I get absolutely shocked when I am asked certain questions about Africa. Sometimes I am just forced to say, “Really, do you seriously think that is Africa?”
At least I get to answer questions but when they are comments on television or an overhead conversation, I have no other choice but to twitch. I do that a lot when I feel restless and out of control.
Lets begin by addressing a number of questions people ask about Africa;
“How do you manage to live on trees?”. This was the most shocking question. Okay, the whole of Africa is not some remote desert without buildings. Besides, it is definitely not the 1400’s. There are huge mansions and luxurious properties in Africa too.I agree that there may be remote desert lands in certain areas in Africa but I have never seen such a place yet. Yes, guess that must be a bomer. I am Ghanaian not a monkey.
I remember when I was asked by a white lady in London this question,” How is your President, Nelson Mandela?”. The fact that I am African does not mean I am South African. Africa is not a country; it is a continent. We have different countries in Africa like every other continent. The fifty four countries in Africa are not under one president. I don’t get why Africa has to be a country to the west . This is the 21st century, come on!
On a visit to my sister’s family in the U.S.A, I was asked by a girl at the mall, “Are you hungry?”. I was stunned at the question. I didn’t know what exactly to say because I had visited the mall to get some groceries for a meal; I simply did not understand why anybody would ask me that?… In fact I was dumbfounded. Not all Africans are hungry….what am I even saying? Let me try to explain this better. There are definitely some very poor African countries but not every country is poor and hungry. I am certainly not hungry all the time because I am African. When I am hungry, I eat just like everybody else.
“How do you manage to travel many miles on foot” a white British friend asked. Mostly, I simply do not know how to answer these questions. “He definitely does not think I came to London on foot, does he?”, were my thoughts when he asked me that question. There are great vehicles in Ghana, latest models that flood the roads of Ghana are usually not so common in many areas in London. There are AEROPLANES too. That is how I travel if you are still wondering.
“Do you speak African?”, this one is the billion dollar question. “WHAT!”, I shouted in my head; that is very possible when you hear questions like this.There is nothing like African. How do I ask if anybody speaks Asian, American or European. They are continents not languages. I am from Ghana and the dominant language is twi. I speak twi not African.
All these thoughts triggered as I watched the CNN news and heard how repeatedly Africa was addressed as a country. The ebola epidemic is terrible but it can only be found in few countries in Africa. Preventing flights from all African countries to the U.S.A is an extreme measure because the disease is not in every country. It is mainly in Liberia and there are few cases recorded in countries like Nigeria and Ivory coast.