In the space of one month, two new African countries have been created from hilarious and unbelievable slip-ups in highly respected environments. The names Nambia and Wakanda are supposed to represent actual countries in Africa which as anyone in the know will tell you, just do not exist.
Earlier in the month, the British Airways in-flight magazine dragged the fictional Wakanda into real life when they listed the famous Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o as hailing from Wakanda.
Wakanda, of course, appears in American comic books as the home of an African superhero, the Black Panther. It is unimaginable that British Airways actually considered the fictional place an actual country to the point of boldly publishing it in their magazine that would no doubt be picked up by many bored travelers.
More recently, President Donald Trump gave us Nambia while addressing some African leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. He spoke about the supposedly great healthcare of the non-existent country.
Now that we have the origin stories of Nambia and Wakanda maybe we can all marvel at the magnitude of these errors and just how they could possibly have come about.
The truth when you think about it is that the slip-ups in Nambia and Wakanda should not be all that shocking. Too many times people, celebrities included, have fallen into the oft-discussed error of referring to Africa as a country.
An obvious next question, however, is why is that so? Why do individual African countries seem unknown to huge portions of the world? Why when there is a natural disaster or terrorist activity in an African country do people not rush to pray for the said country?
Here are some of the reasons we have considered that are behind the world’s ignorance about individual African countries.
Why Nambia And Wakanda Are A Thing
Poor Media Coverage
Poor media coverage is definitely one of the chief things that leads to this ignorance. Too many media houses in African countries are not proactive in telling the stories of the country.
There are of course many factors that could contribute to that one of them being an unfriendly environment for journalists which is often created by governments. There could also be a lack of resources that limit the extent that these domestic media houses can go in coverage.
For this reason, not only would there be confusion worldwide on the exact happenings in the country, even the citizens themselves may not be well informed.
Hasty Generalizations, Focus On Poverty
Due to poor media coverage within some African countries, a number of outsiders tend to step in to tell stories from Africa but are unable to do so with enough perspective and sometimes just fall on hasty generalizations.
One of such, of course, is the focus on poverty in African countries. When viewed through the lens of poverty, it is easy to see things as the same.
Leaders determine how much a country is talked about and in what manner that talk happens. Take President Donald Trump, for instance, the United States has been in most conversations around the world since he won the elections.
Most African leaders do not inspire any real discussion. There are a few exceptions, of course, like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and even Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. There are also past African leaders like SA’s Nelson Mandela and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah that cause the spotlight to be cast in the direction of a part of the continent sometimes.
A lot of other African Presidents or leaders only inspire negative sentiment or no sentiment at all.
A lot of the truly promising talent on the continent move out and are integrated into societies in what we have come to know as a brain drain. These talents may have through the exceptional things that they do put their own countries on the map. The harsh environments in their own countries, however, managed to drive them out and those talents are being employed to raise the profile of other countries.
The West Just Cannot Be Bothered
Another simple reason for the ignorance about African countries is that the West just cannot be bothered except they have something to gain from the country in question.