What do you think of when you hear the name Africa? Most Africans will probably mention words like: home, family, good weather, good music and all positive things that is to mention about their African countries. The western world is more likely to associate poverty, war, corruption, safaris and so on. And sadly a lot of African descendants are likely to do the same and create the wrong stereotypes. African descendants are African Americans, Afro-Caribbean’s, Afro-Latinos and so on. Unfortunately they are also led by the images of Africa that are projected to western world and it seems to be one of the main reasons why there is much division within black communities.
Another wrong assumptions that non-Africans and a large number of African descendants is that Africa I one and the same. The fact is though Africa has been one of the poorest countries in the world, the economic growth over the last 10 years has been the greatest to such an extent that it surpasses that of East Africa. Also, Africa has about 54 countries. There is no possibly way that each country is the same. Americans consider New Yorkers different as people from Los Angeles, how much more is Kenya different from Senegal? There is an interesting article on This is Africa entitled: What will finally shatter African stereotypes? I would recommend you to read it and discover more interesting wrong perceptions the world has of our nation.
The truth of a matter is that as long as the images of war, poverty and hunger are projected in the media, we will never lose the negative image that the world has of Africa. There are plenty of Africans who are extremely successful in Africa and in the western world. However, I don’t think that black people will do Africa a favor if they don’t acknowledge their origin and heritage. For example if an Afro-Caribbean doesn’t want to be associated with Africans, it is a perfect example of self-hatred. African descendants in America have urged themselves to use the term: African American to articulate their origin. It might be an idea for Africans in other countries to do the same. At least to start an awareness of origin.
How have you experienced your surroundings as to how they think about Africa? And how do you think you can contribute to building a more positive image?