Misconceptions about Africa have spread through the west like a wild fire due to what is broadcast and published in the media on a day to day basis. This series of articles attempts to deal with common misconceptions about Africa. I am African and I have dealt with every issue I will address personally.
The following questions are real and have not been altered in any way for humor purposes or dramatic effect.
Identities has been omitted to protect the ignorant.
Africa: Geography 101
Q: "You're from Africa? My wife and I have been to that country …"
Africa is NOT country. Africa is a continent with 52 countries and cultures and languages too numerous to mention. This is a more accurate picture to have of it, rather than to consider it as one indiscriminate chunk. As a matter of Africans do not all get along. Many countries have conflicts with one another.
Q: "You're from Zambia? Do you know this guy Umpalumpa? He is from Sudan."
An African has a roughly 1 in 600 million chance of knowing the identity of another. Tim Kring who wrote Heroes, The Butterfly Effect, sums it up in an exchange between a westernener and an African character.
Usutu: "You come from America?"
Matt Parkman: "Yes, how did you-?"
Usutu: "Do you know Britney Spears?"
Matt Parkman: "… No."
Usutu: "She is from America."
Matt Parkman: "Yeah. America's a big place."
Usutu: "Yes. Africa is too."
Think about it …..
Q: "Hey Jumbo! Hakuna Matata!"
Since the "Lion King", westerners abandoned doing any research about Africa and regarded the movie as 1h 29 min summary of Africa. Timone, Pumba and Simba exacerbated the situation by singing "Hakuna Matata" in the movie causing non-African people to assume that Swahili is the universal language spoken by all Africans. Truth is, if you are not from Kenya or Tanzania you also heard it first in the Lion King. There are simply too many languages across the region for anyone to assume an African knows Swahili.