Disclaimer: I have met some of the coolest people when I was away from home. I have also listened to the coolest stories shared by fellow Africans abroad that make me want to pack up my bags and move to new places...every day.
But to be honest, many people will say the strangest things and ask the weirdest questions when they meet Africans. I kid you not. Allow me to share the top 20 of the most outrageous statements that people have said to my friends and I only because we said the 'A' word.
1. "You have an African accent".
Ahh...thank you? Just imagine meeting a French guy and a British guy and saying to both of them, 'you have a European accent'. Weird, right?
2. "You speak good English".
Oh okay...please define 'good English' so that I may understand your 'standards'. Plus, did you expect me to speak horrible English or maybe, to speak 'monkey'? Oh, Lord!
Some of the questions include;
3. "Do you have buildings in Africa?"
Nope, we all sleep in one giant mosquito net that was funded by UNICEF.
4. "What is it like growing up in Africa?"
Ah...normal? (I don't know what you expect me to say about a childhood).
5. "Do you like Africa?"
No, I hate my motherland. Someone, please rescue me! (rolls one eye)
6. "Where do you prefer to live? Africa or here (Europe)?"
By the way, when I replied with "Africa" this person gave me a puzzled look, like...why?
Oh, because Africa is a war-torn, poverty-stricken continent.
7. "How do you afford to travel? You must be an African princess."
Nope, I am a Nigerian queen. How else would I afford to travel?
8. "What language do you speak back in Africa?"
What? Sometimes I don't know how to educate people about he most diverse continent in the world. But then again, there is so much that I need to learn about other parts of the world so, no worries.
9. "I have been to Africa. It's such a beautiful country."
Ah, you mean continent, right? Many people actually think South Africa is the famous 'Africa'. Unbelievable!
10. "Do you know Okonkwo? He is from Africa too."
Despite popular belief, we all don't know each other. Do you know all Asians, sir?
11. "It's so sad how bad things are in Africa." (Pulls out the map of Africa to show me how 'war-torn' Africa is.)
When this happened, for a second, I thought an impromptu war had broken out on an entire continent without my knowledge.
12. "I love Africa, the people are so nice."
This would have been a cool statement but, this person had visited Tanzania for a two-week Safari. She stayed at a national park lodge, for the entire two weeks! How many Africans did she meet? We'll never know.
13. "How did you get here?"
Oh, I know the answer you're looking for. So, here goes...
I ran...all the way from Africa.
14. "I don't see color. I see one people."
Oh, that's sweet. Do you know what I do when I don't see color? I don't mention it at all. The fact that you mention color at all shows that you actually see it. Life is tricky, y'all!
15. "Where do you buy clothes in Africa?"
Where do other people buy clothes? People, help me here!
16. "There are no mobile phones in Africa."
On my study program in Paris, my professor actually said this to a class of 50 students. Then he followed that statement with,
"Africa has revolutionized the banking system. They have mobile banking there."
Mhh...how does the mobile banking system without phones? Prof, you sound less than smart.
17. "They don't have SMART phones in Africa. When I visited, the women selling vegetables on the streets didn't have smart phones."
...is what the prof said when I told him that we actually have mobile phones in Africa. How is he allowed to teach other people's kids?
Well, after that one ignorant session, I dropped the class!
18. "I watched Lion King. What's it like seeing lions on the streets?"
Ah...I have no idea. I have never seen a lion or a giraffe on the streets. Have you?
19. "They don't speak English in Africa."
Continues to say, 'Africa was colonized by France so they all speak French. Why don't you?' My French classmate asked me.
My question to her was, 'How messed up is the education system over here?'
20. "Do you have other people other than black people in Africa?"
Well, despite what your high school teacher said, Africa is the most diverse continent in the world. Plus...
When it comes to ethnic diversity, that small country called Uganda is the most diverse in the world. You don't believe me, do you? Fine, click here, I have the receipts.
That was quite a rant, wasn't it?
For the educated individuals (wherever you are) who are eager to learn about the world, I applaud you. For us, as Africans, it's our duty to educate the world about this continent. We cannot afford to leave the job to the media and university professors, who are mostly biased.