From what little I gather from the media and the wonderful world of the internet, it appears as if people’s perceptions of Africa are not all that clear. So today I thought I would give some first hand views of what it is like to be African (because the views of some sheltered middle class sixteen year old are so trustworthy, I know). Bear in mind that this has been written as a response to the way that my friends and I have seen Africa being portrayed in mostly American media and is in no way meant to offend anybody. Sadly, many of the stereotypes of Africa are true. There is poverty, hunger, rape and a very serious AIDS problem. I personally experience this on a daily basis as my car stops at a traffic light and I see hungry children begging for food. It happens every time we drive out of the city and see the masses of shacks. But I’ve had far too many depressing posts in the last while, so with my public service announcement out of the way I will move to the lighter side of Africa.
I am the whitest person I know. As in, people occasionally attempt to drive wooden stakes through my chest. So, if anyone reading this truly thought that you don’t get white people in Africa,then BAM! Colonization happened, people. I live in South Africa (which, as the name suggests, is in the South of Africa). I’m really not to certain what the international media is like, so to you my country could be non-existent, evil or awesome. Even if you’re not sure what South Africa is all about, perhaps you’ve heard of Nelson Mandela. I’m sure he’s famous everywhere. So, now that you have a familiar face to put to this place, let me continue.
There are NO wild animals running around. Granted, there was a story on the news this morning about a hippopotamus which escaped from a nature reserve, but I’m pretty sure that happens everywhere. Probably with alligators though. While we’re on the topic of animals, I have never ever used an animal as a mode of transport. EVER.
Another thing which may or may not come as a surprise to you is that we are connected to technology. Well, maybe not that much of a surprise since I’m blogging this, but us Africans do have internet. Which logically leads you to the fact that we have electricity. Television, movie theaters, malls. We don’t generally sit on rocks and do African-ny things in leopard print on Saturday nights.
So anyway, I just wanted to stop any of those stereotypes from creeping in on your perception of Africa. I sincerely hope they were not ture in the first place.