Oh, those Africans.

Lately, I’ve started noticing how very common it is to refer to the African continent as if it was a single country, with one people. Maybe you’ve already come across this graphic by the designer Kai Krause, (the man who brought us Bryce in the 90’s.) Anyhow, he calls his visualisation of the African continent a small contribution to the fight against his own term, Immapancy.

Africa is huge, much larger than it looks on our distorted maps, and narrow-minded generalizations are not only stupid but can also be quite offending.

Click the picture for a bigger version with great tables and explanations.

And sure, I couldn’t say I’m completely innocent of the above accusations. I’ve been dreaming about going to Africa lately without being completely able to make my mind up on where to. South of Sahara is all I know with some countries and specific areas in mind, but I am still very open for suggestions. For what? Well, mainly for understanding and trying to get my mind around it. This big, big place.


  1. Amazing post Caroline. I do believe that westerners in general tend to generalize Africa as if it was one single race and culture. It is amazing to see its proportions on this map, and I think it will be even more amazing to see a graph on all the ethnicities and tribes that Africa holds. After all it is the most diverse continent in the world. At least that’s what I read.

  2. Africa is indeed huge. In Kenya alone where I was born and raised, we have 42 known tribes! It becomes almost difficult for visitors to fathom but with time the beauty of the diversity begins to sink in. I’ve heard about the generalization especially from some of those who have not visited the continent before. Perhaps Africa is not covered much in the syllabus at school? Is that the case? I have never been to Europe or America but thanks to the internet and my history lessons at school I know better than to think that whole region is one big country.

    Caroline, you must visit in 2012. I promise you’ll enjoy! Karibu Kenya!

  3. Well, this summer I was in South Africa, Lesotho, Kenia and Tanzania. To me, all of those places are interesting to visit, but for different reasons. South Africa,because it is soooo different. Being in a coutry where colour still matters sooo much is quite shocking. But to be honest, besides the best Museums I have ever seen and some good wild-life parks, I didn´t really enjoy SA as much as the other places; there is simply too much mixed feelings and tensions about color in the air. Lesotho is a weird place. You will hardly find any trees, it is one of the most deforested and poorest countries in the world. But the people are really, really nice. Tanzania is very developed for Tourists and there is a lot to see. Kenia is probably my favorite among the visited countries, as there is much to see (culture and nature), people are really nice and there is not so much Tourism yet. SO it seemed to be most authenic to me.

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