Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Singular Africa

Why, oh, why is Africa a single place? The enourmous land mass and lack of authoritative first world power may make the collective logical, but too often we then treat the whole as a whole and not the sum of it's parts. I think we Americans cannot take Africa seriously, as an educated people, because there is no government of Africa and, therefore, we can only see the collective.

Who can name more than 10 countries on the contient? I'm not talking Ceuta and Djibouti. But news outlets often collectively refer to Africa in war or starvation stories, but separate Egypt, Lybia and South Africa. There are over 154 million people in Nigeria and I can't locate it on a map. How criminal!

So, I propose we stop the collectivism. That, through word choice, we singularly identify each country we mean and, thus, provide a singular identify for each country. People may travel to Africa, but visit Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, just as travelers go to Europe, but visit France, Spain and Portugal. Nigeria is in the top 20 petroleum producers, is a member of OPEC and has 37th highest world GDP. Botswana has had peacefull elections to its representative democratic government Each country has its own identity, its own culture and its own topography that, least of all, it deserves to uses its own name.

For learning the countries of the continent, try the map-subject-game at Free Rice.com


1 comment:

Barry said...

Very good point. I discovered I could name 10 countries, but not 11 out of the 54. Although my wife is the geographer in the family, I still think my result was pathetic.

On another matter, a good guide to doing genealogical research in Canada can be found at: http://collectionscanada.ca/genealogy/022-600-e.html