1.en.7 Africa is not a country

Africa conjures lots of different images in our minds, but what is the image of Africa you have in your mind? Does it correspond to the real Africa?

Lola Huete a reporter from El Pais will try to shed some light about what Africa is really like and challenge some of our preconceptions or stereotypes.  Let’s begin with something simple: How many different countries are there in Africa?

Getting the right answer could help you enjoy the most exciting experience of your life, just as it might do for Lilly Taylor; watch the video:

1. What kind of video is it?

2. What is the aim of the video?

3. What is used humour for?

4. Do you think it is a good way to challenge our ideas about Africa?

And now we should get ready to start a discovery trip to Africa, but first let’s see how much we know about it. Are you ready to give an anwer to the question?

How many countries are there in Africa?

Just to help you, click on the map and try the quiz. How many countries you got right?

Africa map

Of course, Africa is much more than just a list of country names, but I think it would be interesting to know what ideas you have of the continent. Draw a three-column grid in your notebook and call them K; W  and L from left to right. In the left column write down a least 5 words or sentences that come to your mind when you hear the word AFRICA:

KWL grid

 Later you will complete the rest of the columns.

African people are likely to have a very different picture of their continent. In fact a group of US-based African students have organised a campaign to break the stereotypes we might have about it.  Read the article that CNN has published about it, but first try to explain what a stereotype is.

A stereotype is …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

You can start by having a look at the photos. Click on the image and have a look at some of the photos the students included in their campaign. What messages do they want to tell us about Africa? Choose one to comment in class.

African stereotypes

Now click on the image below to read about the campaign

Africa is not a country


1. Say whether these statements are true or false:

a) The students think that there are not stupid questions.

b) The campaign will help visitors understand the similarities among different African countries.

c) You can only visit the campaign on the Internet.

d) The photos include some real information about Africa.

e) The campaign tries to convince people to donate money for Africa.

2. Find in the text synonyms of the following words:

foolish, absurd (adj.):

get rid of (vb.):

consciousness (noun):

create (phr. vb.):

also (conn.):

The Learning Network of The New York Times has come in handy to provide some facts about the real Africa with an article by Tom Marshall called “Unexpected Africa: Investigating New Ways to Think about the Continent” . You will get a short text describing  some features of the continent, read it and, in groups, think of a title for it. Be ready to share what you have learned about Africa!!!

Once you have finished have a look at the list of titles below and decide which is the most appropriate for your text:

Africa titles

I am convinced that your ideas about what Africa is like have started to change. Some people have gone even farther and started thinking that maybe it’s us who might need Africa for help. Watch the following video:


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