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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Out Of It On Africa

Though I'm a geography nerd, I'm continually surprised how little I know about most of Africa. And my sister, one of the smarter people I know, struggles trying to match up country names given a map of the continent. So I suspect my shortcoming is not that unusual.  

A few weeks ago, I asked a NYC cabdriver where he was from. When he answered Ghana, I realized I knew nothing about his birthplace, except that it is in Africa. I could not name one city, the name of any country bordering it, wasn't even sure if Ghana is landlocked or not. Eddie was friendly & willing to educate me a bit but my ignorance annoyed me. How did I get to be 62 and know so little about the 2nd largest continent?

A few years ago I watched a really good, little-seen film called "The Visitor", starring the always reliable Richard Jenkins. I recall at the time laughing at a minor character in that film when she showed her ignorance of Africa, mistaking Senegal for South Africa. My self-righteous laughs came back to haunt me following my recent encounter with Eddie from Ghana. Time to break out the Atlas.



  1. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1994/02/the-coming-anarchy/4670/?single_page=true