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mary kariuki

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If you have NEVER been to Africa, when someone mentions "Africa" or you hear "Africa", what is the FIRST thing that comes into your mind?

People associate different regions/continent based on media, informational material, myths, stereotypes and such. The main idea of this discussion is to find out what people who never had "first hand experience" think about the continent. Thanks for your contribution.

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  • Mar 31 2013: 1st thoughts: People: black, colorful, poor; Land: hot and barren, or humid...lots of insects.
    2nd thoughts: corruption, tribalism, instability, violence

    I am well aware that these thoughts represent stereotypes and are not completely in tune with reality. After all, to put a single face on an entire continent is a pretty gross parody.

    In reality, I believe Africa to be an extremely diverse mix of people and culture,varying widely from region to region. However, in spite of this, I think that a couple of generalizations can apply to the African continent. First, I believe Africa in general is still suffering from the effects of colonialism. What effects? For example, the unequal distribution of wealth, political instability, etc.

    I also believe that Africa is seen by much of the rest of the world as a 'black hole.' Many don't really know, or want to know, what is going inside and are happy to remain that way. For example, Stephen Lewis, a Canadian who was a UN envoy to Africa, came back to Canada and wrote a book about his experience there. He got a little spot on the news, but now no one remembers his name. It just wasn't seen as important. Maybe if we were building a pipeline....

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