What do you know of Africa? How many countries are in Africa? Do you speak African? Does the black colour on your skin wash off? You speak English in Africa? You have planes in Africa? Do you own a pet lion? How did you get here? I hear Africa is Scary! African ladies are prostitutes! African men are drug dealers! Keep away from other Africans! How come you speak such good English, were you brought up outside of Africa? The only African I have seen is the advertisements on TV, of a child with a bowl, a fly on their eye, mucus flowing from their nose and the message asking for hand outs! Have you ever had Ebola! I hear HIV is prevalent in Africa! I will catch AIDS if I visit Africa! Africa is so dirty! Africans are really good dancers. I would really like to travel to Africa, but I hear its unsafe! Travel Warning to the following African countries! There are many diseases in Africa. People in Africa are poor. The wildlife in Africa is amazing. Your father allowed you to travel alone? You live in stone houses?t
The above and more are statements that were said to my face, word for word. These are part of my experiences from the road that I have come face to face or is it mouth to ear with. I couldn’t believe that Humans, fellow humans actually perceive Africa and its citizens as such, in this day and age. However with time, in some instances, I could not blame them, I blame the netsphere. Search the internet for anything about Africa and chances are, the top four out of five are negative. Turn on the news to African news, chances are four out of five of them are negative. Look up pictures of Africa and again, majority will be negative. I agree, ignorance is no excuse, but, why is there limited positive, honest news about Africa. It is because, the newsphere has a narrative it has to “sell”, a narrative it has to “keep”, a narrative that it has built its entity on.
I am ashamed to say this but, even as I had these engagements, I came to discover what a “negative bias”, even I had picked up on Africa. Why was I travelling mainly beyond Africa, yet knew very little about “my people” and my continent? Had I also been “brain washed”? You could easily ask me about the GDP of a foreign country beyond the African Borders and I would have it on my fingertips. You could ask me about their history, everything from the British tea party, to where queen Elizabeth was when her father died, leaving her the throne and I wouldn’t even flinch before I answered. You could ask me to name five presidents of several countries beyond Africa and I would respond instantly. Flip the notes and ask me about the current sitting presidents of most African countries and I would stumble. If asked to pinpoint various African countries on an unmarked map, I would be clueless. If asked what experiences one could enjoy in Africa beyond the Safaris, it would take a minute to really identify one, let alone two. This my people, is the reason I consciously decided to delve more into my continent Africa. It would be unfair of me to point fingers yet, even I, a consumer of the ‘all negative news”, offered no “alternative information.”
I opted to not complain from the sidelines but to discover as much as possible about Africa, via travelling Africa more. I started it as a personal project, all for my knowledge and consumption, but later decided to share it with all, so as to reduce the ignorance in the “netsphere’ and the “streets’. I am a believer that “Change Begins with Me ” and thus how the project, “Exposing Beautiful Africa” started. All the information I share is from my actual experiences, both good and bad. I plan to visit every country in Africa, not to get an immigration stamp, but, to explore, experience, learn and thereafter share with you all. There is no one African culture, so sit back and enjoy the diversity that is Africa and its people on “Exposing Beautiful Africa ” , lets explore together.