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Why do people think that africa is a country?

9 Answers
Why is it that continent of 55 countries,over2000 languages,home to arab cushite and african majority countries,with no relation with each other(how are gambia and somalia related gambia has a lot more in common with britain)so why do people call africa a country?(oh there is no language called african)
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Why indeed? Despite outstanding opportunities for people to educate themselves and learn in publicly supported schools, many elect to invest their time and energy on popular culture and pursuits (sports, fashion, movies, games, etc.). It is not fair to place the blame entirely on schools, nor is is fair to blame society at large. The information is there, some people don't want it, and there are minimal consequences for being profoundly ignorant.

Maybe I was a weird kid, but I loved to read about geography and other cultures. It was clear to me by the third grade that Africa was more than just the Congo and the Savannah. Even the dullest kid in my school knew that pygmies and the Masai were different peoples living in separate nations.

If we were to impose more rigorous standards for the award of a high-school diploma, this might help. However, until people find learning more interesting than last week's basketball game or tomorrow's movie, things are not going to dramatically change.

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L

I am probably guilty of grouping all the countries within Africa together even if I am well aware that they are different countries with many different cultures. I think part of it is because I'm not too familiar with most of the individual countries and partly it is because they are all (more or less) in one large landmass which makes them appear to be the same place. Growing up, I think the thing that most children associate with Africa are the animals, so when a child asks where lions/zebras/giraffes come from the immeadiate answer is Africa rather than any particular country within Africa.

It isn't only Africa that gets this treatment though. The number of times I've heard people say that they are going to Europe for their holidays! Europe has very many countries which are all very different so why not specifiy exactly which countries you are going to? If someone was visiting Asia they would deferentiate between the countries!

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T

Mrsm, I think the people who say they're "going to Europe" may be on the kind of tour where they see as much as possible in just a little bit of time, you know, "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium", and they come home wondering, where did I take that picture anyway? Otherwise, I think because of foreign language classes in school there would be more awareness that Europe contains France, Germany, Italy, Spain. I doubt that there's a similar awareness about African countries since they're not tourist attractions as often and it would be kind of ugly to review why the European languages are spoken where they are (colonialism), and it makes everyone's eyes glaze over far too often, sadly. No, all Africans do not know Nelson Mandela. They do not all speak Swahili or live in the jungle. Mali has one of the world's oldest universities, but hardly anyone knows that.

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D

It is surprising how little some people know about the rest of the world. Africa is actually a larger continent than North America. Africa has an area of 11.6 million square miles while North America is smaller with 9.46 million square miles. As you mentioned, Africa has lots of different countries of great diversity and local cultures and religions.

Trying to lump all of the countries of Africa together is like comparing Kentucky with Washington State. There are similarities but they are entirely different in attitude, geography, and share the same language although maybe with an accent. They are not polar opposites and completely alien to each other but they are different. Africa is a land of at least 1,500 languages with countries like Nigeria for example which is home to as many as 250 different languages.

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M

That the reason we are here on this site, to give information and to correct misapprehensions. I was also wrong in thinking that Africa is a country not a continent. Your question gave us a lot of information. Please don't be offended because some of us here are quite busy and just spare this site a few of the hard earned time. The only time most of us research is when a question pops up that needs a bit of additional information to make it a quality and informative answer. Thank you for the facts about Africa.

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P

I'm not sure. I think people are lazy or don't care to know much about what is beyond their own small world. To them, perhaps "Africa" is just too big to understand and not worth thinking about, which is sad.

For as global as we claim to be, we are really very small-minded and provincial sometimes.

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K

Lack of understanding and ignorance. Some people are ethnocentric or xenophobic, thinking beyond that is blasphemy in their minds. Many people do in fact know Africa is a continent, especially those who study history. I guess it depends where and with whom you are talking to who display such ignorance to things around them.

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T

It's amazing.Why Africa? Does anyone think Asia is all one country? Plenty of Americans ask about extra postage on letters to New Mexico --not knowing it's one of the states.

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D

Thank you all for your answers.it seems that there are people who know about africa.

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