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Toxic Misconceptions about Africa

There are many misconceptions about Africa that persist in the Western world, I realized this more over time after I migrated to Germany 6 years ago.

I still remember the first time I was straight up asked, 'oh you're from Kenya? Erm, how come your are not black?' not once, twice or five times this happened. Or even when, I visited a friends family in Hungary who kept insisting on me saying a sentence in the 'clicking language'.

So to start, first toxic misconception is that Africa is a single, monolithic entity. In reality, Africa is a diverse and complex continent made up of 54 countries and thousands of different cultures, languages, and traditions. Each country in Africa has its own unique history, customs, and traditions, and it is unfair and inaccurate to lump all of Africa into one homogenous group.

Now another toxic misconception which I'm certain you have seen in all these ads, you know the ads? The ones with the malnutritioned babies with 'flies on their faces'? Trevor Noah does the best skit on this, here. Now while there is certainly poverty and economic challenges in many parts of Africa, it is not an accurate representation of the entire continent AT ALL. Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world and many African countries are making great strides in education, healthcare, and technology. Get it right.

Let's move onto the actual map of Africa, have you ever taken a closer look and thought that it looks small? No, never? To my surprise, its shape and size is actually distorted on many world maps! That's right, you heard me. When in reality, Africa is the second largest continent in the world.

Here, have a look:

source: Visual Capitalist

To add up, by educating ourselves and learning more about the rich and varied cultures of Africa, we can help to dispel these toxic misconceptions and promote a more accurate and fair understanding of the continent.



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