A very unsettling factor of the United States of America, is how we portray other countries, specifically Africa. Now, I know what is is like to be stereotyped against since I have lived in Iowa my whole life and people tend to believe we drive tractors to school, but the way we describe and portray Africa is a very different situation. Like the professors stated within the discussion panel, Africa: A Diverse Continent, as a nation we work with other countries on a business level, but with Africa we deal with them on a charity level. This is so unsettling because it is true, why don’t we work with Africa on a business level, why do we portray Africa as this underdeveloped and poor country who needs our help? Africa is a well flourished country just like any other country, and as a society, we have been shown the extremes of Africa where some individuals are malnourished and homeless, but this is not just in Africa, this is everywhere. I think it is a great concept for those of us who want to help out the poorer portions of Africa with health care and even clothing, but on the business side of things, we need not think of Africa as a charity.
Above I provide pictures of a few cities in Africa that are well developed, the top picture is a picture of Nairobi, Kenya, the second picture is Cape Town, South Africa, and the last picture shown is Accra, Ghana. As you can see, Africa is not this under developed country that people believe it to be. When I was younger, Africa was always portrayed as this picture below:
A malnourished country who needed our help in order to survive, but why were we given this false information about the conditions the Africans lived in? Every country has parts of it where people choose to live a different lifestyle, or happen to be homeless. I think the initial pictures portray Africa as it really is; a flourishing and business oriented country. While i was reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde, I was able to acquire some knowledge on how the Africans performed business between different cities. Once Africans discovered camels, it was much easier to conduct business since it was now possible to travel to the Sahara desert. The Sahara soon became a place for communication, and the traders began packing goods and traveling around to different cities for exchanges. Essentially, goods from the northern portion of Africa were exchanged for goods that came from the southern portion of Africa since they could not acquire those goods from back home.
One thing i did found interesting while reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde was how he explained the traditional African society. It was interesting to learn that if someone wanted to have a spouse, or even obtain a career, it was deliberated upon by the group. So essentially the group decided if you got to do something or not. Something else that I thought was interesting was the amount of different ethnic groups within Africa. I figured Africa was a diverse continent, but Tunde provided a lot more ethnic groups then I could have imagined. Some of the ethnic groups are Bambara, Angola, Fulani, Asante, Hausa, and many others as well, a lot of people do not know how diverse Africa is, and this is another reason why this needs to be a required course for every college student.
The readings and the panel discussion really opened my eyes to a lot of different things that i did not know. It was sad reading that Africans dealt with cultural assassination; denial of african culture and civilization. People need to be exposed to this kind of information, I never knew that Africa was such a diverse continent or that in traditional African society, groups had primacy over an individual. This weeks information was a lot to take in, but it is very important. Africa is trying to change peoples views on their country, because it is not a dirty and homeless country. It is a well developed, business oriented country with parts of it containing malnourished and homeless people, which every country contains.