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Stereotyping Africa. Surprising Answers to Surprising Questions

Surprising Answers to Surprising Questions

Emmanuel Fru Doh

Publication Year: 2009

Characteristically, Africans in any Western country are asked so many different questions about "Africa," as Westerners love to refer to the many countries that make up that huge continent, as if Africa were a single nation state. So one begins wondering why it is that Africans, on the other hand, do not refer to individual European countries as "Europe" simply, then the trends and consequences of stereotyping begin setting in just as one is getting used to being asked if Africa has a president, or if one can say something in African. It is some of these questions that Emmanuel Fru Doh has collected over the years and has attempted answering them in an effort to shed some light on a continent that is in many ways like the rest of the world, when not better, but which so many love to paint as dark, backward, chaotic, and pathetic.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Dedication

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p. vii-vii

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvii

There had been moments before when I had thought of a book on the image of Africa in the West with a certain hesitation, until the scene described below occurred. It made . . .

Part One. The Introduction: On Painting a Portrait

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pp. 1-30

Part Two. Questions and Answers

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Attitude

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pp. 33-37

Africa is a whole continent made up of dozens of nations, and millions of families, yet it is obvious that even in a single household, the children are not all of . . .

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Age

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pp. 38-42

Africans, do not fear age as is the case in other cultures where people do all to look young. To Africans, aging is a natural process that must come, and when it . . .

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Children

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pp. 42-47

In African cultures, a member’s status in society changes when, as a married person, he or she begins having children. In the same manner, the new father or . . .

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Colonialism

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pp. 47-57

Yes, Africa was most voraciously colonized, especially after the early travelers there came in contact with the beautiful weather conditions in most parts of the . . .

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Communication

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pp. 57-60

Very true! Within a typical traditional milieu, Africans use a lot of proverbs and other rich sayings to communicate, especially when arguing with peers, during important . . .

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Crime

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pp. 60-63

Before the ills of capitalism and the rat race, crime was incredibly unusual, and this is because of the intimate nature of most African societies. These societies were . . .

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Death

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pp. 63-67

Because of the way Africans bond with their friends, and especially with members of their family, the demise of a friend, but more so that of a family . . .

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The Diaspora

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pp. 67-71

No, contrary to what seems to be the consensus, Africans do not dislike African-Americans; this is unthinkable. I must observe here that earlier writers had . . .

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Economy

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pp. 72-76

My country of origin is Cameroon. Cameroon produces a lot, especially in terms of agriculture, but her industry is still very light and has a long way to go compared to Western . . .

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Education

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pp. 77-79

Yes, there are good schools out there, from nursery to university level. In most African countries, Cameroon for example, pupils are expected to spend two . . .

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Family

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pp. 79-90

In traditional Africa, the more people one has as friends and family, in a way, determines one’s value in society. For that reason, it is often said wealth is . . .

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Fashion

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pp. 90-92

In every society, there are fat and thin people, and Africa certainly does not have the fattest people on earth. However, in pristine African societies, when it . . .

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Geography

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pp. 92-93

In terms of population, Africa is much less densely populated when compared to other continents. With one-tenth the land area of Africa, there are . . .

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Habits/Cultural Practices

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pp. 93-99

This is a particularly strange question, as I thought being loud is individualistic. But, if there is value to this claim, it possibly has to do with the nature of . . .

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Health

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pp. 99-110

Yes there is AIDS in Africa, and it is ravishing the populations of most African countries. Peter Schwab’s hyperbole captures the devastating impact . . .

Housing

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pp. 110-111

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Judiciary

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pp. 112-113

Like in every human society, there is crime in Africa, and it has only just gotten worse as certain scenarios shift from the typical traditional to the more urban and . . .

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Landscape

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pp. 113-121

Africa can get hot in certain areas, but it is not always as “steamy” and “sweltering” as some would want people to think. I cannot understand why reporters and writers . . .

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Languages

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pp. 122-124

I was asked this question after I was urged to say something in “African,” and all I could do was smile as I tried explaining that there was no language called . . .

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Nutrition/Eating Habits

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pp. 124-128

The foods of Africa are as varied as the ethnic groups and so one might talk of a favorite food to a particular ethnic group and of nothing as a favorite . . .

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Occupation

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pp. 128-130

No, not all men in Africa are goatherds. My father was not a goatherd, nor was my grandfather. If there was ever an era when this was the main male . . .

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Politics/Government

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pp. 131-137

One cannot talk of the president of Africa. Africa is a continent made up of fifty-four sovereign states, each with its own president. This analogy might be more . . .

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Religion

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pp. 137-145

In every African language, there is a word for the Supreme Being, which word in English is “God.” According to Toyin Falola on the religiosity of the Yoruba, one of the . . .

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Sexuality

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pp. 145-150

In spite of current foreign influences, Africa remains a continent tied to tradition, and by this I mean things handed down to them from the days of their . . .

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Sports

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p. 151-151

Football along American lines is not played in Africa. A few missionaries from Great Britain tried introducing rugby in parts of the continent but it did . . .

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Music

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pp. 151-153

Africa is certainly the heart of rhythms. The music variety from the continent of Africa dwarfs the number of languages spoken on the continent and these run into . . .

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Technology

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pp. 153-157

Yes, there are computers in Africa, and people own personal computers and laptops just like anywhere else. However, the economic and administrative institutions . . .

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Transportation

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pp. 157-159

Cars are not as common in African countries as in the United Sates, since not everybody can easily afford a car. These are very expensive foreign imports as of . . .

Utilities

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pp. 159-160

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Men and Women

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pp. 161-171

Generally speaking, rites, such as circumcision which marks the transition from adolescence into adulthood, are very common African practices and are of . . .

Part Three. The Epilogue

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pp. 173-181

Notes

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pp. 183-186

Works Cited

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pp. 187-194

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956579020
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558957

Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 2009