VICTORIA (CUP) — There are lots of misconceptions about the varying situations on the continent of Africa. By looking at some of these misconceptions, people can become more informed and have a more accurate perception of Africa as a whole, as well as of the unique countries within it.
Africa is one homogenous place
Africa is often referred to as one place, as though the massive continent is so similar that a distinction between countries and cultures is not required.
Africa has a total of 54 countries covering 21 percent of the earth’s land-surface. There are over 2,000 languages spoken on the continent, and culture, tradition, architecture and history vary considerably from independent country to independent country.
The problems of Africa are a result of Africans fighting Africans
This misconception fails to recognize the severe current and historical impacts of colonization, racism and international political and economic conditions. The selective representation of issues in specific regions of Africa by the media is one of the reasons for the disproportionate focus on negative images of Africa as a whole.
Check out the BBC documentary Africa: Who’s to Blame? for a more complete picture of how the continent came to its current condition.
Africa, in its entirety, is poor, disease-ridden and war-torn
Of the 54 individual countries, only six countries are actually in the midst of conflict. There are numerous beautiful, conflict-free countries, such as Ethiopia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, just to name a few. There are thriving cities, economic and political stability and improving health conditions in many regions.
We can’t do anything to improve the conflict situations in Africa
Being informed and perpetuating positive images of Africa is very powerful and there are many amazing and passionate non-governmental organizations making a difference as we speak. You can help as well by fighting African stereotypes and misconceptions with the truth.