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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Top 10 Misconceptions About Africa.
Top 10 Misconceptions About Africa.
I am African, well I’m Namibian which is in Africa, so I
guess I can call myself African. I was born in Namibia, my parents were
born in Namibia, and even my grandparents were born in Namibia. I have
traveled to several countries in Africa and have done a lot of research
on the ones I have not visited, and I think I have a pretty clear idea
of how it is. I have always gotten very irritated with the ignorance of
some people and would like to tell at least a small part of the world
about the real Africa. Media has been a real disaster when it comes to
Africa, as they only show the arid deserts, people starving and animals
everywhere. If you have ever been deceived by these misconceptions,
blame the media.
Some people think Africa is a Country
Africa is not a country, but a continent. In fact it is the second
largest, and second most populated, continent besides Asia. Africa has
about 1 billion people and 61 different countries within it. So to end
this misconception& – Africa is definitely not a country!
Africa is a Desert
While there are a few deserts in Africa (like the Sahara Desert in
the North and the Namib Desert in the Southwest of Africa), large parts
of Africa, especially central Africa, are tropical rainforests. On high
mountains, like Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, are subarctic conditions.
Furthermore, large areas in Africa have savannah plains, which are
similar to prairies. So Africa is definitely not just a desert.
Africans Live in Huts
Many people believe that all African people live in mud and dung
huts. This is complete nonsense. There are buildings and towns and
cities in every country in Africa. If you were to google the capital of
any country you would be surprised by what you see. That is also not to
say that no people in Africa live in huts, as there are a lot of tribes
that still choose to live in their traditional villages in huts, but the
bulk of each country have become westernized and civilized. Even in
Africa you find those landscape spoiling skyscrapers and concrete
covered metropolises. [Pictured: Windhoek, capital of Namibia.
This misconception does hold a small amount of truth to it, but
nothing like what most people think. First of all, not all food in
Africa is strange. It is not difficult to find a KFC or McDonald’s in
many countries in Africa. There are restaurants where you can order a
nice and juicy filet steak, seafood, pizza, pasta, burgers and basically
whatever else you can think of. One of the most popular family meals in
southern Africa is a “braai,” which is just an ordinary classic
barbecue. In the more rural villages and tribes the people hunt for
their food and so eat mostly game meat and, on occasion, they will eat
certain types of worms, like the Mopani worm. It is impossible to find
these foods in the towns and cities, so if you were ever to come and
visit Africa, I doubt that you would even come across any of these.
I have been asked on so many occasions if I have a pet lion, or if
there are antelope outside my house. Well let me ask you – do you have a
pet bear??? Of course not, there are just as many wild animals walking
through my city at the moment as there are in New York. Wild animals are
kept out of towns and cities by the lack of food, habitat and fences.
The animals outside the cities and towns are completely wild and even
the select few people that have hand-reared a lion will tell you that a
wild animal will always be wild. So no, there are no wild animals
walking down the street… The only wild animals that are everywhere in my
town are the meerkats.
This one I always find very funny. People that I have conversations
with online are often shocked that I come from Africa and that I have a
computer. In one hilarious exchange I had a guy believe that I was using
a steam powered computer! Let me just put it like this: Africa has
almost everything the rest of the world has, we just get it a couple of
months later than everyone else. And no, we aren’t still stuck on
This is one of the most ridiculous ones I have ever heard. I think
Africa is the most diverse continent in the world as there are hundreds
of different languages spoken across it. Even just in my country,
Namibia, there are 20 national languages including German, Afrikaans,
English, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Portuguese, as well as the languages of
the Himba, Nama, San, Kavango and Damara. Every country in Africa has at
least five lesser languages as well as the common language, and it is
true that many of these languages have clicks in them, but they are
definitely not all the same language.
Let me just clear this bit of confusion immediately by saying there
are plenty. To prove my point I have chosen to use agoda.com to pull the
number of hotels they have from all the listed cities in South Africa.
The results were as follows : Johannesberg – 62, Cape Town – 84, Durban –
52, Knysna – 56, Port Elizabeth – 39, Umshlanga – 31, Nelspruit – 17
and Hermanus – 31.That is a total of 372 hotels in South Africa, and
considering those were just the ones listed on the one website I think
it is safe to say that there are plenty of hotels in Africa. And it is
very easy to land yourself in the lap of luxury in a Hilton hotel.
On this one I would like to admit that every country has its own
taste in toilets. I have traveled to a few countries and a toilet is a
thing that is as different as the culture. American toilets have a
tendency to be full of water, almost to the top. Italian toilets have a
platform at the front of their toilets with a small hole with water at
the back. The Thai toilets, in the more rural areas, are just like
squatting platforms with no bowl or seat. With that said, I would say
that southern Africa’s toilets are reasonably normal. They have a bowl, a
seat, and water, a little less water than the American and a little
more water than the Italians. There Are some pit latrines and long drops
in the desert, but those are mainly just for people that feel the need
to camp out in the middle of nowhere, but still don’t just want to squat
behind a bush.
For all those who believe that all African people are black, are all
American people Native Americans? Hundreds of years ago, European
explorers, conquerors and settlers traveled around the globe and
developed the land they settled on. This happened all over the world
including in North America, South America, Asia and Africa. The first
white people that settled in Namibia for example, were Portuguese and
did so over 400 years ago. Dutch settlers went to South Africa, French
settlers went to Angola, and so the white people in Africa grew in
numbers over the last 500 years. There are many white people in many
countries in Africa, but that’s not all, there are also a lot of Indian,
Chinese and Malaysians in South Africa. South Africa is known as the
rainbow nation, and rightly so. African is not a race!
Black is Black
I have, on several occasions, heard people say, when describing their
ethnicity, that they are (for example) 1/4 Spanish, 1/4 British, 1/4
Russian, 1/4 Black. That is incorrect as the first three races that they
mentioned are all white, so why generalize about your black genetics?
The Ovihimba people are as different as night from day compared to the
Herero people, and they are all black. In Africa you also have different
colors of black for the different tribes and different areas in Africa.
As an example, the Angolan people tend to be almost blue black in
color, whereas the San people are much lighter in complexion, more of a
dark tan color, and the Ovahimba people (above) pride themselves in a
reddish undertone. If you are black, or have some black genes in you, I
would advise you to find out more about your family history and where
your ancestors came from, than to generalize and say that you are just
Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa. Twitter: @african_school Web: www.africason.com Email: info(AT)africason.com Find my songs on iTunes, artiste name: Africason