for as long as we aren’t presenting our own efforts and pushing on incessantly to snuff out these injustices, the world’s outlook on Africa will remain that of  ‘a dark continent’.

‘Africa isn’t poor,just mismanaged’, I always say. I find that her biggest ‘mismanagers’ are her children, her citizenry. I am saddened that I had to learn, in great detail, about Joseph Kony, about the LRA and about Jacob’s story in the way that I have, and not from you, great activist movement of Africa, for Africa, by Africa. And I know I’m not alone!


If you feel that the world ought to learn about Africa’s good,bad and ugly from Africans, then document it and share it. If we are able to also contribute to global twitter trends, surely we can raise awareness on a thing or two.


Louis Moreno-Ocampo says in the documentary that the only way to stop Kony is to show him that he can be arrested… (paraphrased). If that is true, by the world watching that documentary, don’t you think that word will reach Kony that the world knows about him?


Africans, by all means, let’s Act for Africa. The fact that no child should have to sleep in fear of being abducted is something that every sane human being agrees on,something any true activist should work towards raising awareness towards. But if we aren’t willing to do the job, please, let’s not cry foul.



Author: Nanjira

Perched at the intersection of tech & governance, media, culture.

  • You got it right. We are quick to criticise behind our computers without knowing what actually goes on down there.
    Well in.

  • Anonymous

    So loving this! As an African living in the U.S. I’m ashamed to say that I was completely unaware of the atrocities going on in Uganda. As much as I agree with the ‘Africans for Africa’ movement, I think it’s senseless to criticize Jason Russell et al for bringing Kony’s name to the masses. Until we’re willing to get rid of the complacency and actually do some work, we should at least be thanking (not hating on) the campaign for opening our eyes.

    • Exactly!

      And for where Jason and his team have given false facts,critiquing that silently:in discussions and blogs won’t do it. For instance,the Uganda Media Centre put up a ‘statement’ on their Facebook page,a very diplomatic piece of writing,but how effective it is in countering what IC have done is wanting.
      The facts can’t remain hidden in white papers and reports. Not in this digital information age of blogs,infographics,film and trending topics on twitter. That won’t cut it. I wish those quick to point that out would aggressively push for facts to be presented in a similar fashion; a documentary on the Northern Uganda status quo.
      It’s also said that Invisible Children are notorious for such ‘sensational’ campaigns. Why then,isn’t anyone reaching out to them to use their tools to present facts?

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