Africa: The Lone Unknown Continent

Recently, I spoke with an acquaintance that lives in Morocco, a Country located on the Northern part of Africa’s Continent described as richly beautiful with a rocky terrain  of mountains and sprawling deserts and having both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines.  Jokingly, we called Casablanca the fake capital; not because it’s Morocco’s largest city, but rather it’s the one most well-known for the 1942 Movie “Casablanca” starring Ingrid Bergman & Humphrey Bogart. The actual capital is, however, named Rabat.

A few days after the above conversation, I was asked about the well-being of my Moroccan friend. One thing in the conversation led to another and before long the subject matter shifted to other things about Morocco such as everyday life and such.  However, the conversation became quite interesting the more the discussion started linking Morocco to Africa.

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One of the most fascinating points here is how Morocco and other Countries on the African Continent are not looked at as part of Africa…thus, the people not looked upon as Africans.  It’s strange how other nations have been conditioned to look at this one Continent like no other.  Like it’s not a Continent at all, but rather a Country. If one is going to Africa then one is going to the jungle…to Kenya or Nigeria or South Africa.  There is no other Africa…Right?

In any event, I like to challenge my readers not to only look at my viewpoint, but to gather their own findings. One has only to research or Google various reports on prominent and less prominent sources/stories of different travelers visiting various places  in comparison such as England, Paris, Spain, Venezuela, Japan, Israel, and so one to see how separate the Continent of Africa is viewed from all others.

Rarely, in all my research did I come across information where any other Continent with so great a many Countries was used as the source of destination….except for Africa. Other exceptions were Antarctica and Australia and that was because neither have any Countries to claim.

Common Practice

For most travelers going to Europe, specific destination were used.   For instance:  if, say, the traveler was en-route to France, then a specific city and or country was named (i.e., Martinique or Paris).   Although, it may be more common in the United Kingdom (UK) to still say things like one is going “abroad” when visiting the United States (U.S.),  it is less common for travelers  in the U.S to simply make general statements such as they are going to “Europe.”

In fact, travelers in the U.S. are even more specific in describing points of destinations.  Therefore, it would be a very uncommon practice to simply use words like a region or a state as a point of destination. Call it idle curiosity, but other people generally like to know where travelers are going as well (i.e., California, Florida, or Nevada).   Further, unknown destinations are even more uncommon when visiting neighboring Countries like Canada or Mexico. Hence, it would be unlikely for a traveler to provide a vague destination like “North America.”  Furthermore, it would also be rather confusing since there are three (3) countries on the North American Continent.

Nevertheless, there seems to be a constant, perhaps subliminal, effort to downgrade the Continent of Africa to the status of a single Country.  The reality is that Africa is the 2nd largest Continent in the World, claiming up to 57 countries & territories, many of which are sovereign.

Continent vs. Country

     

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BTW:   The Country of South Africa that the late Nelson Mandela fought so valiantly against apartheid for and went from 27-years of Imprisonment to President over is located with four other Countries on the Southern part of the Continent.  Continent wise, what makes those 5 Countries on the Southern part of Africa different from say any other Countries such as the likes of Morocco and Egypt which are located on the Northern Part of the African Continent, or Somalia and Madagascar on the Eastern part of the Continent or Nigeria (the largest Country) and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on the Western part of the Continent…? Answer = Nothing.  They are All located on the African Continent.

Basically, the gist here is that Africa is a Continent just like Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. So, the next time someone offhandedly says he or she is going to, or just came back from Africa, perhaps you’ll ask them which Country.

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