1/27/08

The "State of Africa" forgot about the island on the east side.


Back in December, I was invited as a speaker for an HIV/AIDS in Africa awareness rally by the Purdue African Student Association. The debate about the reason for the extent of the epidemic and how to go about solving this issue was quite lively and enlightening. I then went to get my ASA T-shirt when I realized that missing from the map of Africa on the shirt was Madagascar.
Unfortunately, it is not the 1st time that Madagascar is omitted as part of Africa from the general public. If one were to look for a map of Africa on google images, 3 out of the 18 first maps would not show Madagascar.
On the same theme, I am currently reading a book, "the state of Africa" by Martin Meredith that is trying to explain the roots of the economic woes of the African continent in the post-colonial period. Meredith goes in great depth about most of the issues and historical events he addresses. That obviously does not allow him to cover all the nations in Africa (and I believe he is correct in choosing this approach). His take on the reason for Che Guevara's despise for Laurent Kabila's army in Congo was compelling. That was in the chapter called "The Birth of Nations". The chapter discusses the fight for independence in Algeria and Fanon's involvement in what he called the African Revolution. My problem is, if you are to discuss the first fight for independence in Africa, how can you not mention the insurrection of 1947 in Madagascar ? It was only one of the very 1st act of rebellion against colonialism in Africa. The book does not mention Madagascar even once and quite fittingly, the cover also fails to include Madagascar.

This is certainly frustrating but not quite as infuriating as the small group of people back home who also would like to forget that Madagascar is part of Africa. But that is another story for another time.
So that is why any pan-African effort that includes Madagascar will be highly lauded over here. And if it involves a friend and fellow Global Voices author Mialy in it, it then becomes must-read. Another initiative that has done a lot in including Madagascar in the sub-Saharan African region is Global Voices Online. Not only as part of Africa but also as a relevant part of the global conversation. Obviously, I am awfully biased towards Global Voices Online. Still imagining Ethan trying to read Global Voices in Malagasy was quite an enjoyable kick. I too now regret giving up so quickly on learning Spanish and reading Edddie Avila's friends working their magic.
So If people thousand miles away are reaching out to us, there are no reasons why we should not reach out to our neighbors and hope that our neighbors will not forget us next time they map the continent.

13 comments:

  1. sipakv2:43 PM

    Hey, thank you for the plug ins. :-)
    And a great subject of a post the presence or absence of Madagascar on African Maps.

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  2. Anytime :).
    I thought it was worth mentioning since it comes up so often :).
    BTW, I want an autograph on my book...

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  3. je peux passss commmmmmenter blogggger m'a bloquée ou quoi?????

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  4. ah enfin ça va mieux...
    ok go on girl say something smart,..
    Et pis samedi t'as eu la grosse baton dans le FBC et c'était comme ça :
    "toi tu vas lire mon blog parce que tu dis n'importe quoi"
    "AH non toi tu vas trouver des arguments dans mon article daté du ***"
    bref...en résumé : "Débat sur la question de l'appartenance Malgache à l'Afrique"

    (j'ai eu le temps de me prendre 3 cafés avant que le sujet ne switch lol)

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  5. I was looking at my Lonely Planet Africa book, and nope, Madagascar was not included in the destinations.

    Eddie

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  6. Never to late to learn Spanish my friend. Supposedly I am now learning French on LiveMocha.com. :)

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  7. @Jogany, on dirait que la telephatie est un des effets secondaires du FBC...
    @Hey Eddie,
    That saddens me. I always thought and still think that Lonely Planet is as good as it comes as a travel guide. I believe they wrote one for Madagascar and the other Indian Ocean islands but the separation does not make sense to me. Thank you much for dropping by and leaving a note.
    @David,
    I am afraid I am a day late and a neuron short but I will give it my best shot :).
    I just landed here and even French seems like struggle right now. Let's blame the red-eye....

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  8. jogany12:18 PM

    again I'm very jealous with my friend the Hippo travelling...please keep on texting so I can update to help you survive your absence from the blogosphere

    Bizzzz

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  9. hey no problem... asia will take you guys... "proud to be brown" or something of that nature, neuroscientst/tech support.

    Seriously mate, it's a huge problem. Maps of Africa that I've seen in Zambia do include Madagascar so we're aware of across-the-channel cousins.

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  10. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Personal non-intelligent comment: *colère*

    It's a vicious circle, we're dissed on some maps of Africa, but some of our compatriots diss Africa and anything and everything African regularly... It's sad really...!

    (j'ai switché les langues parce que j'ai lu que "French seems like a struggle" parce que je suis nosey)

    InsaneMind

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  11. wowowo
    who's the best fokoster in the world?
    lovaloalovalovalova

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  12. Mosilager:

    Long time no see rommie. There is an idea: list the countries and institutions that left us off an african map.

    Insane mind:
    Agreed. The view that some of our compatriots have of Africa is downright stupid and probably deserves a whole new post.

    Jogany:
    Hippos travel slowly and blog even slower.

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  13. i heard about your meetings especially the nouba ones
    i know everything...
    like i did to Vola "I need photos!"

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