Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Deep in the heart of Africa"

The other day, I went to see a film with my boyfriend. We were just settling in with our popcorn and astros when a preview for the new movie "Zambezia" came on. (Zambezia... as in the Zambezi River in Southern Africa... as in right where I am.) The trailer opens with this line: "Far away, deep in the heart of Africa". I turned to my beloved and asked him what he thinks, as an African, when he hears things like this. He chuckled that all-encompassing chuckle when you already know the answer. He then said that he is used to it but that he thinks it sets a bad image for Africa as a continent and that the West is trying to maintain only the mystery of Africa. He thinks this is actually detrimental and a hindrance to progress here. And, honestly, I agree.

Having lived in Southern Africa for nearly two years now, I can say that the things we think of when we hear "Africa" - this ridiculously huge continent - a mystery and breed intrigue to the West exist and definitely deserve this sort of recognition. I have been told not to walk around at night because lions come in from the bush and a leisurely day on the river is peppered with the potential for hippos to lunge at you from beneath the water's surface. "Wild Africa" is real. But there is another side of it too. One that is almost exactly like life back home with big cities, high fashion, tasty restaurants, shopping malls, and air conditioned movie theaters (like the one I saw this trailer in). This almost always gets left out in the tales of Africa. Maybe if it was mentioned, people would see the potential here and come take a visit or invest or *gasp* create a life here.

But, truly, have you ever heard a movie open with "deep in the heart of the plain-lands in America" or "somewhere in the mountains of America"? No, they just show you open fields or high peaks... and then usually cut to bustling cities. Think about it. This is my PSA from "deep in the heart of Africa"...

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