I honestly forget that ignorance is a thing in this world and it surprises me when I’m confronted with it face to face. We’ve all had encounters with people who think Africa is a country, but some people genuinely think it’s just a baron wasteland with no technology, cities or modern day inventions and that just grinds my gears.
I remember one time on the field back when I did door to door charity I pitched an older middle class white man, everything was going well until he said that he doesn’t give to charities anymore. Naturally I was intrigued and ready to make a sale so I asked him why, and his response was because he found out that they actually have cities there – I wish I was making this up but he honestly thought the whole continent was a void of any more of technology or advancements.
As an African woman I was naturally quite offended, but I laughed it off because I didn’t have the energy to have an argument with an idiot. It then got me thinking about why people would think that, and I believe a big part of it is because of those adverts with the starving children everywhere being the only representation of Africa that they see. There’s also the fact that a lot of people don’t just don’t any Africans, so they see us as poverty stricken, unfortunate souls who need to be saved from the Western world.
Which also pisses me off, don’t get me wrong. I’m Somali, I’m painfully aware of the effects of colonialism on my own country and I believe most people of colour can safely say, if the colonisers never invaded us, we’d all be in a better, stronger more stable place.
That doesn’t take away the fact that we do still have innovation, we have cities, we have internet, we have rich cultures across the whole continent and people who are working on innovations constantly. We have architecture, in fact those pyramids that people love to look at – they’re in Egypt an African country. We have a rich history of different and nuanced architecture. The continent isn’t just a desert with animals running around and this view is really belittling of our continent and our people.The fact that I even have to write this makes me sad, but honestly, people need to stop looking down on Africa as a whole, we don’t need saving.