TRAVEL AFRICA magazine Spring 2006

Jun 9th, 2006, 11:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
TRAVEL AFRICA magazine Spring 2006

For those who don't read this magazine, especially those planning to go to Africa for the first time soon, I really recommend the magazine overall.

I have only looked at 1/2 of this issue and I am thrilled. There is a great article on whether or not to pay local people for their photo. Bottom line it says 'get over it and pay'. How dare we wealthy Europeans and Americans moan and whine that the locals have been "commecialised" as we go to our fancy lodges with buffet meals, wearing our custom safari suits, while being driven in LandRovers.

Another article talks about the industry of selling second hand clothing from the West.

The cover story is David Attenborough on his many experiences in Africa, including a great section on Gorillas.

It's funny I subscribed to this magazine about a year before going to Africa, after having gone it means so much more.
waynehazle is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I love Travel Africa and own every single issue... and I still find some of the info on the oldest back issues useful!

I'd recommend this magazine to any Africaphile especially if you also subscribe to Africa Geographic too - perfect combo of travel advice and conservation news.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:04 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
I am probably goign to order all those back issues too
waynehazle is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:16 PM
  #4  
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Those second-hand markets are everywhere in NBO and you'll find everyone shopping there; you'd be surprised who! Private school kids love these places for Western "stuff."

Haven't had time to read my issue of Travel Africa, but unless it's t-shirts only that we're talking about (the NYTimes did an article years back tracing the route of one woman's t-shirt to a market somewhere in Africa)... other items are a find and many people shop here.
 
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Wayne

I'm totally in agreement about just getting over our warm and fuzzy mental vision of an untouched local culture that will surely be pristine until we come along and just accepting the reality... and dealing with it!

Infact this is what I wrote a while back on another forum in response to someone asking about photography in Peru:

Secondly, ensure you have lots and lots of small coins. Peruvians are usually more than happy for you to take photographs but will put their hand out for a tip. A lot of travellers dislike this - I think they prefer to imagine they are intrepid travellers visiting somewhere off the beaten path where visitors with fancy cameras are rare - but Peru has been a firm favourite of travellers and photographers for a very long time. Pay the tip! The plus side is that you'll often be able to take a lot of shots of the person in question before moving on rather than just snatching one.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:31 PM
  #6  
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Kavey - You're absolutely correct. What are those few coins to Western visitors? Though I can understand their feeling of being taken.

I've often found that opportunities abound when purchasing items from local people... can be a market or in a village. Pay a few cents/pence/shillings/bhat more and simply ask if you can take a photo. It's rare that the vendor/individual/local will decline the offer.
 
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:38 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
What a crock. Think of the long term effects you are having on these people.
So, you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you pass a few sheckles their way. But it is also like a good portion of a days wage for what, a click of a shutter. What are you teaching these people? That article is a lot of nonsense if that is what they are advocating.

And those clothes in the markets. Its the clothes we donate and is supposed to be given away to the people. It is either stolen out of the warehouses or what so frequently happens, intercepted by local politicians and sold on the street from there. Or as what happens, the clothes gets to Africa, and there is not a system setup to distribute it yet and it sits till the funds dry up.What happened specifically in Moz, the war was over and the ngos departed, leaving the clothes undistributed. The clothes found their way into markets around Southern Africa after that. Imagine the amount of clothes.

You can find brillant ways of getting money to the locals, but this one....., I can only shake my head. Its on the level of handing out candy to children whose teeth will never see a dentist.
luangwablondes is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:57 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
They aren't advocating it so much as calling BS on those travellers who are actually affronted at being asked to pay for a service received (modelling, effectively, isn't it?) because they are under the pathetic impression that they are on some kind of anthropological expedition and that photography "should" be free!
Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:59 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
On the clothes front, I agree that it's not ideal but it's ever so easy to criticise what the locals end up doing with such donations without really thinking about it from their perspective.

If I were struggling to feed my family and saw an opportunity for a business in selling second hand clothes that were being sent without real thought on whether they were needed or not I'd take it too.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 02:03 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
OK luangwablondes,

You are at least making a valid con argument. It isn't based on "inconveniencing" tourists. It is based on long term effects on their economy.

Why should a kid bother learning to farm, build something, etc when getting his picture taken twice for the day makes the same money. Even worse is kids skipping school and just standing outside begging. YES this is a horrible lesson to teach kids. Better education is the key to their future, not begging.

we were specifically told not to give to kids begging for pencils, candy etc at the side of the road. Go to a school and give supplies (no *&^%$ candy!)

I still consider this a little different than wanting a photo of a local who is working or minding their own business and they say 'hey you want my picture, pay me'

In Rwanda, we saw a woman walking carrying firewood on her head. We wanted to take a picture. We nicely asked instead of just snapping it. Why shouldn't she be a capitalist and get a dollar or two? The problem was in this case 2 or 3 guy friends came running out of nowhere, whispered to her and she then asked us for $10 FIRM.

We then walked away. She learned another lesson of capitalism

waynehazle is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 02:26 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Wayne,

I agree - there's a big difference between throwing money (and candy and toys and whatever else) at random kids on the street and aknowledging that a model deserves a small tip in exchange for the liberty of taking their photograph.

We also took a number of pictures of people as they went about their jobs like you did. I much preferred to acknowledge them, tip if it seemed expected and show some respect rather than sneak photographs furtively as I see many tourists doing or worse, treating the locals as some kind of exhibit or attraction and wondering around snapping off shots without a concern.

I live in London and am often included in tourists' images of my city - in broader pictures taken in public places. However, if I happened to be working outdoors and had a tourist come up and start snapping portraits of me without a word I'd be quite pissed off. I don't know that I'd be entirely comfortable if they asked me first but I'd sure as heck appreciate the courtesy.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 07:49 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
The first time I was at the Mfuwe airport in Zambia there were 3 kids on the curb selling dried fish. I went over and asked what they were selling and how much. $3.00 for a bag of dried fish, so I bought a bag, told them to resell it, but could I take their picture instead of the fish. They said o.k. when i took their picture, out of the blue came their uncle, 2 cousins and a grampa who all wanted $1.00. I said no, only the children and walked away. since I don't speak Bemba, I can only imagine what the uncle was calling me as I left .
matnikstym is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 12:05 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
I like "get over it" too, but I wonder if the article is saying "it's a good thing, so get over any inconvenience to you" or "it's a bad thing but get over it"? Commercialisation is only good if leads to a sustainable way of life, and I'm not sure to what extent that's true with asking money for photos. Aren't there better ways for local people to benefit from tourism than this?

Your perspective of "paying the model" is excellent Kavey, since it is people who take their photography seriously who should be most frustrated by this. I'm not even sure one shouldn't approach the model first and ask if they mind and if you can pay them. Get the awkwardness over with. For the rest is there is even anything to debate? It isn't pretty but no-one is forcing you to to take those photos. Just say no .. or hand over the dollar.

(However, being hassled or extorted is another matter - and it does happen - and I don't think people should put up with it unless it is genuinely part of the culture - which is rare).

Anyway, this seems to me to be rather up to the tour operators and whether they inform their clients sufficiently well before travelling about what to expect and what they advise doing. The fact that people expect a fascinating anthropologists-view experience surely has a lot to do with the advertising for certain tours - so, in that sense the "commercialisation" of these people is unfortunately being driven by glossy photo shoots in Conde Naste and romantic descriptions in tour itineraries. If operators did inform people properly would there perhaps be less whining?

With regard to the second hand clothes, Kavey, the problem I am aware of is that the clothes being sold were not even handed out but sold by government officials on arrival to a wholesaler as a lot. In thses cases the people selling them in the markets have purchased them for resale or are just selling on commission for the wholesaler. However, there is sometimes a misunderstanding about this too. Trading in second hand clothes from the US is pretty good business throughout the developing world and it is often properly purchased in the US and exported, rather than being stolen from aid trucks or the like. Sorry, I haven't read the articles... did I miss the point?
kimburu is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 03:32 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I got and read this issue ages ago and I didn't focus on the short article on the second hand clothing to be honest...

Obviously I don't support anything being stolen but I'm not sure I know enough to really make a judgement... I recall some time ago reading something about so much being sent via charities that it's not actually needed nor easy to distribute and hence lots ends up in the commercial arena but I don't know the truth of it.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 07:33 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
Yeah really I don't know if it's widespread. Sometimes people seem to enjoy playing up corruption issues - sells newspapers and gives politicians a soap box to stand on. The too many clothes thing is absolutely true. Five days after the Tsunami hit here they had enough t-shirts to clothe an army for a year (and the donations from Europe and the US hadn't even arrived yet) no water and no sanitary pads.
kimburu is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 09:27 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Wasn't expecting this when I saw the title, opened it to agree that Travel Africa is well worth the subscription, even if only for a year. The cost is rather steep (I think) for those of us in the States, but I loved it.

Now on to the rest...I have been having this debate with myself about paying/not paying for photos. Didn't like it one bit when I first encountered it, but I guess I'm gradually understanding that it is here to stay, and will probably become more widespread.

It has been quite awkward. Do you agree on a price before or after? There was something rather off putting about the abruptness of some 'professional' posers.

Spoke with a long-necked Karen girl who was a poser, and she said (I guess it should have been obvious) of course she'd rather sit around and have pictures taken than have to work in the fields! I asked because of a similar debate about whether photographing Karen women reinforces a practice that should no longer exist.

I know candy giving is frowned upon by many here, but I cannot tell you the number of times I've received looks of pure delight from the recipients, and these were adults!

If the kids will never, ever see a dentist regardless of wheteher or not they see me (or my candy)why shouldn't they experience the pleasure of chocolate melting in one's mouth? I don't give to beggar kids by the way, but to people I wish to thank for their kindness/hospitality/etc
Femi is offline  
Jun 13th, 2006, 11:21 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
Some of the Karen villages are actually pretty organised business nowadays - to my knowledge the Karen are hired to sit around for the tourists and unfortunately quite a lot of the money you give goes out of the village into the pockets of the businessmen who set it up. That's the dark side of Thailand for you - middlemen everywhere taking a cut. Used to be the tour operators who would charge the tourists $50 to visit the Karen and tthen give the villagers $10 of that. Whether the Karen are better off as a result of the new arrangements I do not pretend to know, and I don't think it is necessarily the same situation in Africa. If you can find out in which cases all the money is going to the locals you are doing a good thing.

In a "no fixed price" situation it always works better to agree a price before - or even better to find out the going rate for something, whatever the circumstances.

As for sweets, I think the point is that if they don't eat sweets the kids can better survive with not seeing a dentist. To me it's a judgement call on whether chocolate is an appropriate thank you gift - I would say it is rather unrthical to introduce someone to it though, as you seem to be suggesting. I'd put it in a category with coffee, miraa, tobacco, television soaps, marijuana, fashion and soft porn as something I see nothing really wrong with but wouldn't want to be a front-line ambassador for.
kimburu is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 05:23 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,139
I remember 30 years or so ago driving thru Mexico prior to the tourism boom that's now present there, and having this young man ask for money for a photo op. As this was the first time experiencing this, I immediatly said no. He then got so indignent that he said "Why you, you, you Sheepscape. I laughed like hell, gave the kid the money, took the shot and he ended up being my buddy guide thru Chichen Itza. These pics. are prized by me now.

This kid really looked like he needed some help. Did I help his long term goals - no. Did I encourage further begging or scamming - who knows.

I do think that sometimes we've got to take each one of these episodes one at a time and decide what you feel like doing. No hard and fast rules can apply here - just do what you think is right at the moment and don't put yourself in a compromising position.

My 2 bits;
Sherry
cybor is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 07:51 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Cybor: It took me a minute to figure out what a 'sheepscape' is. Thanks for the laugh
Femi is offline  
Jun 14th, 2006, 11:18 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
And now segueing into the next controversial topic:

elephant culling.

there is another article in the same magazine describing how in parks like Kruger there are so many elephants, who simply destroy any area they trample through, that they are considering culling (killing off) some of them, so that the others can be sustained.

A horrible horrible thought because it has so many implications. There must be a better way, but all the other ways described were expensive not known to be succesful.

Now that I have learned so much more about how connected elephant families are, I really hate the thought of this culling

But I also hate the thought the elephant population could grow so much that they can't be sustained.
waynehazle is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:18 PM.