Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.Pretty sage advice.
Snark aside, it does highlight something I'm currently wrestling with, as I continue to work on this: how do you write about Africa? Do you write about it at all or just tell the story you're telling? How do you approach the complicated legacy and tangled connections we have to that place? It's one of the things I want to unravel in my work, because I want to unravel it in my life. Figuring out where to start is key. And, to be honest, the piece in Granta helps. It helps to remember that it's a large, complex, complicated place and there is no one story of Africa, no one legacy to wrestle with. I can pick at my little part of it and see where it takes me.
Just as long as I leave out the monkey brains.