Africa: A Force of Nature
I’m from Nigeria, in case you haven’t figured that out yet, the most populated black nation on Earth, with over 140 million people; based on the report from the last (controversial) census – encompassing an area of about 923,768 square km, which for the benefit of my American friends is roughly 356,669 square miles; which is quite large. Not as large as the US, but at least larger than Texas. Nigeria is located on the coast of Western Africa, bordered in the North by Niger Republic, in the East by Chad and Cameroun, the South by the gulf of Guinea, and in the West by Benin Republic. Nigeria has over 400 languages spoken, the major ones being Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Edo, Ibibio, Tiv and ofcourse English
I’m from the Igbo tribe. The Igbo’s own five states (Abia, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, and Ebonyi) out of the 36 states (not including Abuja, the Federal Capital) in the country. But of course states like Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Edo are largely influenced by Igbo culture and language.
Enough about the Geography though, I get off talking about my country though. Give me a chance, and I’ll do it for hours, no kidding! The thing though is, your average westerner knows little or next to nothing about Africa. I was watching this movie sometime, and in the movie this well-travelled guy had just come back from this awesome world tour. And he had mementos of his trip to various lands displayed all over his mansion and all, in a corny way and all. And then this chick comes to his place, I can’t remember if it’s his girlfriend or ex-wife or secretary. Anyway, the chick walks in, stares at the mementos with her mouth all agape in a phony way and all. Like she had never seen anything so beautiful in her life (and she’s a popular actress too. I would tell you if I could remember). So this chick asks this big shot about one particular statue that kinda like appealed to her and all, asks the big shot if he got the statue from Africa. And this guy with his chin up and all, you know the way big shots like to give you an answer whenever they think they’re the best thing on Earth, which is usually like all the time tells the chick, “No, I got it from Egypt.”
Jeez! And you know the crazy thing though is the movie wasn’t a comedy or anything. The big shot is supposed to be really smart and sophisticated as hell too. What I’m saying is the scriptwriter didn’t even known that Egypt is in Africa, and the whole film crew from the director to the key grip, as well as the actors didn’t known either. Otherwise someone would have at least mentioned it like, “Excuse me, but Egypt is in Africa.” But that didn’t happen, and they went on to make the movie, cut it, package it and release it in theatres worldwide. You see, most of the time Hollywood gets Africa all wrong. I’m watching the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie and the scene where the show Lagos, Nigeria made me wanna puke. Lagos isn’t anything like what they showed in that movie. And what was that thing Ryan Reynolds was translating, calling it Igbo. Definitely not the Igbo I speak. But this isn’t just a Hollywood problem at all, is it. It’s a global problem. The world gets Africa all wrong. Show a few pictures of people dying in Darfur and all, and it’s like the whole world wants to save Africa. That just kills me, Save Africa! What is that? You see big shot rock stars and celebrities coming out with concerts where they raise funds to save Africa, and the thing though is, as much of a problem Africa might be in, no amount of those concerts will alleviate the problems. Their like crumbs for the dogs. And sometimes, I get the feeling there’s this higher propaganda to keep Africa begging for the crumbs.
I don’t make a big deal out of it though; neither I’m I trying to be the next Malcolm X or whatever. But you gotta admit is funny though, in a weird way. The Second largest Continent in the world next to Asia has to suffer so much.
Africa is a force of nature, covering over one-fifth of the Earth’s total land surface. Not too many people know these things, and even those who know, phew it hardly matters anyway. To such people, Africa is like one country. If someone travels to Africa, he didn’t travel to say South Africa, or Morocco, or Ghana. He travelled to Africa, pure and simple. It’s just Africa, not any of the over 50 nations in it. Even some black people in Western nations call Africans “booty scratchers”. Isn’t that funny? Yeah it is, in a half-assed way.
I can talk about Africa all day; its beauty, landscape, wildlife, cultural diversity, spirituality, mythology, its divine picturesque. I tell you, it’s the perfect place for a writer to come to. But that’s not what I’m concerned about for now. I just want people to at least be able to tell that Egypt is in Africa. That’s all.