Monthly Archives: June 2012


The air is a little darker here than elsewhere. Smoke leads the way to Ubungo Terminal – a camp of charcoal burners around 80km north of Dar Es Salaam in rural coastal Tanzania. The camp is located on a hill and got its name from the little valley below. The camp is far into bushland, the grass is yellowish, the earth is yellow sand and yellow acacia is the predominant tree species around here. Word has it, that the bark of the acacia – pulverized and mixed into food –  enhances and stimulates sexual potential.This usually saves the trees from being cut down and processed into charcoal unlike any other tree, bush and shrub around. When all the usable trees are cut down the camp moves. This makes the camp structure highly mobile, tents and temporary shelters instead of houses. On the fringe of the camp is a little shop. It’s made of sticks covered with an orange plastic sheet selling the necessities: flour, tomatoes, cooking oil, matches and soda.There are around forty people from all over Tanzania in Ubongo forming a temporary collective of partners in fate.
like almost everyone else in those first days in after the KONY2012 video went online your wall on facebook and your homepage prominently displayed the support for Invisible Children, the makers of the video. I reacted with critical articles and links to blogposts until I received an E-mail from you:
“Could you explain to me the story about Mr. Kony. Please.”
Unfortunately, I cannot explain the whole story of Mister Kony. This I leave to professionals. But what I can explain to you is why I feel how I feel about the video.

Your enthusiastic response to the clip I understand. It’s a great video. You, as a graphic designer, must appreciate the art, the style, the campaign technique. I certainly do. The professional access to our emotions is the core business of Invisible Children (IC): moving people through story telling. I remember when I first encountered the organization two years ago during research about the DRC I admired the photos of sunkissed Californian kids with big smiles and cool T-shirts: This is sexy activism. This is cool.

Evidently, IC is the darling of the social media scene and interestingly enough also of the NGO world that enviously embraces the spotlight on the burning topic of child soldiers hoping to pick up some crumbs of the glamour cake as an interview with a representative from Human Rights Watch on Al-Jazzera proved. Also not surprising is that the blogosphere went viral and thrashed out criticism.

KONY 2012 exemplifies everything what is right and what is wrong with 2012. 

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