Germany’s foreign office has come under fire after taking aim at Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s tour of Africa using an unpopular generalisation about the continent.
In a tweet, Germany’s foreign office had said: “The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is in Africa, not to see [leopard emoji], but to bluntly claim that Ukraine’s partners “want to destroy everything Russian”.”
Many were angered by the suggestion that Africa’s wildlife was the only thing worth bringing the Russian envoy to the continent.
Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson to the African Union chairperson, wondered whether “the continent of Africa, its people and wildlife is a joke to you?”
Kalondo noted that German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recently visited the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia. “Did she come to see animals?” she posed.
“How many times should we tell you that Africa is more than seeing wild animals?” Kofi Yeboah tweeted.
“Using terrible stereotypes of Africa (“Africa is a vast landscape of wild animals in the bush”) to score a geopolitical upper cut to an adversary in a European war will not win you any African friends,” added Zainab Usman.
On Wednesday, Germany agreed to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. For some time, it had resisted internal and external pressure to supply their tanks to the country.