I can’t remember how many times I was asked this question, ‘Why Africa?’ I have been researching African politics and history for some time now and most cannot understand why I have the interest, the passion, and the curiosity for a continent that we seem to be complacent in describing as the ‘dark continent’.
Of course we have come a long way from the old Looney Tunes cartoons that portrayed Africa as this uncivilized, wild animal roaming free, mass of land that just takes up good space. The problem is we’re not fixing the misconceptions. We seem to be covering up the stereotypes instead of discussing and incorporating African cultures within our knowledge base. Our schools, understandably, teach European and American history, but we treat global cultures as if we are viewing them through a microscope.
My father traveled a lot, especially when I was a kid. One of the countries he visited was Mozambique. The pictures he took of his hotel and surrounding areas were gorgeous. There were palm trees everywhere and the skies were so blue. I was in the 4th grade and this was my introduction to the African continent. This view was vastly different from what I perceived of Africa at that time. As a kid, my view was of kids in loin cloths running around with spears hunting lions or something. These pictures showing a virtual oasis completely negated my view and created a life changing impression for me.
So I suppose, this was the beginning of my love for Africa.