Monday, August 1, 2011

Top 9 stupid questions about Africa

I was born in Zimbabwe Africa and emigrated to the good ole USA at the tender age of 10. I arrived in the big apple heading straight into elementary school in Bed-Stuy, New York. Prior to my departure from Zim, my grandparents prepped me for the big change of moving to a completely new continent. Be that as may, nothing prepared me for the barrage of ignorant questions I received from some of my fellow Americans.

Disclaimer: I will say that not all citizens of the United States are this silly, these questions represent a small minority who refuse to pick up a book and read.

Here's my top 9 list of stupid questions about Africa:

1. Do you speak Swahili?
This is not the only language in Africa, read a book please!

2. Do you speak African?
I. just. can't! Africa is not a country- we all don't speak the same language.

3. How did you get over here?
Umm ok how I do answer this delicately. I took a plane, there is no bus that goes from Africa to America

4. Did you wear clothes in Africa?
True story, people assume we just walk around butt naked without any clothes. While there a handful of tribes that still wear traditional clothing, sadly it's not the case with everybody.

5. You speak English so well..
While this is not a question, the underlying assumption annoys me. Yes we speak English in Africa, especially in my country where we colonized by the British

6. What is apartheid?
Now this just made me angry. It is astonishing to me the sheer number of Americans that are unfamiliar with this very turbulent chapter in our global history.

7. So you are from Zim right? My boyfriend's sister's cousin is from Nigeria do you know him?
Good Lord. While we usually maintain a sense of closeness with our respective communities all Africans don't know each other.

8. Who is the President of Africa?
Please refer to point #2. Each country has it's own respective leader.

9.Did you have a lion in your backyard when you were growing up in Africa?
While this would have no doubt made for interesting stories- the answer to this asinine question is no. I lived in the suburbs. No lions there.

Thoughts? If you are African, have you received any questions like the ones above? Americans, am I too harsh or do you ask some of these questions?


  1. eish. i agree with all your replies. and no. you aint being harsh. in fact i think you're being rather nice about it!!!

  2. LOL i know right? You cant help but laugh at some of this silliness

  3. I know exactly what you mean! When I moved Dubai I got asked (I still do in fact) if I speak Swahili/African and people were so stunned that I could speak English so well that they just assumed I was British. It gets frustrating sometimes but I normally just laugh at their ignorance as I guess we are all ignorant about some things

    1. An American university was offering courses in African - perhaps we should all sign up. haha. I did email them to point out that there is in fact no such language.

  4. Lol, Makho that is just silly funny!!! I have encountered some of those Q's here in England and I always laugh when people ask me such silly Q's. Americans, bless them they are so ignorant when it comes to general foreign knowledge, but the good thing is that they are willing to learn. I have less tolerance towards the Brits and Europeans because they should know better because of their exposure to Africa as history points out!!! But nonetheless, it's a good laugh some of these Q's that people ask....

  5. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the level of ignorance. I had fun writing this post.


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