Lately, I’ve been enjoying pushing boundaries quite a bit. It isn’t to upset anyone, of course, but having gone through a pandemic, why waste time sugar-coating things? From discussing stereotypical assumptions to talking about eating disorders, this space has definitely become a lifestyle corner. Well, today we are going to debunk the theories people have about Africa. And hopefully, I can replace them with a clearer image. If you are one of the millions who had incorrect views on the motherland, don’t worry. Not everyone was born with 20-20 vision. Hopefully, this will be the prescription you need to correct that blurred vision.
PS: I say all of this with love. The same kind of love your annoying sibling, who tells on you at every opportunity, has for you.
Africa is not developed
Did you think that Africa was just a third-world continent where everyone rode lions to ‘work’. And once they got to work, they would pull out their spears and stealthily sneak up on their prey? Maybe you thought that we live in little run-down shacks and share a wifi connection with the neighbourhood? If that Is what you thought, you are not entirely wrong.
I’ve had many fellow bloggers express surprise when I tell them that I am from, and currently based in Africa. Of course, my lovely peers are stunned by how close we have become over a shared passion. I mean, how often can you befriend people you’ve never met, on different continents? But I must admit the “you don’t think we have Wi-Fi in the jungle?” thought crossed my mind a few times.
Africa is a beautiful continent. There are, of course, several parts that need some love. But there are also many places that are extremely gorgeous. And if we are being completely honest, there is a reason why Africa is not as advanced as some major continents. But I will let your history teachers teach you about that.
It’s extremely unsafe
Yes, yes, you will be robbed at gunpoint if you frolic in South Africa. You might even become collateral damage while driving your car down the road. But isn’t that the same case anywhere else in the world if you choose to go to the wrong neighbourhood? Anywhere except for Japan that is. I heard the mafia serve the poor over there!
Having lived in Africa for the most part of my life, I have never actually been robbed, witnessed any shootings or anything of the sort. Some of you might say it’s because I blend in. If I’m being honest, that might just be it. But at the same time, knowing where you can and cannot go is key to living a long life. There are some very dodgy places here in Johannesburg, but I have never even driven through them. I mean, why would I? And by the same token, why should you?
I often hear about how scary South Africa is – mostly said by foreigners who have never visited. But as an African who has never been the the United States, I wonder if I’ll get shot for crossing the road in my own skin. It’s sad, and that is not something one should ever have to worry about. But it’s a global problem.
Africans aren’t smart
This may be the furthest assumption from the truth I’ve ever heard. In fact, some of the most intelligent people I know are Africans, with the rest being from other parts of the world. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t cared to learn more about my fellow Africans’ cultural norms. But what I have looked into is the educational system in many of the surrounding countries. My dearest kenyans – oh so smart. And the Zimbabweans with a stellar education – hats off to them!
Oh and here’s an interesting fact that I learnt from my peers; in Nigeria, having a bachelor’s degree isn’t good enough. Most elite entry level jobs expect you to have a Master’s degree if you are to stand a fair chance of getting hired. I’ve heard similar things about India as well, and yet in many parts of the world, high school graduates find their ways into the corporate world.
Of course, a university degree isn’t an indication of intelligence. But the point I’m trying to make is that in Africa, it is expected that you will get one and take care of your family. How is that for a standard?
Africa is a country
If you giggled at this one, I hate to burst your bubble. There are many people who still think that Africa is one big country. And it doesn’t matter how fast their internet connectivity is, they just can’t be bothered to Google it!
My dearest readers, this stab is not at you. But I felt obligated to add some facts to this section in case our extra terrestrial visitors stumble across my page.
There are 55 states in Africa, 54 of which are sovereign. We speak English, Portuguese and French depending on which country we are from. Further to the ‘national’ languages, there are over 2,000 tribal languages. By default, most Africans are bilingual at least, with most speaking an average of 3 languages.
Pretty cool, huh?
While my post is specifically on assumptions about Africa, it speaks to a bigger problem. We need to stop thinking that we are better than someone else because of the colour of their skin or the shape of their eyes. And we need to do so without it becoming an agenda supported by protests. So let’s stop assuming, judging, stereotyping, and hating.
It is one world, and it belongs to all of us.