Africa is Continent

My twins have a unique heritage of being born in the US to Nigerian parents and then growing up in Canada. There's at least 3 major cultures that they have to straddle and I have a few things to tell them, starting with...

Africa is a continent

My darling daughters,

As you grow older, you'll notice something about the way people talk about Africa in US and Canada. By default, a lot of people still talk about Africa in a black hole sense - dark, confusing and we don't know what's going on. The most infuriating example of this may be in church when they talk about missionary trips. "We're sending missionaries to New Orleans, Cambodia and Africa." Every other place gets to be a named town or city or country. Everything that encompasses Africa gets to be lumped under the dark umbrella "Africa".

Feel free to let people know that there are over 50 countries in Africa hosting 15% of the world's population speaking over 2000 languages with most people being bilingual if not multilingual

Feel free to let people know that there can be a third reason for visiting Africa aside from safaris and missions to save the hungry children. 

Yes there's poverty, but there's also a variety of amazing places whose beauty is only surpassed by the diversity of the people that live there and call it home.

To reduce mentions of Africa to the monotonous single story that one would use in reference to a small town or enclave is to embrace a blindness to the richness of the 1.1 billion people that make up 20% of the earth's landmass.

You are Africans. You are Nigerians. You are ambassadors. Your knowledge and your heritage are your power. Do not let the darkness of ignorance about your continent of origin overcome the light and knowledge that is a part of who you are.

love
your Yoruba mother from Ibadan




6 comments :

  1. Great post! I actually just finished a non-fiction book about Africa last night, 'Whatever You Do, Don't Run', by Peter Allison and I loved it! Africa sounds like a beautiful and fascinating place and I'd love to visit some day :)

    Finley Jayne
    http://finleyjaynesbookshelves.blogspot.com/

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    1. I think that I would have preferred is if you'd said that the book was about Botswana. I think that's kind of the point of the post.

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  2. I'm similarly divided between the US, UK and Bangladesh. I don't expect people to have heard of Bangladesh, so I always explain that it's next to India, but I'm shocked by how many people don't know where India is or try to argue that's it not in Asia. I once received a letter address to Sadia blah blah blah, Bangladesh, Africa. 1) Who puts the continent on mail and 2) Whaaa?

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    1. well, you never know when the postal service needs the name of a continent to locate the country 😉

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  3. Can I just say GOD BLESS YOU FOR THIS POST! I read a post over at tolovehonorandvacuum called "north american marriage vs african marriage". What pained me the most was that it was written by an african woman who should have known better than to lump all african countries into one header. A reader corrected them and they continued to insist that because they are "missionaries" they're allowed to
    Seems like the church community is very guilty of this. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2014/03/marriage-in-africa-vs-marriage-in-america/

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    1. I tried to read your linked article, but annoyance started gripping me so I just had to close the browser and walk away

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