A new spoof charity music video is raising as many eyebrows as it is smiles. ‘Africa for Norway’ is a parody of initiatives, such as Band Aid, which showcase top stars singing for poor, starving Africans. But this time round, it’s a rich Scandinavian nation that needs a helping hand.
By Cíntia Taylor, Hilversum
“People don’t ignore starving people, so why should we ignore cold people? Frostbite kills too.” That’s what lead rapper Breezy V says before he and his team break into song, imploring Africans to support the RADI-AID campaign. Its mission: help freezing Norwegians by donating a radiator today!
To learn more about the video's creation, RNW spoke via Skype to iKind’s Devin Carter, the 27-year-old South African who produced it.
What did you think when you first heard about the project?
“Most of my time during the production was actually spent explaining why we were going to film people running around collecting radiators for cold Norwegians. To be honest, when I first heard the concept...I thought: ‘This is a bit confusing for me. I’m not sure how Europeans are going to take it. I’m not sure how Africans are going to take it.’ I could see the humour and the merit in it. And as it came together, I could actually see that it actually worked as a concept.”
You’ve kept a serious tone throughout the video. Was that on purpose?
“Well yes, it kind of was... before we even started shooting it, we discussed a lot of things. We planned scenes where they meet a Norwegian person and hand them a blanket, and we actually filmed some of these scenes. And we filmed a couple of other scenes in the studio that were a bit more slapstick or spoofy. Once I understood the project more, I actually decided to edit those scenes out, because obviously it works best if it seems realistic...The fact that it comes out serious and realistic and has actually fooled a lot of people into thinking that it’s a real thing – it’s the most interesting about it.”
Were there any challenges that you faced while filming in South Africa?
“It’s not exactly common in South Africa for everyone to have a radiator. So we had to make a few calls, go and collect them [radiators] from faraway places. But we managed to scrape a few together – just enough to pull it off and make it look realistic...”
“We call them ‘heaters’ here in South Africa, so another challenge we’ve faced was designing the logo. We thought: ‘Are people going to know what that is?’ I mean, heaters here sometimes look a bit different. When I was growing up my parents had a very different-looking heater...a long, flat one, it was just like a metal plate. So we were actually questioning: are African people going to know that’s a radiator?”
What do you think this video might accomplish?
“What I hope to accomplish is what they [Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH)] have highlighted on their webpage, and that’s just awareness for people around the world on this stance on giving aid to Africa. A lot of people see images in charity videos and are drawn to them to donate. But what SAIH is trying to point out is that Africa is not this place where there’s just this one soft donation thing that you can make to feel good about yourself.”
“There’s actually development here. There’s actually projects that need funding and could be really amazing if you actually take those seriously and realize that there’s actually potential here... But because of the way it’s often treated in the media, a lot of people just think: ‘Let me support a starving child, give them five dollars or whatever.’ And maybe if it [development] was highlighted more, maybe there would be some kind of change in supporting development in Africa.”
For a full Bridges with Africa radio report on the initiative, return to our site Friday.