In the past week, several southern African towns were ravaged by a tropical cyclone, killing over 500 people, some of whom are still struggling to survive after losing their homes and livelihood.
Cyclone Idai swept coastal towns in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi with flash floods and ferocious winds 10 days ago with the number of casualties rising to 446, 259 and at least 56 dead in the three countries respectively.
Unlike other disasters outside the continent, the cyclone is receiving little attention on social media which is not helping in getting relief for the thousands affected and those still trapped in the flood waters.
Only a few countries and humanitarian agencies including Tanzania, the United States, Red Cross, United Nations among others are in the three affected countries offering support and relief to victims.
The seeming silence on social media got American rapper and activist Meek Mill to ask on Twitter: “#PrayForMozambique I wonder why social media in America never support African tragedies? 🤔”
#PrayForMozambique I wonder why social media in America never support African tragedies? 🤔
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) March 24, 2019
This question received thousands of Retweets and Replies with many of the Twitter users from Africa blaming Africans for being silent on their own tragedies but pays too much attention to the West.
“Social media Africa itself has been a huge disappointment. Even African Union itself. The silence around big tragedies in Africa is unfortunately global. Those people are in dire need of help, some haven’t had a meal in a week,” says Twitter user @DCalyn.
Social media Africa itself has been a huge disappointment.
Even African Union itself. The silence around big tragedies in Africa is unfortunately global.
Those people are in dire need of help, some haven’t had a meal in a week
— Danny (@DCalyne) March 24, 2019
This attracted more reactions from other Africans who supported his claims while others stuck to Meek Mill’s views stating that Americans “don’t care” about Africans.
“Because they don’t really care about us,” tweeted a follower. “They also make movies to make Africa look like WAR ZONE…..I love 🧡🧡🧡Africa…. LORD IS WITH US 🙏🏿” tweeted another.
Because they don't really care about us .
— Agba Ijesha (@omoakin77) March 25, 2019
They also make movies to make Africa look like WAR ZONE…..I love 🧡🧡🧡Africa…. LORD IS WITH US 🙏🏿
— joveniah Hackman (@JoveniahH) March 25, 2019
“They have no lucrative investments in it…no reason to care from that standpoint,” another follower of Meek Mill claimed.
They have no lucrative investments in it…no reason to care from that standpoint
— Last Resort (@Rizzy_Elmonte) March 25, 2019
The arguments were made by mostly Africans who also blamed African media for not doing enough to cover the continent’s tragedies while relying on Western media to do so.
While the debate goes on, there was an attack in Mali where armed men on Sunday reportedly dressed as traditional hunters killed 134 villagers including women and children. This too has not trended on social media.
In early March, social media discussions were saturated with the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max-8 plane that took off from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi killing all 157 people on board including eight crew. The victims were from 35 countries globally and the world paid attention.
Here are some reactions to Meek Mill’s tweet and how Africans felt about it.
Well which one are you praying for dawg, Zimbabwe or Mozambique pic.twitter.com/ohWJUwhEtO
— Jonas 🇦🇴 (@SavimbiBTW) March 24, 2019
Those people only show the worse when they wanna show you about Africa. They don’t b having the time to show you the better parts. They have other American things to show… It’s the reason why y’all uptown think it’s a dead zone here. y’all.
— Ash Colored Benz (@ashcoloredbenz) March 25, 2019
Forget what they show for now, this is a real humanitarian crisis that needs action.
There are people cut off completely and even Aid services can’t reach them.
But I get what you’re saying, this ain’t one of the cases. Thousands of people are yet to receive help
— Danny (@DCalyne) March 25, 2019
Unless there’s something they can take from us, they don’t care about us.
— 🧚🏾♀️ (@fknnqg) March 24, 2019
Even Africa pays way too much attention to the west and forgets about itself.
— XULA (@sulakam) March 24, 2019
You are definitely right. African media often portrays the west in a good way but the western media never show us in a good way except for the those commercials about "$1 day can help a child" Even though we are broken but we still Atleast have something good. SMH
— Njemmy07 (@njemmy31) March 25, 2019
Africans and african americans basically dony understand the different experiences that each other go through. As a black person in America its Racism in africa its Tribalism.
I grew up in kenya moved here its hard sometimes explaining racism to my friends back.
— El Jefè Ron (@ElJefRon1) March 24, 2019
No sir not only in America, Africans are made to love others more than they love themselves. 2 people die in European countries,Africans mourn and trend in support of that country but 100 die in Mozambique and they are silent waiting for America to validate their sympathy.
— Isaac Mmutlane (@Ike78105757) March 25, 2019
They don’t love us 😭😭
— LXIX (@69FuckingIdeas) March 24, 2019
@MeekMill we appreciate your good heart manigga👏 but don't forget Mozambique is not the only country which experienced that disaster, Zimbabwe and Malawi too
— JeCHA SABHUKU ⚡ (@Blissy_wacho187) March 24, 2019
You did not lie there it seems world they isolate africa and its burdens😢
— Ree👄 (@Magareth34) March 24, 2019