Poverty in Africa - Cultural Studies

Essay, 2005

10 Pages, Grade: 1.0


Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. Perspective of Henning Mankell

3. Explanation of the issue & Case Study – Africa

4. Situation in terms of Henning Mankell

5. How is the situation related to “enlightment” thinking?

6. Own perspective and suggestions

7. Bibliography

Poverty in Africa

1. Introduction

Africa, the third biggest continent consisting of 53 different countries, is the poorest in the world, with approximately 42 percent of all africans living under the poverty line.[1] Disasterous effects of this state for the population - including illnesses and a high mortality rate - are various and so are the reasons for this continent, which is so rich in beauty and natural ressources, being that poor.

This essay deals with the current situation on the african continent and the roles that politics and the influence of the rest of the world are playing in the process. Furthermore the results of development aid and strategies for effective support for lesser developed countries as well as ‘The Enlightenment’ will be discussed. The facts are based on different articles published in german “Spiegel” magazine supported by opinions and statements by european author and director Henning Mankell.

2. Perspective of Henning Mankell

Swedish-born Henning Mankell, 57 years old2, is best known for his detective novels about protagonist Kurt Wallander. Besides his work as an author and director he deals with topics like poverty, globalisation and political nuisances in lesser developed countries such as Mozambique, where he has been living every now and again for many years. In the Mozambique capital Maputo Mankell is the manager of the Teatro Avenida.[2] His first hand experience and dedication to his adopted country makes Henning Mankell an Africa expert.

Theories: The main problem in Africa is poverty and the reasons for poverty are venal elites, the contemporary political structures and the colonial era.

In order to change the current situation to the better, Mankell believes that the classic form of development aid is disadvantagous for Africa and has to be replaced by a more effective kind of support that leads to autonomy.

3. Explanation of the issue & Case Study – Africa

“Poverty is the state of being without the necessities of daily living, often associated with need, hardship and lack of resources across a wide range of circumstances. For some, poverty is a subjective and comparative term; for others, it is moral and evaluative; and for others, scientifically established. The principal uses of the term include:

- Descriptions of material need, including deprivation of essential goods and services, multiple deprivation, and patterns of deprivation over time.
- Economic circumstances, describing a lack of wealth (usually understood as capital, money, material goods, or resources, especially natural resources). The meaning of "sufficient" varies widely across the different political and economic parts of the world. In the European Union, poverty is also described in terms of "economic distance", or inequality.
- Social relationships, including social exclusion, dependency, and the ability to live what is understood in a society as a "normal" life: for instance, to be capable of raising a healthy family, and especially educating children and participating in society.

A person living in the condition of poverty is said to be poor or impoverished.”

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty; date of access: 2005-10-15)

Poverty is an enormous problem on the African continent. 310 Million of the approximately 750 Millionen people in africa have to live with less then 1 US$ per day. Contrary to the rest of the world, these numbers are even increasing: ten years ago Africa had 100 Millionen fewer people living in this state of poverty.[3]

Africa consists of two thirds of the poorest states in the world and additionally 34 of the 35 countries with the lowest life expectancy are to be found on the african continent. More then one third of all african children suffer from malnutrition and most of the population has no access to medical facilities. The mortality rate of malaria alone amounts to one million deaths each year and furthermore AIDS debilitates the hole continent. 13 of the 53 african countries were involved in wars or national conflicts in the year 2001. For more then 100 Million Africans the dangers of war are part of their everyday lives.

Between 1970 and 2002 the countries south of the sahara desert took out loans in the amount of 294 billion US dollars. In the same period of time they already paid back 268 billion US$ but, including all interests, they are still facing a 210 billion US$ mountain of debts.

The economic benefit per head has been going down for more then ten years. Twelve percent of the world population is living in africa but the share of the world trade amounts only 1.5%.[4]


[1] T. Thielke and E. Wiedemann 2005: “Schokolade für Zuckerkranke“, Der Spiegel – Edition 27/2005

[2] T. Thielke and R. Falksohn 2003: “Wartesaal des Todes – Interview with Henning Mankell“, Der Spiegel - Edition 29/2003

[3] Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung: “BMZ Spezial – Neue politische Dynamik in Afrika“, 2004

[4] U. Deupmann, H. Schuhmann and B. Schwarz, 2002: “Afrikas letzte Chance”, Der Spiegel – Edition 27/2002

Excerpt out of 10 pages


Poverty in Africa - Cultural Studies
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Cultural Studies
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ISBN (Book)
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Poverty, Africa, Cultural, Studies, Cultural, Studies
Quote paper
Sebastian Tonnemacher (Author)Simon Dühren (Author), 2005, Poverty in Africa - Cultural Studies, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/48696


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