We all know that there are two or maybe three sides to every story, depending on the subject anyway: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Naturally, we try to show the best side while concealing the unflattering side and wishing it to miraculously disappear hardly with any luck.
Unfortunately for Africa, the rest of the world has decided to shine a light on the bad side: corrupt governments, famine, disease, high levels of unemployment, inflation, poorly built infrastructure, high levels of illiteracy etc., (and rightfully so) but what about the other face of Africa? Why does the world refuse to acknowledge that other side at all?
The raw beauty of a continent, the genuinely happy and kind people, the happy children, the smiles and laughter, the magnificent sunrises and sunsets, the vastness filled with all kinds of sounds from birds to crickets to the gentle whispers of the wind. And what about the night sky filled with millions of stars that sparkle like diamonds? Doesn’t love and tremendous respect the young have for their old count? What about the music so beautiful, so cosmic it leaves you wanting? Africans also have a mutual relationship with nature, where life revolves around earth and all it provides, while they treat it with much respect.
It is heartbreaking that this beautiful continent was ever referred to as “the dark continent,” or “backward,” or “uncivilized” just because the people, their traditions, and their cultures were different from what was perceived as the norm. Even sadder is the fact that there are some people today who still think and believe that this is true of Africa.
Now let’s shift focus on the developed world for a minute and see how it compares. Take the United States for example; arguably the richest country in the world, a super power, “a civilized people,” good infrastructure with high standards of living, a country where dreams come true etc. (this is true to an extent.) Now let’s look at the side that most people have probably never heard of: a country still crippled by acute racism, high levels of stress, obesity, debt, high mortgage prices, homelessness, gun violence, a lack of universal health care, police brutality, a country draining in its own insecurities just like the rest of the world, and so many other complications.
Why the bias when telling the two stories? A fact we almost forget is that the continent of Africa is still finding its feet after shaking off the shackles of colonialism that left an entire continent divided, poor, and confused. This is no excuse for Africa to pull itself up, but to compare a recently independent continent (63 years in case of Ghana the first country in the continent to get independence from Britain) to the more established west is to be unfair, and even unreasonable to a point.