Here's Why All Misconceptions You Hear About Africa Are Wrong.

Forget about all the ill sayings you've heard from naysayers, this is the factual portrayal of Africa our beloved continent...

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The San Bushmen performing dance in Botswana's Kalahari desert.

Africa is the world’s most beautiful continent and according to a research by notable scientists, modern humans originated from Africa, therefore, making the continent the birthplace of humanity. Curious visitors who fell in love with the continent’s beauty gave it different nicknames some which include Mama Africa, the cradle of mankind, the dark and lovely continent, etc. This time I want to correct some major misconceptions held by those who’ve never set foot in Africa and perhaps they’ll be able to appreciate how much this stunning continent means to the whole world.

To start with, Africa is not one country but a huge continent with 54 sovereign nations. This misapprehension is widely held by people from the US who look at Africa as being made up of different states like the case with the US. In fact, Africa is the world’s second-largest continent after Asia with a massive size of 30.3 million km2 in addition to being the second most populated continent with more than 1.2 billion people calling it home. Unlike most continents, African countries are particularly distinct from each other with their own socio-cultural, political and economic reputation. So just like Asia, Europe, North and South America being continents so yes, Africa possesses all the essentials of a full continent.

The modern Africa: Sunrise over the city of Johannesburg with Nelson Mandela Bridge.
The modern Africa: Sunrise over the city of Johannesburg with Nelson Mandela Bridge.

It’s demeaning to use the word dark while describing Africa. I’ve read several articles denoting our gorgeous Africa as a dark continent because possibly such writers think that only dark-skinned people live here. Let me correct you, Africa’s inhabitants include blacks, browns, whites and people of other colours though the black (not dark) race is the largest. White Arabs dominate the northern region while the blacks are the majority within the sub-Saharan Africa though in certain countries people are distinctly light-skinned like in Rwanda, Botswana and Ethiopia. Intermarriages between blacks and other races originated the coloured (brown) people who are now significant race in Africa. There’s nothing dark or ominous about the lovely Africa and if you’re trying to refer to the skin colour as being dark, I think the above explanation caps it all. Africa is a continent of light and with all the sensations that happen here, it’s wrong for anyone to refer to it as a gloomy continent.

Though referred as the world’s poorest continent, Africa, in fact, is the wealthiest continent in terms of natural and human resources such that if they were well-managed in an efficient way, they’d make it the richest continent. Vast natural resources include gold, diamond, cobalt, oil, natural gas, copper, forests, fresh water sources, wild and marine life, fertile land, etc. In fact, most African economies are among the world’s top performers with a promising hope to match the global superpowers within the foreseeable future. The only problem is the poor management of these resources and the lack of modern technology to effectively utilise them due to inefficient leadership. An example is the DR Congo which has enormous unexploited minerals reserves and forests but it’s still the continent’s poorest.

Another misconception is that Africa is an illiterate continent and that might be true b’se the uneducated are everywhere but this shouldn’t conceal the fact that the continent is beaming with intelligent and well-educated people who’ve proved their competence to solve world problems. Statistics from UNESCO indicate that more than ten African countries have literacy rates of at least 80% and above and some of them include Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Seychelles, Gabon, Mauritius, Swaziland, Burundi, Botswana, Libya, and Cape Verde. Many prominent Africans have taken up very powerful positions on the global stage such as leading the United Nations, WHO, and many others. The continent has several institutions of higher learning among the top 100 best in the world and you shouldn’t be surprised to find multilingual Africans fluent in many global languages like English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and many others.

Even now, the colonial descriptions of pre-modern Africa still paint it as a retarded continent without modern developments. The gloomy periods of slavery, wars, epidemic diseases, droughts and famine, semi-naked tribesmen and other inhumane cultural practices are still some of the ugly stories in the minds of misperceivers. Well, if you were to travel to Africa one day, you’ll witness a lot of modern developments that are a trait of the 21st century. Forget all the imaginations of Africa being a huge bush or a huge forest but get to know that the continent is moving fast forward and catching up with the latest technology, impressive architecture, fashion and design, talents, entertainment and sports, etc.

Glorious sunsets, the amazing wildlife and landscapes define Africa's inner beauty.
Glorious sunsets, the amazing wildlife and landscapes define Africa’s inner beauty.

To assume something wrong about Africa without proof makes you an opponent of every African. Yes, Africa has got lots of predicaments but a lot of damage has always been and is still done to the continent by selfish visitants in form of missionaries and imperialists. The colonial rulers who conquered African territories by force in the 19th century left the continent in ruins and stripped it of its sources of pride. It is said that natural resources were plundered and native communities were left with nearly nothing and an example, in this case, was King Leopold II’s squandering of Congo’s wealth resources for his selfish interests.

Even now, Africans still languish in poverty because of the prevailing unfair global policies that limit African contribution to the world and these include movement of people, restriction on exports, technology, and medical supplies. In my opinion, if Africans were given the same opportunities like people from other continents, we wouldn’t be subjected to the relentless mockery or ridicule. For now, we can pride ourselves in the continent’s proved potential to keep sustaining us for many generations to come. From the fresh water resources in the vast lakes and rivers to the rich and fertile soils for large scale farming, Africa still has the exceptional potential to turn lives around.

Many visitors generally enjoy the continent’s special terrestrial scape marked by the glorious sunsets, the unspoilt wild and the gorgeous landscapes. They say, ‘he that has never set foot in Africa misses out on magical adventures and fun’ which is correct b’se there’s plenty of fun in whichever part of the continent you choose to visit. You may decide to either sunbathe or swim along the world’s most beautiful beaches or enter the dense equatorial wilds to meet the amazing inhabitants of the jungle. Africa is also home to many natural wonders of the world including the Pyramids of Giza, Victoria falls, Okavango Delta, the River Nile, and Mount Kilimanjaro! Have you ever thought of visiting them?

Then finally, Africa is a harmonious continent and you’ll realise that Africans are the most welcoming and peaceful people in the world. They let in strangers without intensely querying them, dine with them and even marry them because they believe in diversity and socio-cultural integration. You may fail to recognise the influence of a particular race in another continent but you won’t fail to meet non-African ethnicities anywhere on the continent. Africans generally love peaceable and friendly neighbours and will treat you with utmost care and kindness if you reciprocate, but what Africans generally hate is when strangers become exploitative.

Hopeful, some of this info has helped to dispell many unverified misconceptions about the lovely Africa. The continent’s hopes are still alive because of its growth potential as proved by its vast unexplored natural resources, its energetic and young population full of creativity, and the most pleasant climate not seen anywhere else on the planet. Remember, it’s not until you have seen it for yourself when you’ll come to realise that everything negative you heard about the cradle of mankind was just an absolute falsehood.

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