Africa - Demystifying The Myths
- 11 Posts
- Age 24
It is disturbing how misconstrued the perception of Africa is in the West. When people think of Africa, most think of disease, war, famine. We are rarely thought of in a positive light - very few people think beaches, beautiful culture, breathtaking infrastructure, investment hub. I don’t know who to blame for portraying us in such a negative light - news outlets, the education system or just plain ignorance?
It’s 2016 folks, you would think that by now everyone has already grabbed an atlas and confirmed that Africa is indeed a CONTINENT and not a country, right?
Wrong. Think again. In case you are too lazy to google or consult an atlas let me educate you: Africa is a continent three times the size of America, the home of four of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, with 55 countries and at least one billion people speaking more than 2,000 languages.
Africa is NOT a country.
It infuriates me - gross understatement - when people put up tweets like:
“On a safari in Africa”
“Just landed in Africa”
“Feeding the poor in Africa”
It absolutely makes we want to pull out my hair yelling “WHERE IN AFRICA??!”
When there is civil war in Burundi - Africa! A terrorist attack in Kenya - Africa! An Ebola outbreak in Liberia - Africa! When there are terrorist attacks in France, do people tweet with #prayingforEurope or #prayingforParis? My point exactly.
We do not live in trees - I know right? Shocking. Believe it or not, some people still think that Africans are primitive creatures who live in the jungle and spend their days feeding giraffes and hunting lions with spears and arrows. Africa is not all savanna and animals. We have houses - slums, apartments, bungalows, mansions. Roads, superhighways, bridges, airports, malls - you will find all this infrastructure in any African country. We are civilized, folks!
We are not always at war. If there is a war in the Central African Republic, that does not mean there is also war in Lesotho - two different countries, miles apart. So when people say things like “Don’t go to Africa, they are fighting”, what exactly does that mean? Please do not punish an entire continent for your ignorance.
Africans have no access to technology - eerm, M-Pesa anyone? Kenya is home to the fastest growing mobile money transfer platform in the world! By 2014, 82% of Kenyans owned mobile phones. Kenyans on Twitter, commonly known as “KOT” have been single handedly responsible for making major news outlets such as CNN change unfairly scathing headlines to more appropriate ones. Africans are incredibly tech savvy, why else would Google, Microsoft, Samsung and other tech companies have offices on this continent? Oh, and now the whole continent has Netflix too!
We are not all dying from malaria, HIV/AIDS or some other disease - I promise you. These diseases may have caused us nightmares in the past but we have since learned to manage and control them. In Kenya, we manage malaria for instance by using treated mosquito nets. Community education on HIV/AIDS has greatly aided in reducing stigma and it has rectified misconceptions of the virus. We also have VCTs - Voluntary Counseling and Training Centers - that make it easier and more convenient for people to know their status.
Our continent is not all doom and gloom. Visit us sometimes before judging us too harshly.