Africa and Africans have been subject to various stereotypes over the years. Some stereotypes are positive, such as the beautiful natural landscapes and wildlife that Africa has been blessed with. But many veer towards the negative and have had some detrimental effects on how Africa is viewed by the rest of the world.
One of the most interesting ways in which Africa is breaking long-held stereotypes about itself is through a project called Everyday Africa. Everyday Africa is a project established by writer Austin Merrill and photojournalist Peter DiCampo who set out to document the reality of Africans beyond the usual stereotypes. Merrill and DiCampo originally came to the Ivory Coast to compile stories of life after the civil war but they found that a large part of Africans lived relatively normal lives compared to the horror stories that they were trying to find.
Both DiCampo and Merrill invited diverse photographers from all over the continent to contribute to the Instagram project and the book. Some are professionals, while others are skilled amateurs. The Instagram page has gained over 370, 000 followers and continues to shatter common stereotypes about Africa.
Another aspect of Africa that is breaking conventions is Kenya’s tech hub. African countries aren’t the first that come to mind when one thinks of innovation in the tech world. However, Nairobi is building a vibrant and creative community in the tech world. Kenya’s $1 billion tech hub is home to more than 200 startups, as well as established firms like IBM, Intel and Microsoft. This technological boom in Kenya was a result of government support, a strong private sector and outside investment. The images present a brighter vision of Kenya, one that narrows and shatters western perceptions of the country.
Botswana is an African country breaking stereotypes about poverty and lack of economic growth. Botswana has a growing economy averaging about 5% per annum over the past decade. Ever since its independence, Botswana’s private sector has seen substantial growth which is vital for any developing country. Botswana is said to have the same standard of living as Mexico and Turkey.
Africa has been subject to many stereotypes due to its history and inaccurate media coverage by the west, however, Africa and Africans continue to subvert those narratives.