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These Are The Africans Who Actually Like Donald Trump — Really

Proof that the Trump Effect literally knows no boundaries.

Posted on March 29, 2016, at 1:33 p.m. ET

Donald Trump has fans in Africa. Not many, but still — actual supporters. Like this bit of Trump love coming from a Nigerian website.

It’s unclear what Trump himself thinks of any of Africa’s 54 countries other than one is “very dangerous,” while the rest are "far away" and brimming with deadly diseases. Also Barack Obama was born somewhere there, but is faking American citizenship.

Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

So why does a candidate whose supporters scream “white power” online and call for black Americans to return to Africa at rallies appeal to anyone ~in~ Africa? Do they secretly hope the motherland will benefit from a black exodus? / Via

The Igbos welcome you, Jay Z!

Some of Trump’s rhetoric resonates among Africans watching the American election who are facing many of the same insecurities as those in the U.S. Firstly there’s the fear factor. Witness Trump’s take on South Africa. It may sound familiar to many.

I really like Nelson Mandela but South Africa is a crime ridden mess that is just waiting to explode-not a good situation for the people!

It convinced at least 76 people in South Africa to sign up for the #SouthAfricaForTrump group on Facebook, which “caters for people who support free thinkers like Donald Trump.”

In this fan club's worldview, we're all hurtling toward a bloody showdown between Christian crusaders and ISIS-type radicals. Which is why Trump’s response — a no-nonsense “bomb the shit out of them,” then grab the oil approach — is appealing.

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BuzzFeed has reached out to Shane Ryan Brody, the group’s creator, and other members for comment.

Trump also taps into the type of populism politicians spew everywhere, promising to upset the status quo.

AP Photo

“At first we thought: Trump is an evil man,” said Joseph Juma, 34, from Kenya, who used to post “very negative” comments on Trump’s Facebook page.

That changed, Juma said, when he read a speech in which Trump allegedly promised to kick out long-time regional rulers Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe for their “dictatorial tendencies.”

The supposed speech came just as a corruption scandal erupted in Kenya. “Then I realised Trump is just a patriotic American trying to play a unique type of politics. He doesn’t pretend like most of the world politicians,” Juma said. “I really like Mr. Trump and so do many poor and oppressed Kenyans here – we would like to see him deal decisively with corrupt leaders.”

There’s no evidence Trump actually pledged to remove any African leaders, though the alleged speech is still making the rounds online.

But there’s a grand irony in even imagining Trump overturning autocrats, given that he actually shares their classic personality traits. Call it the African strongman complex, or the Latin American “caudillo."

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There's the constant self-aggrandizement. Bullying critical media. The calls to use "far worse" forms of torture against enemies than the U.S. already does.

For some, like Christian Ebere Nwamadu, 28, who runs the "Donald J Trump For President – Nigerian Supporters" Facebook page, it's no bad thing for an aspiring president. "I admire Trump for his non-mincing of words. He's outspoken and throws the truth like a bomb," Nwamadu told BuzzFeed News by phone from Lagos.

But its appearance in the U.S., in the form of Trump, is a new — and worrying — phenomenon. “I knew Africa’s despots…and I’m not laughing, I’m terrified,” Herman Cohen, a former U.S. ambassador and assistant secretary of state, told BuzzFeed News.

Diplomatic Courier / Via

During 38 years across Africa with the foreign service, Cohen held court with many of the strongmen who seized power after independence swept across the continent.

To Cohen, Trump mostly recalls Mobutu Sese Seko, former dictator of then-Zaire.

Stf / AFP / Getty Images

“It is the self-perpetuated cult of personality: Trump puts his name on ties, towers, and vodka; Mobutu put his likeness on huge billboards, Zairean currency, and shirts,” Cohen said.

“And it is paternalism. Trump calls American voters 'stupid,' as if we don’t know what’s good for us, a view also held by Mobutu about his own people. The African strongmen I knew, and Mobutu in particular, regularly saw themselves as fatherly figures to a childish populace, a necessary 'chief' providing guidance to the weak.”

Cohen pointed out a crucial difference: "Americans, unlike Africans [then], have a choice."

As in the U.S., some cite Trump’s avowed conservative Christianity as a good enough reason to wish him well at the elections, which is no surprise on the world’s most religious continent.

Ghanaian pastor Samuel Asante Beecham holds daily prayer sessions urging God to grant Trump the presidency, in part because he’s unlikely to “legalize gay marriage, which is bad.”

Brian Frank / Reuters

"Trump is a god-fearing man who is promising to make Christianity strong in America. We know there are a lot of Muslims creeping into the U.S. doing bad things. And this same ISIS wants to destroy Africa, too," he told BuzzFeed News from Accra.

You can also see this kind of thinking mirrored in the way some Alabama Trump supporters approach complex issues affecting their fellow Christians in Africa.

Hardline conservatives and religious zealots aren't rare in Africa, but the ones who share Trump’s views enough to put up with his other…qualities are. There’s no hard data, but many probably agree with “Dumb Trump," a popular song in Ghana.

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And for all the problems African countries do also face…

As I have long been saying, South Africa is a total - and very dangerous - mess. Just watch the evening news (when not talking weather).


...South African satirist Zapiro has nailed the response of most on the continent tuning into the election:

Zapiro / Via

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.