Why Africans like Trump

On the third leg of her trip to what her husband calls the ‘shithole countries’ of Africa, Melania Trump dressed like Meryl Streep in Out of Africa – pith helmet, jodhpurs, riding boots – and bottle fed a baby Kenyan elephant. A couple of days ago in Ghana, she visited a slave fort, held a baby and distributed teddy bears. In Malawi she gave out footballs. When she jets off to Egypt tomorrow, who knows what she will do – but one suspects there will be pyramids and a camel.

The FLOTUS entourage, whose arrival closed down an entire terminal of Nairobi’s international airport for several hours, announced Melania’s Africa tour would, under the banner of her children’s initiative Be Best, focus on ‘child welfare, education, tourism and conservation’. I therefore got the footballs and the elephant – but otherwise I missed the point in the same way Be Best misses ‘the’ in the middle. Wikipedia says Be Best is all about cyberbullying and opioid abuse among kids. These are not really priorities in Africa. Just four per cent of all Ugandans have smart phones. In Somalia folks are hoping to score basic life-saving drugs like penicillin before they get around to overdosing on Fentanyl.

In the search for significance and meaning, the media indulged in a sort of Kremlinology of Melania’s clothes. In Accra it was an expensive stripy Celine dress that the wind so, so nearly blew up like an inside out umbrella. In Malawi the wind nearly caused another wardrobe malfunction and this time it was a beige shirt dress of the kind celebrities might wear while adopting African babies. Today’s swinging safari garb (no riding crop sadly) was widely seen on social media as insulting because it was ‘colonial’. Did Melania mean anything by it though?

‘I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills,’ says Meryl Streep at the start of Out of Africa – and her version of a Danish accent sounds a lot like Melania’s Slovenian accent to me. I wondered if Melania was planning her escape to Africa, after Moscow finally releases the pee pee videos. Kenya is the ideal place for her, for this has long been where the famous, the royals and ultra-rich come to play or lie low. Before her death, rumours were rife that Princess Diana was about to immigrate to Kenya. How bitterly ironic it would be if Melania settled in the country her husband claimed was Obama’s real birthplace.

Or perhaps Trump deployed Melania to Africa on a charm offensive to make amends for his ‘shithole countries’ jibe, for praising progress in the republic of ‘Nambia’, or for calling the continent a ‘crime ridden mess waiting to explode’. Nope.

 Read more at Spectator

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