I go on daily rants about how Americans know nothing about the rest of the world. But I have proven that I barely know anything about my own continent and that I shouldn’t really be judging. And I guess it’s kind of okay, that I don’t know a lot about the rest of Africa but— You know what, it’s not okay. I’m not going to try to justify my ignorance . Ignorance is ignorance, there is no excuse.
But anyway, a bit of context: I am from a country at the tip of Africa called South Africa- big shocker, that is. And the thing about South Africa, is that because it is so far South, and because of its social, economic and historical position it is almost as if it’s not a part of the rest of the continent. The rest of Africa seems to think that we are not actually African, which hurts a little. Because of this I know very little about some of the countries in our continent and it’s actually led to a rather embarrassing incident.
I was in England at the time and I happened to be at a charity event that was hosted by some friends of mine. I met a man there, who is a very keen traveler and had gone to Zambia the previous year- Zambia is in Africa by the way. During our conversation his visit came up and we started speaking about Africa and Zambia and our conversation went something like this:
Him: It’s great that you’re from Africa, I’ve only been to Zambia sadly. It was an incredible experience though.
Me: Oh wow, yeah Zambia is beautiful! Did you swim with the whale sharks while you were there? And how amazing is the coastline?
Him: *looks at me as if I am the biggest idiot on earth* You do know that Zambia’s landlocked… right?
Me: *rolls away on hover-board*
How could I not know that a country about 2000km from where I live, is landlocked? Zambia is literally a stone’s throw away. I could walk there if I tried hard enough… okay maybe not but still.
So lesson learnt: don’t be ignorant. Geography is important- only for social situations such as the above- but it’s still important. Lesson number two: just keep your mouth shut in social situations to avoid embarrassment.
From my “27th of September 2015” self.