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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Why I love Africa
BBC listeners and readers share their personal experiences of the African continent.

Here are the latest contributions celebrating Africa's extended family relationships, flames of hope, blood-red soil and hospitality.

Sister Enza Carini, Zambia

I love Africa because I love its people and their sense of relating to others.

Cameroon lady having her hair done by her aunt
While the chatting goes on for hours and hours, the new hairstyle takes shape

I like to see the girls with their hairstyles and the solemnity with which they walk displaying that strange arrangement on their heads.

And while they comb and plat it, they chat and chat and chat - visiting with their words all the villages and neighbours' houses.

And while the chatting goes on for hours and hours, the new hairstyle takes shape.

Miss Africa is ready.

Yes.

Africa, Miss Africa who has got her own beauty, her own style, and enthusiasm, dignity and life.

Patricia Buckle, Sierra Leone

Flirting

MAN: Hello Miss, how are you?

LADY AFRICA: Good day my brother, I'm fine and you?

African woman
Africa, your complexion is as dark as the night

MAN: Oh my dear, I'm fine, please can you spare me few minutes? I'd like to talk to you.

LADY AFRICA: Come right along, let's walk together, yes I'm listening - go right ahead with what you want to say.

MAN: Miss, first of all, I am one of your admirers.

Oh my, what a lovely name, Af...ri...ca...

Miss, your eyes are as bright as the moonshine, your nose is shaped like the rocks from which waters flow, my dear your face is as smooth as the blue sky.

Africa, your complexion is as dark as the night, your hips like the mountainous scenes and above all I love the colour of your dress, green.

You look very natural.

But Miss to be sincere my friend Big Brother Cares (known among us as BBC) told me that though you are well decorated, you are going through hell on earth.

But yet you are very happy in your distress.

Miss I'm willing to go through it with you.

My dear Africa, the news of your hospitality can be heard all over this global village.

Africa all I want to say is that I love you very much.

LADY AFRICA: Thanks for the compliments, I love you too.

Habib Mustafa Sebit, Sudan

I love Africa because when you are faced with some emergency finance problems, you call at your extended relation's house without first informing him that you are coming.

And he will help you if he has the wherewithal... or he will go and borrow for your sake.

I love the extended family relationships in Africa.

Everyone is his brother's keeper.

A goat farmer herding his flock outside Cherif Lo in Senegal
As soon as a guest arrives, one is sacrificed to eat with the guest

In Africa, a child is not owned by its biological parents alone, but by the entire extended family, nay the entire community.

When a man is wealthy, it is not for himself, his wife and the children alone.

Instead it becomes his duty to take care of his parents, sisters, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunties and other relations.

I love Africa because of its warm and vivid hospitality.

Imagine a home, which has chickens, goats, ducks, and cows but will not slaughter one to eat.

However, as soon as a guest arrives, one is sacrificed to eat with the guest.

In the same vein if a guest has no blanket, one is given to him to use while the owner of the house sleeps without a cover.

To the outside world, one might think the owner is suffering.

But this is the hospitality of our homes where all are happy with warm smiling face.

Eugene Nkwain, Cameroon

Do I really love Africa? Naturally, without a second thought, I'll say yes.

People carrying loads walk past transport buses in Lagos, Nigeria
The overcrowded buses put a lump in Eugene's throat

But when I start to think of a poverty and hunger-stricken continent inundated with greedy and power drunk leaders and I develop a qualm.

When I think of any possibility of getting a job, I feel something creeping up my chest - even if I get a job I will be used and abused without any guarantee of a regular salary.

Finally, when I think of the overloaded vehicles and overcrowded public transport buses and taxis plying our usually bad and busy roads, with policemen standing in all weathers finding faults in the vehicles in order to extort money from the drivers, it puts a lump in my throat...

I am amazed I never feel like throwing up.

But these thoughts then give me a topic to discuss over a bottle of beer with my friends in a bar.

They fuel the flames of hope in me - a hope for a better tomorrow and because I love Africa, I never throw up.

Mandy Bristol, Mozambique

When I first came to Africa, I expected the land to breathe.

I expected that it would be different here.

As if I had spent my life feeling the radial pulse of the earth, now I would stand by its heart.

I thought that I would find that the African earth was so alive that it could not help but live.

Nigeriens dance a traditional Huru Ruki dance for good luck and prosperity
Mandy says that dancing in Africa is firmly rooted in the rhythm of the earth

And that the people of Africa would live a transcendent life that transports them heaven-ward because they were so near to the life blood of the earth.

When I arrived and saw the blood-red soil and when I experienced the jubilant music and dancing, I thought that perhaps I was right.

I was wrong.

I have found that Africa is not the heart of the earth, pumping out life-blood for the rest of the world because it has to.

It gives life because it wills to.

It gives life, but not without pain and suffering.

Africa gives life because it has experienced real death.

When Africa has peace, it is because it has housed real conflict.

Africa gives love because it was devastated by real hate.

Africa triumphs because it has been so defeated.

Africa gives life by dying to itself.

Like a woman giving birth, Africa gives life through struggle, sacrifice, tearing, bleeding and abundant joy.

The people of Africa do dance a transcendent dance, but it is firmly rooted in the rhythm of this earth.

This is why I love Africa.


What do you think?

Do you find Africa annoying, frustrating and slow or is it fun, fast and exhilarating? Share your joys and sorrows of the continent in the new 2005 BBC competition - Why I love Africa.

If you have photos to accompany your contribution send them to newsonline.africa@bbc.co.uk, otherwise use the form at the bottom of the page. Entries should be no more than 300 words.

The best will be published on the news website and broadcast on the BBC World Service's Network Africa programme. Some will receive small prizes.

Use the form below to send your entry.

Name
Your E-mail address
Postal address, Town & Country
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.





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