Ashley Mkudu

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Can charity organisations and the media at large do a better job of showing 3rd world countries?

Hello :)

As person from a third world country who is currently studying in a first world country I was very shocked by the way our countries are portrayed. Dirty water, dilapidated houses, flies everywhere etc, We appreciate the support we get but do you think that maybe there would be less ignorance if pity wasn't the primary method used to get help?

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    Jun 5 2014: For me, I find that agencies like Kiva ( should be the route that "charities" should take, as I honestly would like to know how I am helping someone rather than blindly donating money. If anything, the biggest problem that I have with most of the mainstream charities is not that they use pity to essentially "guilt-trip" individuals to donate, but rather, the "hidden" administrative costs. Thankfully sites like Charity Navigator ( help individuals make better decisions when it comes to choosing a charity, but it's doubtful that most individuals actually use such sites.
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      Jun 5 2014: Thank you! I honestly believe that helps
  • Jun 6 2014: Charities make a LOT of money by portraying the "3rd world" in that fashion. They will never stop doing that. In the USA, "3rd world" simply means "dirty, dilapidated, poor, ignorant, backward, and violent". Why? Because charities make a lot of money using that portrayal.
  • Jun 4 2014: Ashley, your right.

    But the problem facing charities are that they deal first hand with the issues,
    but to raise monies from luke warm benefactors, they must show the worst
    conditions that they can. They do sell Pity. It raises money. Sad but true.

    The media is free to snap pictures and leave, and some unknown editor
    decides which pictures to show depending on the needs of the article going
    to press. Again, they also sell Pity. It sells newspapers and magazines.
    Sad but also true. Gossip sells print Media.

    Back in the day, Germans were known for not bathing. And the French were
    known for not having screens on their windows to keep out flies. Gossip too.

    Please don't feel too bad. Things will change for the better in your lifetime.
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      Jun 5 2014: Thank you very much for the response and your kind words. It's a sad truth but it doesn't have to be that way. Think of first world charity campaigns. They show people in a more tasteful manner and they still manage to gather support as a result in the UK when you meet someone who's battling cancer you tell them to be strong when people meet me, they think I'm excited by seeing water that flows out of a tap. It's 2014 now, the only difference between us is our internet speeds and I really think something should be done. Thank you still :)
      • Jun 6 2014: If you think that first world programs are tasteful, you have never seen the vileness that is spewed by "Autism Speaks". This is a fundamentally evil organization that brings in a great deal of money by portraying people on the autism spectrum as subhuman monsters that have to be "cured".
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          Jun 6 2014: I am very sorry about that and I hope someone speaks up and makes a change. No one deserves to be treated like that.
      • Jun 6 2014: There's been a lot of speaking up. It doesn't change much. The money comes from portraying us as monsters, not as people.
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    Jun 4 2014: Our media is doing a great job of covering a third world country and it is us .. the USA.
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      Jun 5 2014: Tell me what you know about us based on what you have seen in the media.
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        Jun 5 2014: Well we are formally known as the United States of America but are usuall addressed as the USA. We are a Republic. We were once a strong nation but over the last six years have incurred 17 trillion dollars in debit ... failed to enforce or abide by the Constitution .... have a President that is being call a Imperialist .. I disagree. I think he is a radical Progressive / socialist. Our issues and political strife are fundamentally based on clashing views on the role of government in society.

        He’s been most frustrated with the separation of powers, which doesn’t allow him to “fundamentally transform” the country without congressional acquiescence. He has selected the means of Executive Orders to accomplish his goals without the consent of Congress. The biggest dereliction of his duty is to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, and to “take care that the law be faithfully executed.” He rejects Natural Law and embraces the theory that all rights should be based on social expediency. He believes that the President should embody the will of the people and lead the entire government and the seperation of powers desolved.

        The media has for the last six years supported the views of the President ... but are now becoming concerned that he has used rhetoric to shape public opinion and that many of the changes are not beneficial to the people but party goals ... His support in polls has deminishe to the low 40% and the trust in the American media is even lower.

        Thank you for asking me to expand ... not many on TED ask that of me. I could go on and cite many examples ... but time and space limit me ... I am sure you get the idea.

        Again ... Thanks. Bob.
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    Jun 4 2014: ashley, one hears that the average lifespan in some african countries is quite low, like 40 years. Is this true, I have seen this affirmed in very reputable publications? I believe the average lifespan for males in the U.S. is 75 years, for females 85 years.

    if what you say is true, tv companies might do it to get ratings, because people might watch to see something they think is low-quality living, some people enjoy feeling critical of other people, so they enjoy watching people who they think live dirty so that they can then criticize them. Also, the conditions you mention, such as dilapidated houses, flies everywhere, might seem exotic to some people so they will watch for that reason.

    Funny enough, in some cases flies everywhere is a sign of wealth, for instance that you have a lot of cattle.
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      Jun 4 2014: Thank you for the response! Flies are associated with disease where I'm from so I don't think that's true and our life expectancy is 51 years. I guess you're right. They probably do it for ratings so I guess that's were the problem lies. We might not be advanced but we're doing something and having the bad sides of our countries shown doesn't help at all. How are we ever going to attract investment if all people see is some disease ridden area with no sign of technology at all. Wouldn't you also be alarmed if for example anti-cancer adverts didn't show people in a tasteful manner but instead showed people in their dying moments with sunken eyes and discoloured skin? At the end of the day we're all human, we're all equal and I think it's quite unfair that we're shown as if we're less.
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        Jun 5 2014: That is kind of surprising, Ashley, that your life expectancy is really significantly lower than America's, since as far as I know Africa has had human population the longest of anywhere one might think they would have made the most progress on health issues and hence have the longest life expectancy? How can one even explain that lower life expectancy? Does that lower life expectancy bring out any feelings in you, do you feel any shame, or anger, or does it not matter, or...........? Do you yourself expect to live about 51 years?

        I myself feel sorry to think that Africans might only live 51 years, heck, I would have died three years ago under those conditions. I think it would be interesting if TV programs explored the differences in life expectancy around the world.
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          Jun 5 2014: I'm sorry that our life expectancy is lower than you were expecting and you're right, we have been on earth the longest so we should have made the most progress. Never mind the fact that while your country was taking people away from us to use them to build yours, others were coming to our countries to take our resources and just live as unwelcome visitors then acted offended when we tried to take our land back. Yes don't even take notice of the fact that for a state that's only been free for 34 years we're making progress and go ahead and compare our progress to your 237 year old country built on the blood of many. At least we're clean about our progress, only blood shed was our own.

          I also find it quite surprising that life expectancy is so high in the USA given the fast food epidemic you're facing. Tell me, is it hard for your family to deal with diabetes? How does it feel knowing that at any point and time someone close to you might just die from cardiac arrest? Does it anger you that even on a milk diet like you, someone could just shoot you because of your liberal gun laws? We have none of that here in Africa though, all our food is organic! And I think the media should explore how we stay so healthy even by eating from more than one food group.

          You have the internet. Inform yourself with the right things.
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        Jun 5 2014: gee, I'm sorry, Ashley, it seems to me your reply has a bitterness to it, and I did not mean to make you bitter. I think I was trying to show caring for Africans, since life is sweet one would want to live as long as possible? And I sort of am not looking for a debate, of course if you start criticizing the United States, I would want to rise to the defense, but if it's to be a debate I look for a gentler debate? But in a way you raise another question: how is it that other continents were able to "take" your continent's resources, I know the Africans are very intelligent and also brave warriors, so how could anyone else successfully exploit them?

        I actually got the idea for the milk diet from a Kenyan tribe, the Maasai, so I have much respect. In fact, I tried to move to Kenya and join the Masai, I made a Masai friend here, Kimeli Naiyomah, who was going to set me up in his village with a wife and cattle. Then my health declined and things changed.

        I get some info here on Africa, which mostly comes from radio. In fact I don't own a television, I have not owned one for 30 years, so I don't see much like you describe, where Africa is being depicted as substandard. I listen to news reports on the radio, and I think Africa is treated rather respectfully there, news comes from Africa just like anywhere else, good news, bad news, business news, entertainment news. Where are you seeing the negative reports on Africa, on television? But I would imagine even on TV there is lots of objective news about Africa?

        One might also wonder, since you are the oldest on earth, you should have the most stable countries? It really is surprising to me that an African country would be quite young.

        Honestly, though, I don't know if the media could explore how you stay so healthy by eating from more than one food group, because if your life expectancy is low, in a sense you are not healthy.
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        Jun 5 2014: maybe I do have to reply to some of your other points, Ashley, just as a way of understanding. You're talking about slavery, but we always hear that Africans were complicit in slavery, worked as slave traders, etc. And actually, I'm not even sure we got the cream of Africa when we got slaves, it seems possible to me that our slaves were the lowest class of people in Africa, very poor and unsuccessful people who might have been a drag on Africa. And if you start talking about blood shed, hasn't there been plenty in Africa, we certainly are hearing of genocides here, I believe in Somolia, and we certainly were hearing terrible things about Idi Amin when he was in Uganda.
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          Jun 5 2014: Okay I understand, thank you :)
      • Jun 6 2014: Ashley

        In answer to your question of, "--pity--." I would doubt very seriously that there would be much help without the pathetic portrayal that we see constantly. Many are right here, in that, charities profit greatly by such exploitation. What should be the image of the 3rd world that you would like to see that would not diminish the flow of money?
        You mention European and American slave trade, I would suggest that you consult the history books before you use that in pointing blame for the failure African nations to progress. Africans were taking Africans as slaves long before the White man arrived. When they did arrive it was like a market place for the buying of slaves from their African slave masters. You also failed to mention that when Europe stopped the slave trade a collation of of African slave masters went to London to protest the stoppage. You also neglected to mention that Arab countries were big buyers of slaves. Slavery continues in Africa and I am curious as to why you failed to mention that.
        I do not think it unfair to say that, as you denigrate this country and blame it for your inabilities, you have no problem in taking charity from those same people. Do you feel that we have an obligation to do this or that without such help your main industry would continue to be in the slave trade?
        I have been around going into 8 decades and I cannot remember a time when Africans were not betrayed as a backward people and as victims of something or everything, unable to accomplish anything that was not corrupted. Perhaps it is time for the people of Africa to stand up as the birth place of humanity with pride and dignity, stop blaming the world for what you are and have not achieved.
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          Jun 6 2014: I'd ask you to be a bit more respectful when speaking about this matter. It seems like you seek to attack me more than to give answers.

          All I'm saying is if people really want to help they should seek to empower and not use pity or just not help at all if it's too hard. We have our own local charities, we give to our own and help each other grow we really don't need to be the face of poverty all over and I've never received anything from a charity so I really can not speak about the benefits, it's something I only see on TV really.

          I'm from Southern and not West Africa so I really can't speak on slave trade and I really don't want to because that's not what this conversation is about, though I do know that slavery is not something new anywhere on earth and I know the history on it. I speak more for those of us who were colonised and if you think that 100 years of being ruled by someone who wasn't one of our own was not damaging then that's okay and I respect your opinion. We had our own way of life before everything but spears don't measure up to guns so it's not something we can go back to now that the system has a new norm so please give us time to learn then we can start growing. As I said my country is only 34 years old, just hold on we're getting there.
      • Jun 6 2014: Ashley

        I attacked the blame game that you were playing without reference to the history of slavery in Africa. It was that you were ignorant of that history or were attempting to gain sympathy through recounting of a fraudulent history where only Europeans and Americans were the evil ones. This too, as the pitiful condition of Africa, is promoted as a truth and even accepted here in America by those ignorant or blind to history.
        Why is more respect needed when the assertions are only half truths? Disrespect is also represented when half truths are promoted as the only truth.
        I cannot empower you or Africa.. That comes from the individual and the desire to be free. How does that happen and where does that strength come from? You might do well to read the history of the American Revolution and concentrate on the mindset of the people. We too, were colonized from Jamestown 1605 until 1776 and torn between the French and English. How to beat a super power.
        As far as guns vs spears. Did it ever occur to anyone to steal a gun, figure it out, copy it and make a lot more?
        And as you say, you cannot speak to the slave trade---you should have not brought it into the conversation.
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          Jun 7 2014: You don't have to make assumptions about what I was trying to achieve by that. If you want to know all you have to do is ask. You're conveniently ignoring the disrespect that was thrown my way just so you can make a point. Why didn't you also question his facts or the fact that they were off topic? Why would I want to attract pity when it's what I'm speaking against?

          Also I said if they WANT to help. It's an OPTION and I also did mention that we help ourselves didn't I? We're not weaklings waiting for the next donation we do a lot on our own and if you think having a tap installed in one village from your donations is what we need then you're mistaken.

          As with people what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others, so well done for all your achievements. We do have guns you traded those for the slaves remember and now we do manufacture our own, it's not even new technology really. It might help you to read up on African history with an open mind. Empathy is clearly a foreign concept to you so I'm going to end things here because you don't want to listen or help. You just want a fight and this was not even your fight. This was between Greg and I and it ended. So please do move on and thank you for the contributions.
      • Jun 7 2014: Ashley
        "Never mind the fact that while your country was taking people away from us to use them to build yours, others were coming to our countries to take our resources and just live as unwelcome visitors then acted offended when we tried to take our land back. Yes don't even take notice of the fact that for a state that's only been free for 34 years we're making progress and go ahead and compare our progress to your 237 year old country built on the blood of many. At least we're clean about our progress, only blood shed was our own."

        I believe these are your words. When you start making statements you should be prepared to back them up.
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          Jun 7 2014: Okay Have a good day, Thank you.
  • Jun 3 2014: There is a huge difference between legitimate charities and the media. The media is exclusively run by the NWO with it's pre-determined agenda. Charities on the other hand are actually there to help.
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      Jun 4 2014: I understand that they're there to help but don't you think it's better for them to use other methods? Based on their commercials I don't think anyone can paint a nice picture of any of the places shown
      • Jun 4 2014: Ashley, I could not agree with you more, hence the saying "you can attract more bees with honey than you can with vinegar". This is precisely why network news has started putting a feel good story at the very end of their broadcast. That way we can feel good about ourselves at the end of an hour of violence and hatred. What would happen if it was the other way around? What if they put a short story of violence and then a whole hour of feel good stories? What if video games were about love and kindness? What if books and media were mostly about love and kindness? What if our whole education system was about love, kindness and how to get along and compromise with other people? What if our nation and the whole planet were about love and tolerance? Maybe we would no longer find it necessary to kill 150 billion animals each year and the planet would suddenly become a nicer place to live for everyone. How can we be proud of our home when it is wall to wall slaughterhouses?