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5 Misconceptions About Africa

Africa emerges as one of the continents that civilization is rooted in its origin, without influence from other nations. John Henrik an African-American historian once said: “the first light of human consciousness and the world’s first civilization was in Africa”. However, several theories and historians dispute Henrik’s school of thought.

Many theories have penned down various conceptions about Africa which have conformed the mind of many into seeing Africa in an image which in reality is just a mirage. Here are some of the conceptions about Africa debunked:

Africa is riddled with diseases
Over time, Africa has been reported as a continent riddled with diseases. These reports have led people outside of Africa to have the notion that Africa is a disease-plagued continent. In 2001, George W. Bush said of Africa, “Africa is a nation that suffers from terrible disease”. Africa as every other nation has a disease that plagues its inhabitants but this itself is no proof that the continent harbours all kinds of diseases. Citing malaria as an instance, malaria takes millions of lives each year in Africa not because of the disease breeds in the air but because of a lack of access to childhood immunization and basic health care.

Nevertheless, battling Malaria has been a relentless effort in various countries in Africa and as such, more immunization programs and health care have been put in place to eradicate malaria. Moreso, Africa holds one of the world’s top continents that possesses natural medicine that cures illness.

Africa is always hot
Most travellers assume that it is always hot in Africa. True, there are certain countries in Africa that experience hot weather compared to other nations specifically countries situated in tropical West Africa. However, this doesn’t occur all year round. Africa is made up of rainforest, temperate woodland, cool coastal peninsulas, and high altitude mountains. Also, in the depths of the Sahara desert, the temperature becomes freezing at night. There are many countries in Africa during the winter that experience snow. Countries such as; South Africa, Morocco, Lesotho, Tunisia, and Algeria.

All Africans are dark-skinned
One of the most rampant stereotypes that people have of Africans, is that all Africans are dark-skinned. This ideology is untrue. Africans have different skin pigments and possess distinct shades of skin that cut across various tribes in various regions around the continent. Over time, people from other continents have migrated into Africa and as such mixed with Africans, making it their home and marrying into the African tribe. This has been in existence for generations and as such the descendants from these people have settled in the continent. A major example is South Africa. Some of the locals (Afrikaans) in South Africa are whites. Black is a race, it is not just associated with the colour of the skin.

Africa had no civilization in its history
Certain historic theories in the past have noted that Africa, before the Europeans’ influence, were barbarians. One of such popular historian is T. Carlos Jacques. In his book, “From Savages and Barbarians to primitives: Africa, Social typologies, and history in Eighteenth-Century French Philosophy,” he likened Africans as people of the stone age and painted a picture of them as barbarians and uncivilised humans. With these theories, people have developed the notion blacks were slaves and uneducated since the beginning of time, but with much pride this is false. African historians and other historian scholars have dug deep to discover that Africans were indeed educated and exposed. The ancient Moors and the Carthaginians who were Africans once ruled the markets of commerce in the world and built great empires with their knowledge of Art and Architecture.

All African countries are poor
Poverty is one of the problems many African countries struggle with. However, not all African countries are wallowing in poverty. Africa is one of the world’s most rich continents with natural resources which includes Gold, crude oil, coal, and cocoa amongst others. Countries like Botswana, South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco rank in the top 100 out of 126 richest countries in the world as of 2019.

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