Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Why dont they know anything about Africa?

We all hear stories about Africans being asked questions about the nature of Africa. I used to think some of this questions were made up, because they sounded plain ridiculous. Before moving to the US, at least I knew a few things about the country. I knew it was divided into a number of states, I knew they had different accents(True blood et al) depending on where you lived, I just had some sort of general idea of life here. Even though nothing could prepare me for the reality on the ground, the little knowledge I had helped, because not everything was a complete shock to me.

Apart from the very few Americans who have been to Africa, most of them do not know anything about Africa aside its warm climate. In 2013 you still have people ask you questions about whether you were living in huts or not, how come you could speak English having been in the US for only a month, whether you had cars in your country, and they still refer to the whole continent as a country. When they ask where you are from, they proceed to ask you if know another African from far away South Africa.

Sometimes I really do not blame them, because Africa has no media coverage here in the states, unless it is bad news. Even at that foreign media purposely chooses to display the worst parts of Africa, enforcing the idea that the whole of Africa is a slum/village with problems such as hunger, war and so on.

On the other hand, back in Africa, the media actually takes delight in airing foreign contents sometimes over local contents. I find that a lot of young Africans can recite the names and life history of all members of the Kardashian family, but cannot tell you the name of the local Member of Parliament. It is not surprising to find that more than 50% of what the local TV airs is foreign.

Is it that African content is not interesting enough to attract viewership? I have realized that if we do not tell our own stories, we find others doing it but it definitely wouldn't be the best.


  1. Nice piece and hell yeah you are absolutely right dear

  2. True talk.I tire for them o

  3. That's why I love ebony life TV on DSTV.
    Month Abudu is telling our own African story.
    ~Sexy Lawyer~

  4. A lot of people are so ignorant. I remember when I first arrived England, a white neighbour of mine was surprised I spoke fluent English, and he also asked me if I lived in a hut in Africa. Well, I don't blame people like him - Like you said earlier, there is no media coverage

  5. true talk!! a useless teacher here asked me if people walk around naked in Africa and if i came by plane, imagine the nonsense. i have lived in Nigerian all my life and am yet to see a sane person walking naked on the street.

  6. nawa 4 dem o....wic way na

  7. A week ago, while giving an african american a lesson on making farina, he asked me if we also used microwaves back home. According to him, 'they' thought everything was pretty 'basic' in the 'motherland'.
    It was quite hilarious, as was his surprise that Nigeria's linguafranca is English.

    He asked lots of almost-ridiculous questions, which woulda been offensive, if I hadn't understood that he's simply a nice young man, who didn't know a whole lot about Africa.

  8. Lol. My fiance's english neighbour Steve and I got along so well and used to gist a lot and then, one day he said, "I must commend you, you speak very good and fluent english and your vocabulary is amang!". I was stunned for a second before I responded, "Steve, I'm a lawyer in Nigeria. The justice system in Britain is the same in Nigeria as it emanated from the common law applicaple during the colonization of Nigeria- which is the reason EVERY Nigerian speaks relatively great english as long as they went to school and obtained a WAEC".
    I also explained that the lingus franca in Nig was English.
    He leaned back, his arms folded over his frame and said in wonder, "that explains it". Then he kept on endless questions about "Africa" while I did my best to describe and capture the true essence of NIGERIA.
    He was amazed and said he always thought of "Africa" as "really dark place".