LIFESTYLE/TRAVEL

What Is Good About Africa

“What is good about Africa?” With the constant bombardment about ethnic strife in Kenya, war in Somalia, AIDS in South Africa, child soldiers in Sierra Leone and genocide in Darfur, I’m sure you sometimes wonder. I know I have asked that question for many years and luckily, unlike many people, I can piece together a string of fond childhood memories and mementos from lots of trips that did not involve me “risking my life” like the media would have you believe.

For those of you who strain to think of what might be good at present, here is my short list of what is good about Africa:

Of course, Africa has a rich history of contributions to the world, from Egypt to great Zimbabwe, but that is the past and we have to look to the future.

Travel. The continent has such varying terrain that you must see it for yourself. It’s cheap, so your dollar goes far. Every country on the continent has its pluses and minuses, but any country that you do not currently hear is at war is most likely a good place to visit. Since there are 53 countries, there are a lot of beautiful choices. The only two places I would not visit at the moment are the Sudan and Somalia. Contrary to popular belief, North Africa is also a great place to visit.

Natural resources. Despite the fact that most of the media claim that millions of dollars are given in aid to Africa, billions of dollars or more are taken out of the continent in natural resources that are used around the world to help maintain people’s standards of living, while African people do not benefit at all from these monies. Hence, the need for aid to the richest continent on earth. Ironic. The fact that these resources are in abundance does prove hopeful, because there is always the possibility of them actually being reclaimed by their rightful owners and shared more appropriately with the world.

Brilliant minds. Many Africans are not burdened by the stigma of black un-intelligence, and have for centuries turned European universities on their head with their academic accomplishments despite circumstances of discrimination.

People. Most Africans you meet are generally very welcoming. They are happy to see that someone has taken an interest in coming to visit their country to see the people, not just the animals. As long as you are respectful of people and try to understand that their traditions are different than yours, you are golden.

Here are a few links to help inform you on what is good and amazing about the beauty, culture and wonder that is Africa.

Birima
Africa Works
Africa: Open For Business
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Africa You Never See On TV

Enjoy!

Mobolaji Olambiwonnu is the founder of “African Cowboy: Cross-Cultural Dialogue Through Clothing” and is committed to a new conversation about Africa that focuses on what works rather than what doesn’t. You can take part in the African cowboy or cowgirl experience at www.AfricanCowboyClothing.com.


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