The Celebrity Scramble for Africa

The 1884 and 1885 meetings in Berlin of Euro-American powers to divide up the riches and territories of Africa are being reprised. By and for celebrities.

George Clooney promoting one of his films (Melanie McDermott).

The American magazine, Mother Jones, magazine has an interactive map up which divides up the African continent  by which celebrity claims which country. The map was compiled by Dave Gilson, a senior editor at Mother Jones.  In the short write-up that accompany the map, Gilson writes that “… oversized shades have replaced pith helmets, but the new scramble for Africa has its share of adventurers, would-be saviors, and even turf battles.”  He quotes to Madonna’s publicist saying: “She’s focusing on Malawi. South Africa is Oprah’s territory.” You can click through the map here.

It also comes with a timeline tracing celebrity involvement in humanitarian causes since 1984 when Bob Geldof first got British pop artists together to perform a song for the starving Ethiopians.

Some of the map highlights: Clay Aiken claims Somalia, Sudan is a loaded clash of egos (George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow and Dave Eggers), while Angola apparently belongs to Alyssa Milano and the late Lady Diana. Finally, the music mogul Russell Simmons and reality TV personality Kim Kardasian claim Botswana and Matt Damon claim Zimbabwe. Just click on a country and the names of the celebrity that have claim over it.

Here’s a sense of what you’d see:

Further Reading