50 Stereotypes we Africans do not appreciate


Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

I love weekends and my weekends are spent doing the same things- watching movies on Friday nights, movies on Saturday nights and I spend Sunday nights packing books for the next day and running over due dates. I am a teenager; we are very talented at procrastinating.

On one of those nights, I was watching “He’s Not Just That Into You.” It’s a beautiful love story of a girl chasing love and taking love advice from a boy she was falling for, and unknown to them both, he felt the same. It’s your typical love story with a happy ending. It starts with friends, what friends tell you when your boyfriend doesn’t call and scenarios from all over the world what your friends tell you as an attempt to comfort you. A particular setting interested me- there was a group of Africans doing regular chores and when one complained about her boyfriend, her friend said, “Maybe he forgot your hut number.” Another friend said, “Or he got eaten by the lion.”

Already, I pointed out many things wrong with the scene, and I found it very offending that in 2009, Africa was still being portrayed in such a manner. But, we are in 2014, and Africa is still being portrayed in that manner. So I spoke to all my friends- from Cape Verde to Somaliland, and from the Cape Town of south Africa to Tunis in Tunisia and every other country in between, including, of course, Nigeria. I asked them for African stereotypes they did not appreciate, whether it was religion or culture, tribe, or country and most of the responses were similar, but in summary, these were the replies I received:

  1. Tunisians are terrorists.
  2. Arabs are not Africans.
  3. Nigerians will juju you.
  4. Igbo people love money.
  5. People from Senegal are BLACK.
  6. All Kenyans are fast runners.
  7. Hausa people don’t speak good English
  8. Africans are poor.
  9. Nigerians are scammers and must not be trusted.
  10. Muslims are terrorists.
  11. All Africans are black.
  12. All South Africans have AIDS.
  13. Yoruba girls are ugly.
  14. Nigerians are all thieves.
  15. Nigerians are all drug dealers.
  16. Nigerians are obnoxious.
  17. “Do you speak African?”
  18. “Do you people live with lions?”
  19. “Do you know Mugabe?”
  20. All Hausa people are stinking rich or terribly poor.
  21. Africa, in general, is a dangerous place.
  22. “Do you live on trees?”
  23. “Do you own cars?”
  24. All Africans are violent as they are terrorists.
  25. Light-skinned and attractive Africans are more successful.
  26. “Do you have internet in Africa?”
  27. Africa is a homogenous country.
  28. Africans are less intellectually gifted than other people.
  29. Getting opportunities because you are an African, especially with college applications.
  30. “Why do white people like black movies?”
  31. Africans go to school on camels.
  32. Rwandan women are all introverted, beautiful and composed, but do not always hold unto the truth.
  33. Rwandans kill themselves (the genocide of 1994).
  34. East Africans have large foreheads.
  35. Zulu people are hot-tempered.
  36. All South African languages are the same.
  37. South Sudanese all have a delinquent and miscreant mindset.
  38. Wealth inequality across Africa.
  39. All Egyptians are Muslims.
  40. All Arabs are Muslims.
  41. “Do you live in a pyramid?”
  42. Sub-saharan Africans cannot have long hair- it just doesn’t grow.
  43. Nigerians are kidnappers.
  44. Nigerians will ‘hook’ you to drugs.
  45. Xhosa women are all gold-diggers.
  46. People from the Maasai tribe eat blood.
  47. Africans speak “Lion-King” language.
  48. Africans hate white people.
  49. Africans do not wear clothes.
  50. All African countries are corrupt.

These are stereotypes of Africans by both Africans and non-Africans, but if, in 2014, we are still attaching animals, poverty and conflicts to Africans, when are we, as inhabitants of the world, going to move forward?


Written in May 2014.


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