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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 11:03 GMT
Why I love Africa
African HIV/Aids orphans
BBC listeners and readers share their personal experiences of the African continent.

Here are the latest contributions celebrating Africa's sense of identity, its villages and its brotherly love.

Penn Sama, Tanzania
I Love Africa The amazing, dazzling thing about Africa is the availability and affordability of almost everything. Groceries, electronics, clothing - all are relatively affordable.

I am not trying to imply that Africa has developed industrially to the extent it is capable of producing cheap commodities; far from that.

The fundamental idea is the unmatched skill of bargaining that my fellow countrymen have developed over the years of economic crises and financial crises.

It is overwhelming how a Sony music system priced at $500 is eventually bought at $200.

Where else in the world can you get such a discount except in Africa? What's the secret?

OK, I'll let you in on it; it's a second hand Sony musical system.

Yes that's the trend in Africa; second hand clothes, second hand shoes, second hand cars¿ the list is endless.

Sometimes you can't even tell the difference between the brand new and the second hand products. Don't get me wrong; it's not always sunshine and honey with these cheaply acquired second hand appliances.

Sometimes these second hand commodities are not functional and even if they work, it will not be long before you spend a fortune in repairing them. Children develop all sorts of scabies from wearing these cheaply acquired clothing, but no one ever complains or associates these predicament to the old clothing.

I just bought me a radio. Thanks to this cheap appliance I am able to listen to Network Africa every morning and I love the program because it gives me an idea about how my other African brothers live in this beautiful continent of ours. I love Africa.

Rosemary Mwenja, United States

I am a product of Africa. My strength, endurance, faith and trust comes from my heritage. My intelligence and wisdom was passed on to me by my people who taught me to believe that out of a seed a tree grows. I respect my elders and value their wisdom because Africa taught me to.

I speak at least three languages like most Africans do because I respect and honour others alike. Others abuse my hospitality because they think I am a fool. In reality that is how I am blessed. I have gone through many storms in life, but they have not destroyed me because Africa taught me that falling happens to all of us but I have to keep on going until I achieve my purpose in life.

I know I am never alone because Africa taught me that I am not my own but I belong to a people that value their own. Yes, Africa has many problems but it has a story to tell that the rest of the world can learn from. Just as I am coming to maturity, so is Africa and soon the world will have to listen to her and learn some lessons of love and hope. Long live Africa!

Gama Joseph Patrick, a Sudanese living in Uganda

The devastating war in my country of Sudan forced me to flee into exile in 1994. While in exile, I came into contact with many African friends and families as I travelled in different towns and cities.

In all visits, one great and unforgettable lesson I learnt is that Africans are in the same boat of love and care. On many occasions, I was supported both financially, materially and emotionally by my African friends of different nationalities.

I realised that amidst poverty, Africans possess hearts of compassion. Among Ugandans I feel at home, among Kenyans I feel at home, and among Rwandese I feel at home. I am proud of being an African. 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.

Your E-mail address
Postal address, Town & Country

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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