|South Africa soccer fans at the World Cup in Johannesburg|
I recently asked on Twitter why Africa is so under-represented in the travel blogging world. It seems like Southeast Asia and South America and Europe and Australia and New Zealand are all over the place, but I rarely come across bloggers who choose to spend any significant portion of time in Africa (well, except for the one tweep who told me that people do write about Africa -- he'd been to Tunisia!).
Okay, I should have been more specific -- travel bloggers don't write enough about sub-Saharan Africa. Is it because we don't go there as often? If so, why?
I've been to sub-Saharan Africa twice, once when I was a teenager in South Africa (with a night in Swaziland, but I am under no impression that that means I know a thing about Swaziland), and once when I was a young adult in Tanzania. Since it has been a few years since I was in Tanzania (and I am currently writing about it for an upcoming book!), I won't try to contribute my stories here right now.
I came across these two articles today and wanted to share them, since they are both challenge certain misconceptions about the (huge, diverse, multiligual and complex) continent. The first is a piece that encourages travelers to challenge their own assumptions about Africa, especially as popular media gives a very one-sided portrait of poverty and political corruption and violence (though try to ignore the fact that at one point it refers to Africa as a country...). Definitely watch the video, it put a HUGE smile on my face!
The second piece is all about the awesome technological innovations coming out of Africa -- apps, start-ups, and cool new devices. In certain regions, technology skipped a generation, in a way (for example, in some places with long distances between hubs, it never made sense to erect telephone lines. So communities "skipped" right to mobile phones and cellular networks) -- this has made for a fascinating technological history of the continent, made more interesting because it forces westerners to accept our technologies as having a particular place in our cultural development. What sorts of cool tech can come out of a place with a completely different developmental history?
(As an aside, I love reading my news about Africa from Al Jazeera, they have a really skilled African bureau!)
(image via, Creative Commons. Sorry for all the Creative Commons pictures lately, I'm at a borrowed computer -- and never owned a digital camera while in Africa, anyway!)