The African continent boasts the highest level of genetic diversity in the world, which makes sense: after all, it was from the continent of Africa that the human race first originated. Today, the continent is home to over 2,000 languages – from Igbo to Xhosa, Franglais to Yoruba – and comprises countries as politically varied as post-Arab Spring Egypt, fast-growing Ghana, and increasingly authoritarian Rwanda.
Why, then, is Africa so often depicted as a homogeneous morass of poverty and strife? In April 2022, journalist and writer Dipo Faloyin spoke to Yousra Elbagir, about the themes of his debut book, Africa Is Not A Country, which unpicks these pervasive stereotypes. What is the cultural significance of Aunties? Which West African country triumphs in the long-running rivalry over jollof rice? Where would citizens of several African countries have to travel to visit their own cultural artifacts? (Hint: 90 per cent of them are in museums outside the continent). This was a portrayal of the African continent as it truly is – one that challenges us to shift narratives about the continent from lazy stereotypes to a richer, more complex patchwork of the many cultures and communities that populate the world’s second-largest continent.