White Savior Barbie To The Rescue: The Problem With Voluntourism In Africa


This is considered a clear picture of the ills of Volunteer work cum tourism in Africa. Many time westerners play on the cliche that Africa is constantly in need. But on the other hand, their volunteer works are not as sincere as they claim. That is where the White Savior Barbie comes in. To satirize these ’empty’ volunteer works by some westerners.

The white Savior Barbie launched its Instagram account last month. The account was reportedly created by 2 white women in their 20’s. Both women who have refused to disclose their identity have had work experience in East Africa. Together they formed an NGO under the name, ‘Barbie Savior.’ The idea is to help provide drinking water for East African locals. The account currently has over 18, 000 followers. The account is geared towards exposing the superficiality of ineffective and short-term volunteer works in Africa.

Setting off a Barbie Campaign to that effect on Instagram, selfies and ‘slumfies’ of Barbie were uploaded. The creators of the white Savior Barbie in Africa funnily used Barbie pictures to juxtapose western volunteers and the opposing essence of what they set out to do in the first place. The account brilliantly mocks westerners who flaunt racial supremacy in a naive or pretentious way.

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Hilariously evident in some of the captions is the naivety of some western voluntourists. With a photo caption that reads-


Who needs a formal education to teach in Africa? Not me! All I need is some chalk and a dose of optimism. It’s so sad that they don’t have enough trained teachers here. I’m not trained either, but I’m from the West, so it all works out. Good morning, class!!

One would guess or conclude rather that Africa is the land of mediocre, where teachers have no formal education. The satire was suggesting that just because white Savior Barbie (representing western volunteer workers) is from the west makes it automatically okay not to be trained to teach. This is a metaphor of the attitude and belief of some western volunteers in Africa.

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The 2 creators of the Savior Barbie set this platform on the move because they believe that the harsh aspect pf African realities are taken for granted. They believe they are exploited to perhaps boost personal profile via selfies in the “slum of Africa”, and uploaded on social networks. Many have seen reasons with the White Savior Barbie campaign and have shown patronage on Instagram.

“If you’re offended by the account then you’d better be offended by the real accounts who actually display this behavior in all authenticity. That is the real offense.” – Savior Barbie Creators

White savior barbie

White savior barbie

White Savior Barbie