A friend recently showed me a post at HuffPo’s Impact blog titled “8 Maps That Will Change the Way You Look at Africa.” Curated by an intern at The ONE Campaign, the short listicle includes eight maps that, well, don’t change the way anyone has looked at Africa in the past century.
In numerical order, this list allows one to look at Africa as 1) the place where most of the world’s poorest live; 2) the least wealth continent; 3) huge; 4) including a number of the few countries that still have slavery; 5) having an arid North and lush agricultural sub-Saharan region; 6) at high risk for water scarcity, especially in the northern and southern ends of the continent; 7) way behind (but growing!) in internet access; and 8) having little access to electricity.
The list was posted earlier this month, and I’m not the first to comment on it. So, rather than rant too much about how we don’t need to keep talking about Africa as a place of poverty and landscape (and I am glad there wasn’t a map of conflict), I’m going to post some maps that are also worth looking at below the fold. I know that there are others that have given me pause for thought, though I haven’t been able to track them down. Anybody have maps that influenced how they view Africa or parts of Africa?
Africa’s Incredible Diversity:
Intra-Africa Optical Fiber Networks [pdf]:
Two maps have had the largest impact on how I view Africa. The first is a Gall-Peters projection map of the world. This is a little obvious or even banal, but has still had a sizeable effect on my image of the African continent, particularly the sheer size of it.
The second is a map (or various iterations of maps) of African empires in 16th century. This was absolutely fundamental in breaking down the preconceived notions of the history of African society starting with cradle of civilisation then onto Ancient Egypt and Carthage then descending into tribes for a thousand plus years (problematic term, I know) then being conquered and colonised by the Europeans and the subsequent independence movements of various successes.
Africa colonized Europe and Asia first, driving the Neanderthals to extinction, so the second map needs to be a LOT older. Egypt may have been a colony itself, from Mycenae. Carthage was definitely a colony of Phoenicia. Also under the Zulu Shaka, African tribal nations colonized the constituent states through conquest. Also genetics discussed in Jared Diamond’s books speak to the Bantu colonizing all of subsaharan Africa.
Thanks for thhis blog post