Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annoying people who think Africa is a country

I was reading a blog that asked the question "what's your ideal mission trip", and can I just say how disgusted and annoyed I was by the many people who talked about "going to Africa to help AIDS orphans". Seriously. Like Africa is one big deserted country with poor AIDS orphans walking around who are all just waiting for the kind hearted American from wisconsin to come and save them from the perils of life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a bit of a rant because this issue really really really annoys me. I'm not saying that there aren't kid in some countries who have lost both parents to HIV and who are now in dire straits. And I'm not denying the incredibly large burden on disease and illness that many African countries bear. I'm not disputing the fact that there are people in some countries who are starving and whom may not know where their next meal is coming from. But really, this generalization is so so annoying!

I know that I'm fairly ignorant about a lot of places and a lot of things, but seriously, is some one really wants to go and save a few poor African kids, at least give them the curtesy of knowing which country they live in.

Ok. Rant done for now.


  1. Ahn ahn Obla yoo why now? lol. You have to realize that for a lot of people the concept of Africa being 54 countries or so is hard to grasp.

    I looked at a random map where America, Russia and Europe were superimposed onto it and it was astounding to realize just how large the continent really is. I know it buttresses your point about Africa being large so generalizations shouldn't be made but it's hella easy to do. Americans don't even know about their own country so what makes you think they'll know about some random continent 3000 miles away? I stopped being annoyed about it long ago. Not worth the aggro and people are just too stupid and ignorant. Even worse, they don't want to bother to learn.

    And your point about Africa being one big deserted country with AIDS orphans waiting to be saved...*ahem* again, thank the effects of poverty p**n. (I so love that That's the image that has been fed to the West and this is the result.

    I know I'm playing devil's advocate here but this trend ain't gonna change anytime soon.

  2. welcome to the club of overly sensitive africans who are unapologetic of their sensitivity to such issues.....

  3. kai, madam, you've reminded me of this film i watched yesterday. will be blogging about this subject at some point soon.

    it's easy to not be happy when some issues that are big cases in a couple of African countries ultimately become a issue that is supposedly over Africa. In one case, we as Africans should look out for each other and work to solve these problems but we don't also want to be associated with it. That's okay and understandable.
    In the same way, we have what we call internal racism, where some Africans can't see the goodness in other African countries (maybe because of jealousy) or the same 'Africa is not a country' syndrome comes into play even in these good cases.

    Anyway, Africa is not a country, it is a continent with many diverse countries. And since we are neighbours, we can't dodge these scenarios but we'll be quick to remind y'all that we ain't the same people, either.

  4. Its left for us Africans to prove otherwise...simple!

    I've gotten old and tired of these ignorant Americans.

  5. It's a tough line to walk sometimes isn't it? On one hand, Africans tend to be good friends especially when we're not in our native countries. Sort of like attracting like in that scenario. But on the flip side, we insist on being recognized as different from other africans. I dont think these are mutually exclusive. They dont have to be. But I guess we should think a little more deeply about pan-africanism, nationalism and the links between the two. Really, its hard to be a proud X when all around you and sometimes even within you in pure chaos, confusion etc. Who then can blame strangers for painting everyone with the one easy and most common brush? And especially when other Africans go and make annoying and ignorant comments about Africa.......but that's another conversation.

    I think we need to take ownership of the images we allow the world to have of us......we cant always blame people for their ignorance (no matter how annoying it is) if we dont take the steps to change that ignorance.