Misconception About Africa

Decent Essays
If a country had been living on its own for hundreds of years without any help and is not seeking assistance, then there is no sensible explanation as to why another country would get involved. While many people believe Africa is a whole continent in need of foreign aid, this misapprehension could not be farther from the truth.
Before any type of outside involvement, most Africans were educated and civilized. While it is a widespread misconception that Africa is “the heart of darkness,” in reality, it is a place full of sophisticated people living just like the rest of the world. It is true that during the late 1800’s many countries in Africa were not as developed as many places in Europe, however as Chinua Achebe states, Africa is “...vaguely
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These erroneous rumors about Africa and its people began long before outsiders were knowledgeable about the continent. The earliest information about Africa came from Ranulf Higden, a religious figure who made a map of the world in 1350. Higden alleged, “Africa contained one-eyed people who used their feet to cover their heads.” (Hochschild, 1998). Since this was the “only story of Africa” (Adichie, 2009), it is what people believed until 1459 when another religious leader named Fra Mauro also made claims about Africa. Mauro declared that there was “...a bird so large that it could carry an elephant through the air.”(Hochschild, 1998). With these absurd stories being the only accounts of Africa, it is clear why people came up with such a negative connotation of the continent. A few hundred years later, these ludacris fabrications of Africa and its people were continuing. In 1899, a man named Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about white supremacy which encouraged the “domination of Africa and other parts of the world.” (Hochschild, 1998). In this poem called The White Man’s Burden, Kipling calls non-white people “Half-devil and half-child.” (Kipling, 1899) This poem shows the long lasting effects of deeply rooted stereotypes. Because one man claims horrendous lies about Africa and its people, others would still believe these…show more content…
When European countries got involved, they took advantage of the people because of the stereotypes already in their heads. The way newcomers treated the native Africans was so appalling that one could say the natives were “[a]gainst the deceit, fraud, robberies, arson, murder, slave-raiding, and general policy of cruelty.” (Williams, 1890). The abuse of the African people became so out of hand that they were not seen as people anymore but rather as property. Keep in mind that these countries were getting involved to “help” and “save” Africa. Even the purest of people became so used to the notion that Africans were not equal to them that “[t]he lust for slave profits engulfed even some of the priest, who abandoned their preaching…” (Hochschild, 1998). Without these foreign countries, Africans would continue to live the way they are accustomed. Most African countries have very strong, implicit beliefs and customs, therefore, when another country interferes, it ends up hurting rather than
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