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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 19:12 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 singing culture, its respect for marriage and its meaningful names.

Nicholas Kawinga, Zambia

I love Africa abundantly for her songs.

Africa is a singing continent; songs being so rich in words, in feeling and in emotions.

In Africa, we have a wealthy singing culture. No matter how dire the situation, we sing.

Women singing in Tanzania from BBC New Website reader Loralee Hyde
Nicholas Kawinga says singing heals and consoles

When a child is born we sing chant and dance; when one of us dies, we sing chant and dance.

We sing to keep our energies churning when working in the fields, we sing when pounding foodstuffs, we sing in rhythm with our simple tools.

Yes, life is simple and basic in my singing Africa.

We sing when with the plenty, we sing when faced with injustice, we sing when faced with justice; our birds even sing with us.

Oh God! Africa is a song.

Singing heals us, singing consoles us, singing soothes our souls, and singing generates hope.

Singing is life in our Africa

Oh, what a singing tradition! Africa, what a singing continent, you make me love you more and more.

Promise Alpha Momodu, Sierra Leone

I love Africa because of the way we preserve our marriages and the joyful manner in which they are conducted.

In Africa, the extended family system is so beautiful that all efforts are made to prevent broken marriages, something that is rampant in the West.

Children smiling in Madagascar from BBC New Website reader Steve Mumford
People always smile in Africa says Susan Wanjiku Kihara

My father Francis Momodu, who is now retired from government service, got married to my mother Mamei, over 40 years ago.

My father told us that his choice of a wife was by his own parents who spotted my mother as someone who would make a wonderful wife. For over 40 years, my father and mother have lived as one. Today, neither would dare move away from the other for even a few days.

The rich tradition of allowing our parents to identify our partners is still present although I must honestly admit that it is becoming weakened by Western influence. Today, those who identify the ones they say they love always run back to their parents with one complaint or the other about their partners.

But here again, the parents will always play the role of talking to their children to preserve their marriage as it is always better to build on one's relationship than to go about looking out for a new partner.

Above all, the parents will always remind their sons and daughters to think about the children, where present, and prevent a broken home. I love Africa.

Susan Wanjiku Kihara, Kenya

Africa is the most natural continent in the world. I love Africa because it is my homeland. It has the most beautiful, kind, welcoming, loving and intelligent people.

Africa has everything you need. We have beautiful names with meanings. In Africa, when you are born, you are either named after somebody or an event that matters in life.

In our villages everyone learns to share everything from birth

Our weather is great, even when it rains you do not need to dress heavily with jackets. We are in touch with mother nature. We have wildlife, clear mountains and valleys, and generally people have a smile everyday on their face.

In our villages everyone learns to share everything from birth. We share food with neighbours. You can have a meal in any home because everybody loves each other.

We have good and educational folktales to tell our children which helps them grow responsibly. You can discipline a neighbour's child and no one will raise a finger.

Respect for elders is a MUST. In Africa, we respect the elderly people and this teaches the younger generation the power of living.

Though slow in growing in modern technology what is important in our culture is love, respect for human and care that binds us all together.

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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