Myths and misconceptions about Africa are commonplace in the West. On a recent episode of the American tv reality series, “Amazing Race”, one of the contestants exclaims, “There’s no snow in Africa!”. Well, in fact there is. This is just one example of the kinds of things many people think they know about Africa, but in fact have quite wrong. Below are ten of the most common myths I’ve heard over the years, and now you can help shed some light on what too many people still think of as the “dark continent”.
1. Africa is A Country
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People often refer to “Africa” as if it is a country rather than a continent. Well, it is a continent and home to 54 independent, unique countries with South Sudan being the latest addition in July 2011. Each country has its own currency, flag, anthem, history, cuisine, music, identity and blend of cultures. In fact more than2000 languages are spoken in Africa, and its 1 billion inhabitants are made up of over 3000 distinct ethnic groups. Africa is also bigger than most people think it is, even if they know it covers 30,221,000 sq km (11,679,000 sq miles). If you combine the USA, China, India, Europe and Japan – they all fit into Africa. In fact the USA fits into the African continent three times!