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Ceridwen Dovey is a South African born novelist who now lives in New York. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Harvard in 2003, Dovey returned to South Africa to write[…]

It’s too late for that, says Dovey.

Question: Should we just leave Africa alone?

Dovey: I think it’s too late to do that, you know? It’s a similar kind of thing. I don’t think . . . I’m not sure what I think about pulling out of . . . troops out of Iraq now, you know? You can’t go in and stuff up a country. And then when the going gets tough and the pressure is on, leave and pretend it didn’t happen, and you know leave this country in a mess. I mean I don’t know if staying helps either. But I think it’s a similar sort of thing with the West’s relationship with Africa. They are too closely intertwined at this point, and the West is too closely implicated in where Africa is at now thanks to colonialism. You know the West got rich off of it and is still rich off of it. And so I don’t think it’s something the West can just walk away from and say, “Okay, well you guys figure it out,” because yeah, it’s just . . . it’s too late. How you go about structuring that relationship so it’s not paternalistic or it’s not opportunistic I don’t . . . I’m not quite sure. But I definitely think there should be still doing something. And this whole shift to focusing on the Middle East has meant that Africa has suffered in the sense of foreign aid and, you know, just general interest in, you know, funding projects in Africa. And again it’s sort of evident of the West kind of ___________ just drop something and move on to the next sort of disaster area. And I don’t think that’s ethical.

Recorded on: 12/6/07