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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Pulse of Africa survey: Your views
Yassah David and family
More than 90% of Africans are positive about their lives and proud of their continent, according to a new survey conducted by the BBC.

More than 7,500 people in 10 countries were interviewed for the Pulse of Africa survey.

Most of those questioned said that they felt other people saw Africans as peaceful, friendly and rich in natural resources.

And their biggest problem was poverty followed by HIV/Aids, unemployment, illiteracy and corruption.

Are you surprised by the findings of the BBC Pulse of Africa survey? If you are an African, are you proud? If you are not, what do you think of them? Send us your reasons, views and experiences using the postform.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

I was born and raised in Nigeria. I lived there for 15 years and yes times were hard but I have more happy memories than ever. In the states you might seem well off, less poverty, better health, etc but overall you're not happy. I also love that we have and abide by our religions and moral/ethic beliefs. I will not trade being Nigerian for anything.
Zina, Chicago, USA

Africans are happy but not comfortable
Jonah Thomas, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

90% happiness seems like an exaggerated number for any society
Anthony, USA
I don't doubt that Africans have many reasons to be happy. But 90% happiness seems like an exaggerated number for any society. If you read this page, Africans are well aware of how their continent is portrayed by the Western media. Since the BBC is part of that media, could it be that maybe Africans were loathe to say anything negative in a BBC survey?
Anthony, USA

I am an African, and very proud to be so, and of my continent. How do we define poverty? I think we are very rich, as long as we are happy. The main problems, I think are wars and HIV/AIDS. Otherwise, Africa is the best.
Aikande Kwayu, Moshi, Tanzania

Only a continent full of delusional ignorant people would be 90% positive about their life. This is typical of third world thinking (where I come from). The only plausible reason might be because of their not having experienced life in other countries. Africa might have been blessed with much abundance but their populations have been conducted themselves with much disgrace. Many African habits and cultural attitudes are worthy of much derision
Ranjan, Delaware, USA/India

I am not surprised at the findings at all. it has been said that great things happen on the continent but are not reported in the western press. I believe this shows that we are not so depressed after all.
Kwaku Kwaa-Aidoo, Takoradi, Ghana

Britain has been good to me and I consider it my home as well but fundamentally I am still an African
Jois, UK

I left Ghana as a teenager and I am proud to be a Ghanaian, one difference I noticed was how sociable we were as opposed to the British. Nonetheless I grew up in an era of equal opportunities and Britain has been good to me and I consider it my home as well but fundamentally I am still an African.
Jois, UK

Most rural Africans think of life as struggle to feed their families and raise their children where there is no clean water, sanitation and family planning. For them survival is the measurement of quality of life and I am not surprised by the result of your survey. We in Ethiopia say thanks to God that we are still alive.
Tedla Asfaw, Flushing, NY

I do not understand why there would be a survey of this nature. Nobody would dare ask Europeans or Americans if they are proud to belong to their particular nations. Despite the problems Africa has we all love our home and are proud of who we are. This survey could be seen as insulting.
Njeri, London, England

I am a proud African woman who lived in Europe for a long time and visited the US a couple of times. I want to tell you, Africa is the only continent closest to God. Everything in Africa is natural, just the way God created it. I am talking about people, environment, air, you name it¿ it is natural. I am glad I am an African; I wouldn't want to be anything else.
Nini Mamiki, Maseru, Lesotho

As Africans we have been the most suppressed people in the history of mankind. Our wealth and identity stolen away from us, but still we remain the most passionate people in the world, we have learnt to take pride in our suffering and poverty, but today I am happy to say it feels good to be an African once again and as Africans we see the world finally taking us seriously as a people and the we know that the day shall come when Africa is emancipated from Aids, poverty, lack of dignity and pride, this shall be done by Africans themselves. Amen.
Mbulelo Clive Khoza, Pretoria, South Africa

Living in the West, the UK and the US makes me appreciate the communality of our African society
Vivian Toku-Afriyie, USA

I am a very proud Ghanaian and Africa. Whenever people want to know the origin of my English accent, I am quick to tell them Ghana and correct them when they think its Guyana There is a song in Ghana which says "Ghana, my happy home" surely it is indeed our happy home. I say this because living in the West, the UK and the US makes me appreciate the communality of our African society, the joys and the laughter we share even when things are dry financially.

I grew up in Nigeria and Ghana and learnt so much about the world around me. Something I know people in the West know little about, except what they are told in the media. Africa is a beautiful continent, filled with beautiful people who appreciate life.
Vivian Toku-Afriyie, Ghanaian in Florida, USA

Nonsense. The survey was shallow, misplaced and an insult to Africans. I am not convinced that the number of respondents is representative of the total population of the 10 selected countries. I had the privilege to listen to the same report on BBC radio. The reporter told the world that Africans do not know where they will get the next meal. Being an African from Kenya there is nothing so misleading and insulting.

This shows how the West still doesn't understand Africa. It is true Africa has its share of problems, some of them as a result of the colonial legacy. Having lived in the US for eight years, there is nothing that can make me substitute my home with anywhere else. I hope the BBC will take time to learn to understand Africa so that they can present a fair picture of the continent.
Kithinji Kwiriga, Nashua, US

An African proverb says, if you do not travel you will think it's only your mother who knows how to cook. So do not be surprised that Africans are saying they are proud to be African even though they are living abroad. The are bold enough to see the world but not let their values be changed.
Wanja, UK

I am proud of being an African. I can't change who I am and God had a reason when He created everyone the way they are. I am a Ghanaian but whenever I see anyone from any country of Africa, I feel like he/she is my sister/brother. Also if I was to reborn I would not change my identity, I would still want to be an African.
Fosuaa Boateng (Abena), Kumasi, Ghana

Nigeria may difficult right now but there is something one would not fail to notice on its streets - vibrancy
Egwa Ibrahim Esseshelah, Awka

Nigeria may difficult right now but there is something one would not fail to notice on its streets - vibrancy. Let those who want to go go. Those of us that have noticed this vibrancy will stay. Africa won't be the same ten years from now. We survived all these past years so we will survive ten more.
Egwa Ibrahim Esseshelah, Awka, Nigeria

I am an African with a very Western upbringing, schooled in the UK extensively from childhood. Africa holds dear to me and visions of us making it one day hold clear with me. We have African investors putting their monies into the communities and we are sure to see the results. Take a look at Celtel for instance; there are lots of small start ups dotted around the continent doing wonderful things. Sure we are behind, but not for ever, change will soon be here and surprisingly with eager Western capital at the right time!
Onipanuah, Kinshasa, DRC

It is said that "no condition is permanent". Africa's problems would soon pass over. But Africans must take the bull by the horn, rather than depending on the West for salvation. This is the challenge before us all and this is the time to act by eschewing negative tendencies like war, corruption and parochialism. Verily, there is light at the end of the tunnel. God bless Africa.
Rafiu Mohammed, Lagos, Nigeria

It is a good thing to be an African. I am proud of myself and I love this continent. It is full of good things and the world is dependent on Africa. Africa the best place a man can wish for in his life to live. You must come to Africa to experience the exciting beauty and relaxing environment.
Colani Manana, Manzini, Swaziland

There is nothing like one's home, we might be poor, sick and unemployed, but there is no way I will want to be somebody else. I love my country and proudly carry my country flag! The dust, the laughter, the cry, the rain, the mud¿ the music, the colours... nothing can replace Cameroon in me! I am proud to be African!
Josiane Djachechi, Bafang, Cameroon

We have a long way to go and we all have to put our hands together
Johnson, Paris, France

Being a Nigerian who has worked with a multinational company in various European countries, I identify with the sentiments portrayed in your survey that no place is like home. Although I live here and have done so for some time, all the money I retain here is just enough to live by, the rest I remit home while longing to return home and make my place there where I should be. On the other hand, I browse the internet daily for news about home, hoping that by some sheer miracle, all the endless problems that plague my country - corruption, government insensitivity and often high-handedness and arrogance and the very sufferings of our people - would have been taken away.

It pains that it's there everyday on the pages of our news media to see. We have a long way to go and we all have to put our hands together to make our individual countries and the continent wake up and live up to its potentials. We have to fight and free our land from the stranglehold of a few selfish, deluded politicians who have come to see our collective futures as theirs to barter so they can protect their ill-gotten wealth and scandalous lifestyle.
Johnson, Paris, France

Happiness for most Africans is defined in terms kinship, culture and the simplicity in our way of life. This things abound in Africa and most people in the face of material poverty are content and happy.
Stephen Njoloma, San Francisco, USA

I'm quite glad to leave the continent with the worst levels of corruption, poverty, disease
Daniel, London, UK

Most people from Africa overseas have left Africa out of desperation. Most of those still in Africa are there as they have nowhere else to go. If 90% of those really are optimistic it's truly commendable. There wouldn't be much point in wallowing in self pity after all. I'm quite glad to leave the continent with the worst levels of corruption, poverty, disease. I won't be hurrying back.
Daniel, London, UK

My family moved to London from Nigeria when I was 3-years-old, so the Western way has been what I have known most. But I feel that my strength and personal determination to succeed where I am, spurs from the pride installed within me from family and friends in England and whenever I have travelled home. African pride and the raw passion of Nigerian culture: despite all the apparent suffering, it is the fundamental values of this magnificent continent that shines through.
A Eluma, London, England

To Manny from California: Oh no, we are not deluded!
Jason, Liverpool, England

Being born in Ghana and raised with Ghanaian values has been the best thing in my life and whom ever I marry my children will also be brought up with the same standing. After all Africans have been through for us to still have joy, hope and maintain a strong sense of values which is lacking all around the world I believe all people should be proud of their heritage. Yes there is poverty and yes there is sickness but the strength of our people is such that we are overcomers with a level of spirit which surpasses any other. So I am proud to be Ghanaian and however I do my hair or what music I listen to or which state I live in, I will always have that spirit that made my ancestors survive through slavery and I will always stay strong!
Naana Agyei-Ampadu, London

An African proverb says no-one points to their mother's homeland with their left hand
Eben Arthur, London

An African proverb says no-one points to their mother's homeland with their left hand. Few people anywhere turn their backs on their homeland because of problems, it's natural, and people feel attached to their roots. Feeling attached is different from feeling committed - as the survey showed in the numbers who would like to live elsewhere (and I daresay, are living elsewhere). Feeling attached is romantic, being committed is reality. Loving is one thing, giving is another. I know a man who used to say he loved his wife and yet he beat her up at times. If Africans love their motherland so much, maybe they should stop beating her up and start giving to her instead.
Eben Arthur, London, UK

Africa's flora and fauna is unmatched anywhere in the whole world. Come to my village and see the beautiful butterflies - all colours. Across I see the Elgeyo escarpment with its majestic sharpness. Over the Tugen hills are the breathtaking flamingos of Lake Bogoria - the traditional dancers of Njemps and Lempus and Pokot people. Over the other side is lake Nakuru and many more flamingos, zebras strolling lazily. I haven't even given you a glimpse of my land yet - there is still Maasai Mara, Amboseli and much more to share. What more could Kenyans possibly need when our land is a paradise on earth?
Symon K Kimitei, Kabarnet, Kenya

Their happiness and positivity seemed so incongruous with their dismal living conditions
Piku, Chapel Hill, USA

I'm not surprised at all by the findings of this survey. I am Indian, but spent my first 12 years in Burkina Faso, twice as long as I've lived in India. I have strong emotional ties to Africa and have always felt a sense of pride and protectiveness of Africa and Africans, and have chosen to dedicate my career to Aids prevention in Africa, an aspiration that was borne out of my childhood. A major factor that inspired me to return to Africa and work in health and development was the astounding sense of pride and dignity that most Burkinabes carried, despite their state of abject poverty.

Their happiness and positivity seemed so incongruous with their dismal living conditions. It filled me with a respect that I have seldom felt for any other people. And when I finally returned to Burkina Faso as a researcher, 15 years later in 2001, some things hadn't changed: still a lot of poverty, poor health, major social problems, and basic infrastructural setbacks, but still huge smiles, hearty laughs and unbreakable pride. It was overwhelming and inspiring.
Piku, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

I used to live with a Ghanaian, a Twi man. Apart from being a devout Catholic, an extremely hard worker, a considerate flat mate and a caring father, he was also extremely positive about his country. He left with a permit to live and work in Europe in the late 80s, has now made enough to live and to finance a future retirement in Ghana. Even if things go pear-shaped, he still has a BA in agricultural economics and is a fully trained baker. This should be a model example to all young Ghanaians that education and persistence at home or abroad pay off and are welcomed.
Dominic, Graz, Austria

Though my father is a Nigerian and mum is a Ghanaian, I cherish Ghana so much for its peace, orderliness and the people's friendliness. Anytime I travel there, I don't feel like coming back to Nigeria. Soon I'll be living in Ghana forever. But I'm sad about Ghana's poor performance in football. The likes of Abedi Pele, Desaily, Stephen Appiah should wake up fast. Oh how I pray Ghana should be at the 2006 World Cup. God Bless Ghana!
Rafiu Mohammed, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria is a country in a million - a pot pourri of languages, and people of amazing dynamism, and character
Basil Moses, Nigeria

I love Nigeria, that I will not compromise her unity and cooperate existence for a world war; Nigeria is a country in a million - a pot pourri of languages, and people of amazing dynamism, and character. The only country with over 350 ethnic groups on earth. Though she has gone through hell, she still strives to carry the black man's burden, which bring her detractors and friends alike. Africa will bounce to prominence, by the zeal of her over 130 million people.
Basil Moses, Kaduna, Nigeria

I am an African living in US and I am proud to finding Ghana on Pulse of Africa. It gives me a good chance of expressing myself as a Ghanaian in terms of the love and compassion we have for Westerners, for allowing most Africans to come to their country to have a greener pasture in education, jobs and business opportunities. I do not even no how much I love Ghana and Western countries. May God guide as all in prospering in everything one does whether an African or Westerner.
Charles Erzuah, Chicago, USA

I believe the survey reflects what most of us, who have lived for a long time overseas in places such USA, have observed. A telling sign is the substantial amount of funds transferred by migrants overseas: they have no intention, in their great majority of settling out side home. The faith of Africans in their country and self is what will develop the continent, many other challenges notwithstanding.
Mohamadou Diop, Dakar, Senegal

I love the feeling of identity, belonging and indeed of being not only Zambian but an African woman!
M Mundia, Zambia

Of the popular places mentioned (US, UK and France), I am yet to visit France. Yes with its poverty, lamentable calibre of leaders and its seemingly unending disorientation (not to glorify these mayhems in any way, however), in my opinion there truly can be no place like home.... in this case Africa for Africans. I love the feeling of identity, belonging and indeed of being not only Zambian but an African woman! No ways! The joy and happiness does not arise from handouts from relatives oversees. It is an inbuilt asset that is unfathomable¿ that with all the stress and hassled lifestyle, love still abounds in most African souls. Every day, I want to vouch for Africa and for being one.
M Mundia, Zambia

I am a Kenyan living and working in India. I can't wait to go back home next year. I believe Kenya and Africa has a great chance to achieve its full potential in development. I believe the challenges facing Africa are not insurmountable. The wealth of natural resources is enough to make us realise this. We only need sound policies that are well implemented by popularly elected governments that are transparent and accountable. I am going to be working towards the realisation of this in Kenya.
Mwathi Mati, New Delhi, India

Having lived two years abroad makes me feel proud of being an African (Kenyan), coming from a continent with communal responsibility and cultural values. It is a continent with a high sense of awareness for otherness and not inwardness. People are valued and respected of who they are and not what they are. Africans be proud of your positive values.
Paul, Boston, USA

Africans are great peoples as individuals. Mostly intelligent, optimistic and good spirited. Unfortunately there is more to African's characters. They don't develop an ability to work together for common goods. There are cultural and social obstacles which can't be overcome. Perhaps next survey will try to explain this phenomenon.
Krzysztof Binkowski, Poland

It seems odd that many people here are proclaiming how great Africa is yet so many people either want to live abroad or have already moved. There are people in this forum living in other countries yet still proclaiming how great Africa is - so why aren't they living there?
John, London

From the North of the Sahara to South of the Limpopo, Africa is home
Titi Woki, Spring Arbor, USA

From the North of the Sahara to South of the Limpopo, Africa is home and there is no place like home. The genuine love of the African people makes all the difference, the indifference of the Western society makes me long for the day when I will settle back in my motherland. Africa sure has a load of problems to tackle but it still is a place that where life is lived in community, people bearing each others burdens just as God intended for it to be. I am proud to call Kenya, Africa my home.
Titi Woki, Spring Arbor, USA

This survey reinforces what I observed when I had the misfortune to live in Nigeria for nine years. Most Africans are not dealing with reality and are too proud to admit they are living in man-made hell holes. Low life expectancy, Aids, war, famine, ethnic violence, and they are happy? I think the clinical term for that is delusion.
Manny, California, USA

One thing about Ghanaians is that they are hardworking, respectful, hospitable and love to see visitors in their country or home.
Yahaya, Tamale, Ghana

I'm now a resident of the US. Come to a Kenyan gathering and the pride of being a Kenyan is amazing. For the majority of us the reason we're here is financial but if we had a choice we'd rather live back in Kenya. Maybe it's the stark difference between the lifestyles of societies abroad in comparison to those back home that makes the difference.
Paul Kiatu, Dallas, TX, USA

The outcome of the survey is a correct projection of the true African Spirit.
Kwame Akuffo

Even when my country was going through hell I always held my head high
Dimoke Tanvulla, DRC

For me, being African is everything to me. Although I came to England when I was just 10-years-old, my dream is to go back to Congo not just to live the rest of my days in my beloved country but to also work and contribute in the development of my country. Even when my country was going through hell I always held my head high and knew that the high spirit that once made us great would prevail. I have never been more optimistic and hopeful of a better future for Africa then now. I love my homeland more than anywhere else. The next three decades are ours!
Dimoke Tanvulla, DRC

It is a pity that the survey was only conducted in large to medium-sized countries and did not cover smaller countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia or countries just emerging out of war e.g. Liberia/Sierra Leone. It would have been good to have a more balanced representation of African countries.
Sonii David, Cameroon (Liberian)

What a great continent is Africa for us? It is an entire world, undiminished by incompetent leaders and vulturing international monetary institutions; Africa is my greatest gift from my God. I was born African, I will die African. God continue to bless the great nations of Africa.
Ernest, Lusaka, Zambia

As an American having lived in various African countries, I have witness the pride that Africans have in their past. But I am curious to know whether the pride of Africa stems from their rich heritage, customs, and family values, or from the past century that has seen many places in Africa grow poorer, conflict zones increase, and health concerns multiply. It is true that Africa contributes tremendously to the world economy. However, there is little pride in the fact that multinational companies and African leaders are reaping the benefits.

One survey has identified African countries (specifically Nigeria) as containing the happiest people on earth. This then begs the question, is their so called happiness based on their way of life (which has drastically changed - enter Christianity, Islam, colonialism) or from forced apathy? Additionally, this statistic seems to make little sense in light of your report that a quarter of Nigerians would leave their country if they could!
Observer, American in Nigeria

Whenever someone asks me what my nationality is I tell them, Nigerian or African
Chika, Boston, USA

I think Africa is a great continent despite all its tragic problems. Just like anyone else is proud of where they come from, so are Africans. I was born here but I am extremely proud to be Nigerian and to be an African woman. Nothing will ever make me lose that pride. That continent has been through so much turmoil and strife, the people who have come out of that and been able to make a better life for themselves should be proud.

I believe Africans are a strong people but the way the media interprets it is that we are just poverty-stricken, HIV infected, pitiful people who will never climb out of our misery. Whenever someone asks me what my nationality is I tell them, Nigerian or African because that is how strongly I feel and how proud I am. I have never once said I was an American.
Chika, Boston, USA

No amount of brightly-lit streets, dripping chocolate and satellite TVs can take the place of such soulful simplicities
Joy Simwaba, Zambia

No surprise at all - even with such a small population that was sampled in the poll. I am very confident that if this same survey were to be conducted in Iraq or Afghanistan today, very similar results would emerge. It only goes to show that true joy of life resides in a very intractable place.

Despite all the scientific surveys being floated around at the moment (and they strike me more as being rough-cut cultural snapshots than robust, universally applicable science), you just cannot calculate for what makes a person smile with deep contentment; not in nearly the same way as you can the force that drops the apple to the ground. I would propose too that pride lies in the soul of the owner. Passion, memories, the place where your childhood curiosities were first nurtured: no amount of brightly-lit streets, dripping chocolate and satellite TVs can take the place of such soulful simplicities.
Joy Simwaba, Zambia

Conditions are difficult but I am a strong believer in Africa's future. We shall not give up hope. But we need to depend more on ourselves rather than the government and multi-national donor agencies.
Muniru, Ghana

Batswana are warm, loving and very trustworthy people. I am proud of my continent and what it has achieved over the years, and more so for what my own country (Botswana) has achieved.
Lovely, Serowe, Botswana

I am therefore looking forward to retiring in Kenya in the next few years
Kuria Githiora, USA

I am a Kenyan who has been in the USA for the past 25 years and just because I own a car, a house and have several credit cards does not make me happy. I consider myself a modern day slave who really doesn't get the time to enjoy living in my house or driving the car. I am always working to keep up the payments! I also have few friends who I rarely get to see. I must say that there's zero social capital in the USA and one is often reduced to a working machine. I am therefore looking forward to retiring in Kenya in the next few years.
Kuria Githiora, Kenyan in USA

I believe that the current government is not doing badly at all; it has handled the economy very well. In terms of infrastructural development, it has done very well. I hope Ghanaians will very soon forget about leaving Ghana for greener pastures elsewhere.
Kwadwo Adomako-Baafi, Accra, Ghana

The source of African happiness is due to handouts from family members in Europe and America. The ones without these handouts must have politicians in their family to be happy. Others without will give a very gloom story.
Taiwo Olateju, London, England

Africa's total emancipation should be spearheaded by Africans themselves
Ahmed Musaazi, Uganda

According to archaeological discoveries, Africa is the source of human race and the entire humanity should be proud of it. The oldest human bones were discovered in Ethiopia and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. At Nsongezi along the banks of River Kagera on Uganda/Tanzania boarder is archaeological evidence of the early man. River Nile is not only the longest river in the world but also at its mouth, Egypt was one of the centres for early civilizations. Writings and cultivations started along Lower Nile valleys.

Egyptian Pharaohs and Ethiopian Emperors are mentioned in the Bible and The Qur'an and this makes Africa part of Judeo-Christian and Islamic civilizations. Most Africans live a simple life but are happy since the continent is endowed with tropical climate and fertile soils. However Africa is still suffering from poverty, ignorance, disease, natural disasters like drought and famine, and man made ones like armed conflict as a result of bad governance. Although the international community's aid is commendable, Africa's total emancipation should be spearheaded by Africans themselves. This will make my Mother continent a far better place to live in.
Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi, Kampala, Uganda

Ghana is for all its citizens but enjoyed by few fortunate ones. You have to be a relative of people in government to enjoy fullness of your right. For instance, education which should be a right is now a privilege in Ghana. Brilliant but needy students are most vulnerable to problems of dropout in schools. Thanks to Western world universities whose admissions come with scholarships and financial aids but even with this, a visa is not guaranteed. Visa acquisition has also become privileged through bribery. Some consulars are and have become corrupt by the land. They have soon been infected by the mighty disease off African land. Oh no! What is this world we live in?
Alexander Amoah, Obuasi, Ghana

Imagine if we described ourselves with the same level of pessimism portrayed in the world media?
Abi, Lagos, Nigeria

I'm Nigerian and found the findings of the Pulse of Africa survey interesting. The positive outlook Africans have with respect to their lives and continent does not surprise me, I am merely concerned that the implied expectation is to they should not. Imagine if we described ourselves with the same level of pessimism portrayed in the world media? Can the world handle that level of depression?! I wouldn't put the whole of Nigeria up for sale, just Abuja with all its politicians and bureaucrats... I would even pay you to take them!
Abi, Lagos, Nigeria

I am not surprised by your findings. The African people are a strong and resolute people who face immense hardship but find time to laugh and have fun. I have travelled to over 25 countries in Africa and one thing I have seen is the determination of the people to overcome all troubles. I remember my first visit to DRC at the height of the war and seeing all these Congolese people spending their weekend dancing, drinking and eating mishikaki (roast meat on a wire spindle) and I thought: Wow in the midst of war people still have the spirit to enjoy themselves! Our only failure is that we produce and tolerate too many useless, selfish and corrupt politicians while killing or frustrating all the good Africans. I say to all Africans be proud of yourself one day we shall overcome just as we overcame nature to build the great monuments of Nubia, Monomotapa and Axum.
Trevor Simumba, Freetown, Sierra Leone

I prefer having less of material wealth and more of spiritual and human wealth - that is being rich
Weru Macharia, UK

Differentiate between poverty and misery. Poverty is the spiritual human deficiency, that is, lack of what makes you a human being, like sociability. Africa has much of that and the West does not have it. Misery is lack of material possessions, which is what the West has and we Africans are in short of. I prefer having less of material wealth and more of spiritual and human wealth - that is being rich. Lastly, allow me to say that our brothers and sisters in the West do not tell their lot in Africa of the harsh social reality of the West, they can do it in this column, which is why I say it is well thought out.
Weru Macharia, Kenyan in the UK

The biggest problem is governments not encouraging young people to start their own businesses instead these young brains look else where and end up working abroad as casual labourers. If governments can give tax breaks to the few companies coming up then we would see more African being employed at home and more development.
Patrick Mugumya, Kampala, Uganda

Democracy and people power has made African governments more responsible for the well being of their people.
Jay, Accra, Ghana

Africa at large and Zambia in particular have to find its way out of poverty and bad governance and corruption. Illiteracy has to be wiped out, because when people know more, then they are less likely to be outsmarted by bad governments.
Patrick Kakoma (Zambian born)

These areas are in chaos but it's just a small portion of the continent
Ikki Samuel, Denmark

The findings that Africans are happy and proud of their continent didn't come to me as a surprise. As an African living abroad I have both first hand knowledge from both sides of the views. The image portrayed by the Western media in the Western nations is of a continent which has nothing to offer except death war and hunger. Where as this is true in some cases, Africa is a big continent but when we talk of Darfur, Somali and the Great Lakes region, these areas are in chaos but it's just a small portion of the continent. Why the Western media decides to concentrate on those areas are beyond my scope but the bottom line is most Africans are happy with their continent. It's rich and promising. With a little advancement in technology, Africa will be the continent of the future.
Ikki Samuel, Århus, Denmark

Ghana is my country of origin. I never knew it was a better place to live until I came to live in the USA. Now I realise that despite all the propaganda and bad image given to the African continent, it's still one of the best places on earth.
D David, N Brunswick, USA

I wouldn't want to live anywhere else
Moira Eyre, South Africa

I am extremely proud to be an African. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world. The economy of South Africa is improving more every year.
Moira Eyre, Johannesburg, South Africa

Whilst we Africans cannot shy away from our poverty, we nevertheless, aren't going to mortgage our identity and values for what Europeans call development that benefits only a few. Address the inequalities in the world trade system to enable Africa take its destiny into its own hands. Africa's riches must benefit all of her people and not some.
Nat Glover-Meni, Koforidua, Ghana

Life in Africa really teaches you that life should not be measured by what a man has. In Nigeria in particular where more than half of the population are poor, people find a reason to be happy and thankful. There is never a dull day in Africa.
Jennifer Ogah, Nigeria

I thought life in the US was the next best thing to heaven but that turned to be the opposite of my thought
Sam K Zinnah, USA

I am a Liberian living in the United States of America. Prior to my travel to the United States, I thought life in the US was the next best thing to heaven but that turned to be the opposite of my thought. In the United States, there is corruption, poverty and just anything one can think about in Africa. There are things or diseases in the US that I did not see in Africa. I presently work in the nursing home and can't just believe what I am seeing and dealing with. Africa is one of the best places on the face of the earth. The West knows that very well and this is why they always cause confusion among the leadership of the continent to keep us apart. The unity of Africa will serve as disunity of the West.
Sam K Zinnah, Delaware State, USA

Africa is full of some the most ebullient and energetic people on Earth. The continent has vast mineral reserves. Yet, since the withdrawal of the colonial European powers, there has not been one African nation which can truly call itself a democracy. The continent has war, corruption and disease. Zimbabwe under Mugabe is a world disaster which should demand UN intervention, but African intervention first. The same applies to Darfur. Africa, I love you, but you have to accept responsibility for the errors of some of your wayward leaders. Remove them from power. Best wishes.
Neill, Maryville, USA

It doesn't matter how much negative press Africans and Africa get by the Western media which prefers to focus on the negatives instead of the positives. I still love Africa. I know that no matter what, one day we will overcome our problems.
Fala, Kenya

The only reason quite many of us seek to emigrate is poverty and difficult working conditions we face
Mwai Njau, Arusha

I'm Kenyan and not at all surprised at the findings. Most Africans have our sense of values the right side up and love our homes and families. The only reason quite many of us seek to emigrate is poverty and difficult working conditions we face; courtesy of corruption and neo-colonialism being perpetuated by the African and Western ruling class. If the study had gone one further to trace where most of the earnings of majority African emigrants end up, I bet they'd have found most Africans prefer to repatriate their savings to invest in home countries.

Now wouldn't such a finding be telling where our hearts truly are? I bet surveying the biggest beneficiaries of the corrupt deals that have so impoverished majority of us would equally be telling! Would it be surprising if it turned out to be Western multinationals and the governments that hide behind them? For most of us, emigration is a necessary evil to enable us break away from the vicious cycle of poverty and debilitating corruption.
Mwai Njau, Arusha, Tanzania

I am proud to be an African! All we need is to increase and retain the number of educated people! 20 years from today it will an exciting story!
Sylvester R, Kampala, Uganda

It is only the politician who is well off in Africa. You need to be a politician or a relative of a politician to survive well in Africa.
Kobby, Accra, Ghana

Ghana is my home. No one can make it better for me. I love the peace that exists in my country.
Samuel Tetteh, Accra, Ghana

There is a unique sense of humour in us Africans, and an even enhanced proportional optimism that lives in our hearts day after day. "Land where our fathers die, land of the noble's pride... from every mountain sound... we are proud to Africans." If only we can merge as Africans, the future of Earth will rest in our hands... that are how distinguished we are. We are sturdy, intelligent, knowledgeable, innovative, courageous, conformity, and sanctified by God. There can be no other continent like Africa... none.
Joseph Yarsiah, Monrovia, Liberia

Suffering and smiling, that has been the way of the average African
Amayo Monday Bello, Nigeria

Suffering and smiling, that has been the way of the average African. It is no doubt that the continent is endowed with abundant natural resources and rich socio-cultural heritage, and such is a reason why her children needs and should be proud of the continent. As an African, I am proud of my heritage and will strive to keep my inheritance no matter where I migrate to, home is home, sweet and dynamic in nature, even though we are behind in technological development, and we pride ourselves as the initiator of modern civilization. Time! Yes only time and we shall conquer the evils that derail the vision of the Africa continent: Corruption by our leaders and rampaging poverty and HIV/Aids. Besides these evils Africa rules the world in naturalization.
Amayo Monday Bello, Warri, Nigeria

Having lived in Africa for 12 years I am not at all surprise of your findings. It is not only a beautiful continent; the people are warm and resilient like no other. Apart from extreme poverty, that certainly needs to be solved, what many in Europe call poverty is usually a simpler life, more centred on relationship than on material possession. And they certainly are more welcoming with us than we are with them in the Europe. We should be ashamed of ourselves and learn true hospitality from them!
Alessandra Ferri, Egypt

I don't see how the BBC can correctly assume that "90% of Africans are positive about their lives" as they only interviewed 7,500 people in 10 countries! There are 54 countries in Africa with nearly 800 million people. Did they interview people in countries plagued by corruption in governments, or where 8-year-olds hold AK-47's in their hands so they can shoot their neighbours while high on cocaine that is forced upon them. I guess they never bothered going to the Sudan on this time-wasting survey of theirs.
Claire, South African living in Ireland

I am not surprised by the findings of the BBC Pulse of Africa survey. The fact remains that Africans are peaceful people blessed with natural resources. They have cordial relationship likewise the Western does not have. They give freely to people and are easy to be with. They raised their children in a special way.
Belinda, Accra, Ghana

The survey confirms what the world knows but dares not say out loud: that we Africans are a proud and resilient people. All we need is to get our share of the global media and present our African perspective of the world!
Wanjiku, Nairobi, Kenya

It's wonderful! Africans are indeed very positive, joyful people - make the best of every circumstance and have a great joie de vivre - they are so happy with so little! Good on them!
Joe Mandebvu, Australia (ex Zimbabwe)

Kenya's dilemma has never been captured better than this; the moral dilemma that remains elusive to many polls is the balance between the love for the transitional government, the optimism that still remains for president Kibaki to deliver (with a feeling that somehow he will deliver) and the discontent now turning to pessimism over the inept handling of corruption and to that end BBC deserves a pat on the back for striking gold with this survey!
Dennis Itumbi, Nairobi, Kenya

Africans let down by governments
13 Oct 04  |  Africa



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