So, Kony2012, the viral video produced by the organisation ‘Invisible Children” aimed ostenisbly at raising awareness of the need to capture the Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and bring him to justice has today gone mega being viewed millions of times. While the general public, particularly college kids in the US and Canada appear to have taken to the cause, the video has drawn criticism from within Africa, from NGO’s, from academics and from journalists.

In particular, the drastically simplified and often misleading tone of the piece (and of IC’s work in general) appears patronising and ill-informed. The focus of the campaign on raising awareness of Kony within the US and the rest of the world has also been questioned in light of the current situation in northern Uganda where the LRA has not operated since 2006 but which remains comparatively under-developed. Moreover, the transparency of IC’s finances and their support for the Ugandan and SPLA armed forces, themselves repeatedly accused of war crimes in the same region have raised questions over the organisations motives and judgement.

To read fuller criticism of the IC’s approach:



So what do you think about the campaign?

For further reading on the LRA see: T. Allen and K. Vlassenroot, The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality (London, 2010)


About perspectivesonafrica

Research and news about Africa
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3 Responses to Kony2012

  1. Dan says:

    You could have noted that students around the world (rather than just North America) have different opinions on this video. Students tend to be more informed/less naive elsewhere.

    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right, the post was written on the hoof trying to keep up with the crazy reaction to Kony2012 and wasn’t the subtlest of analyses. Clearly students across the globe (in the US and Canada as well) are extremely intelligent and would have had a variety of responses to the piece. What was your own feeling? Kisaka Robinson has written a short piece from a Ugandan perspective above.

      I enjoyed ‘No Suitcases’.


      • Dan says:


        Thats for the reply. I’ve been up in Northern Uganda though not in LRA army territory. This campaign I generally think is worthwhile. Any enlightenment is good. A lot of the criticism is a bit pithy and ultimately Kony has continued his reign of fear for lack of international awareness and caring. As Kony isn’t a dictator after resources etc, he is therefore easier for the international community to tackle abeit still with a serious lack of actual commitment.

        It does highlight two important movements in media and politics. How wired the world is and secondly how its sufficient to say ‘I Like’ to feel you have helped. Like the Occupy movements, political participation has really been feared out of the West if it looked like it might impact our daily facebook!

        Thanks for the suitcases comment. Presently in Colombia travelling and taking it all in.

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