So remember when everyone was upset about how the Oscars were whitewashed? Well now instead of over-looking existing actors, it looks like Hollywood is making fictional African countries more famous than the real ones. And Wikipedia made a list of a hundred and eleven made-up African nations that many people just assume are real because of the way they’re portrayed in film and television. (Angry yet?)
Hollywood is known for its fictional settings and people. It’s a blended world of reality and fantasy (whatever those are) where sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. At least that’s how they portray it in the movies. But the blending, it seems, has crossed a line, and people are losing track of what’s real and what’s made up.
Below is a map of Africa. Just to be clear, here’s a few names you won’t find on that map: Birani, the fictional African country from the film The Gods Must Be Crazy; Kush, the fictional country from John Updike’s book The Coup; and Pepsi Presents New Zanzibar, from the “Simpson Safari” episode of The Simpsons.
Image via: Pinterest
Hollywood isn’t the only source of these fake countries. President Trump has also mistakenly referred to African countries that don’t exist. Recently, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, he pronounced the country Namibia as “Nambia,” and the folks over at Wikipedia — bless them for keeping track — have come out with a list of fictional African countries, calling Trump’s mistake the 111th fictional African country they’ve counted. That’s more than twice the number of actual countries in Africa (fifty five). The list was compiled by anonymous Wikipedia contributors.
You’d expect a politician to at least practice his speeches before he delivers them — though I guess we are talking about a guy who can’t even be bothered to spellcheck his tweets before he posts them. In case there are any leaders/politicians who don’t want to seem like they’re undermining an entire country or two by accidentally referring to them by the wrong name, then here’s a helpful video for annunciation. It’s full of tips that actors and public speakers alike can use to improve their diction and projection, and with any luck, it’ll keep us from pissing off the rest of the world… for now, anyway.
If you’re interested in learning more about the diverse subcultures in Africa, you can read about them here. And based on this article, it might not be a bad idea for all of us to take a look.