9 Stereotypes About Africa Every Traveler Should Completely Ignore

Africa is one of the most misunderstood and underrated regions in the world. The continent that is often mistaken for a country. The number one place people think of when the word poverty is mentioned. The region of the world where people know more about its animals than the locals there. One might wonder “why on earth should I visit a country in Africa?” “I’ve watched the Lion King I know what Africa is all about”.  “I don’t want to see poor people… I don’t think Africa is worth my money.”

Think again.

1. “Africa is barren”

Excerpt: Sierra Mountaineering club

Barren is the last thing you would want to call many African countries.  Africa houses some of the most jaw dropping natural wonders of the world. It is a continent with 54 countries, filled with a vast array of distinct terrains. Some honorary mentions:

Africa has a spectacular weather whereby most of its countries have only two seasons-Wet and Dry. The weather and fertile lands allow for Africa’s abundance in natural resources.

2. “Africa is boring”

Excerpt: King of Wallpapers

Have you heard of the Mansa Musa (once the richest man on earth) or Ibn Battuta (the most traveled man on earth) or the University of Timbuktu (the first and oldest university in the world) or Faiyum, Egypt (one of the oldest cities in the world) or heroine Aminat of Zaria  or Wole Soyinka (Africa’s First Nobel Laurette) or Kofi Anan (Africa’s greatest diplomat of all time) or Nelson Mandela? Need I say more?

Have you read the interesting history of Ghana or learned about the Maasai people of Kenya, Himba people of Northern Namibia, The Fulanis, and the Tuaregs?  Or tried sweet Dodo (Fried plantain) or spicy Thieboudienne or scrumptious Konafa or delicious Bobotie?

One could continue all day listing interesting things from Africa.

3. “The most interesting thing about Africa are the animals”

Excerpt: The Loft Cinema

Thanks to documentaries, movies, and cartoons; there is a general perception that the most interesting thing about Africa is its animals. Another misconception is that wild animals run about in any African city. Sure, in some places you will see domestic chickens, cats or dogs. These wild animals that you see on television are either in a game reserve, zoo, or their natural habitat. While it is fascinating and informative to know about our fellow living beings, it would also be equally interesting to learn about the people living there.

4. “Africans speak Afrikaans”

Excerpt: Afropolitan

There are 54 countries in Africa with over 1000 languages spoken. However, most Africans can speak at least: English ( the official language in 28 African Countries), French (26 African Countries), Arabic (16 African Countries), Portuguese (6 African Countries), and Spanish (1 African Country).

5. “Africa is black”

A general myth is that Africans have only one look. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Africans come in all skin shades, facial features, hair textures, and body figures.

6. “Africa is uncivilized”

Dar es Salaam- Excerpt: Rovos Rail

Attracting many investors like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg,  Uber, Netflix, China etc. Creating solutions to problems through companies such as BRCKDangoteMubserSaphon EnergyCardio Pad etc. No more needs to be said….

7. “Africa is dangerous”

This might hold true for some places in Africa but the same could be said about many American, European or Asian cities. Just like with any new place one is visiting, one should do some intensive research on the political stability of the area and more.

8. “Africa is poor”

Excerpt: Answers Africa

“Let’s help the children in Africa” is a statement that is mentioned all too often. The images of African citizens living in huts or eating under nourished food while sitting in squalor as the “The UNICEF fly” perches on a child’s mucous-running-face comes to most of our minds. It is true that there is poverty in Africa as in many parts of the world; however, there are middle-class citizens and billionaires. “Africa is poor” is a not a nuanced statement. More correctly, it is a continent with a “tale of two cities“. We are only shown one side of the story.

9. “Africa is sad”

Excerpt: parable.co.za

Although Africans face their own difficulties, the people create a way to make themselves happy. They share this happiness with family, friends, and strangers.

Africa is definitely not for everyone, but if you are open to new things and have an adventurous soul; you would be glad you visited a country in Africa.

This article is written by Kareemah Ashiru from hijabglobetrotter

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