Volunteer to Teach English at Westminster Comprehensive School, Ghana

Perception of Africa Through Western Eyes

A paper on the "Perception of Africa Through Western Eyes" written by Chris Ferris, recent volunteer teacher, who used it to teach the teachers and the students on how the westerners perceive our part of the world and what through traveling they have discovered.

Perceptions are Based on Information

Sources of information:


Broken governments, nothing works, dangerous, violent, illiterate, uneducated- basket case, dirty, unhygienic.


Problems with western media:

Presentation of Africa is recognised by people studying at all leading universities. The bias towards negative reports leads to a cycle of more negative reports.

How do we improve the situation?

Sections of Africa

Perceptions depend on where you are talking about :

South Africa - Very dangerous, mainly fear about Johannesburg and shanties, shark attacks, kidnaps, carjacking, murders.

East Africa - Tourism, safer, safaris, masai, famine war, piracy, drugs (Ethiopia and Somalia).

Central Africa - Good, gorillas/ mountains. Bad child soldiers, genocide, famine, smuggling, blood disease. Total no go-write off. Diamonds/ gold.

West Africa - Not much attention, Ivory Coast, Nigeria pipelines/oil attacks – nollywood.

North Africa - Not Africa - Arabs.

Overall Negative

Bad news sells
No quality local news available
Donor fatigue especially religion
AIDS - we have our own problems, no funding for own (poor)


With thanks to Chris Ferris.