Real Housewives Go To Africa

 

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Its a bad show. My boyfriend makes fun of me for watching television shows and youtube videos for the sole purpose of pointing out how bad or wrong they are. I sit there and talk at the screen and when I’m done he makes fun of me.

In the latest episodes of the Real Housewives of Atlanta the cast takes a trip to South Africa. During their stay they take a ride on a yacht, go on safari, consult a witch doctor, and visit an orphanage. They spend the majority of the trip making shows of wealth, even though everyone on the show is far from wealthy. They count their blessings as they interact with orphans and “villagers”. They enact Africaness by dressing up in traditional garbs. They also revel in ordering around white service staff.

I think the point of the episodes was to give a more well rounded version of “Africa”, but the fact that they kept referring to a particular country by the name of the continent was problematic in and of itself. Still it’s interesting to see the dynamic of African-Americans visiting Africa, participating in the kind of voyeurism that made me uncomfortable during my own trip to Namibia. When shanty towns become tourist sites, something just ain’t right…

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