24 April, 2006

Accessorising With Africa

A few years ago it was Ireland. All the celebrities were flocking to Dublin and County Wicklow, drinking Guinness and putting on an air of superiority for being In Country. I read at least three stories about Gwyneth and Boyfriend charmingly going down the local for a few pints, bumping into Daniel Day Lewis on the way.

Now, apparently, Namibia is the hot getaway destination. It must be really fun at cocktail parties to drop the bombshell about "wintering in Africa with the children." Who wouldn't love a country light on people, heavy on diamonds and--here's the kicker--with a government-controlled press?

Namibian authorities are clamping down on journalists trying to follow Brad Pitt, pregnant Angelina Jolie and her two adopted children after the couple asked for some privacy, according to a newspaper report Sunday. ... The Sunday Times said its own photographer and three French photographers were ordered to leave Namibia or face arrest. Journalists require accreditation to work in the country. Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula defended the move, saying the couple should be left alone. "This lady is expecting," he told the Sunday Times. "You guys are harassing her. Why don't you allow her some privacy? Harassment is not allowed in Namibia.

I guess that whole First Amendment thing is really a bitch when you're pregnant and famous, huh? Oh well. At least their years of exploiting their looks for money and pimping themselves out to the American press have paid off. Now they can flee to a country without freedom and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken with their babies in peace.


At 4:14 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger John said...

Well, Kat, if you notice, it's really been since I've been going to Africa -- the past couple of years -- that it's become a chic, fashionable destination. This can't be a coincidence.

Actually, about this time last year I was doing an interview with a man from my small town who is now Wynonna Judd's business manager. My upcoming mission trip came up in conversation, and he said, "Well, I guess you and Ashley Judd are the only two people I know who are going to Africa."

I later remarked that this was the only time in history I was ever going to be mentioned in the same sentence with Ashley Judd.

But Ashley, to her credit, goes for relief work, not to vacation. :)

At 4:26 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

It's funny. There are two Africas in public perception. There's the starving, poor and needy Africa and the lush, wealthy exotic Africa.

Thanks to Sally Struthers' infomercials, most people of my generation are primed to think of the starving, poor & needy version whenever they hear "Africa".
I think that a lot of people (i.e. Brad & Angelina) like to give the impression that the Africa they're going to is that one, and they are somehow saintly and benevolent for giving their time to The Dark Continent.

I'm not sure many people realise that many parts of Africa are really a top luxury tourist destination.


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