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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 22:38 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 colour, rich diversity of experiences and the hospitality of its people.

Clive Wells, Milwaukee, US

I love Africa and its people. Nothing is held back - passion, beauty, horror and fascination go hand-in-hand.

Living in north America now has not lessened my passion for Africa.

The sweetest, unpolluted air, the smell of the first rains after the dry season, the vastness of the night sky and the endless horizons.

Friendly people willing to share what little they have in the name of hospitality.

Tola Odewole looks through leaves believed to have high medicinal values in Lagos, Nigeria
'Wherever we are from, Africa is still our mother'
Stories and legends by a hearty campfire in the bush and the continuous sounds of the night creatures.

The unpredictability of life requiring one to be alive, to be aware and to take nothing for granted.

The craving for education and the will to survive and raise children in incredibly harsh conditions.

The willingness to be polite even when offended culturally or personally.

There is also the modern Africa - bustling cities, TV and the internet, even in small and remote villages.

Now there is a growing realisation by the people that they can control their destinies within their cultures and using African means, including traditional justice, political systems and traditional healing.

Allow them a level playing field and give support not rules, handouts and indifference.

Africa is where we humans originated and it is still our mother.

Cliff Chibwezo, Malawi

In all the four countries of southern Africa that I have been to, I have realised that you can have a meal at any home you visit, despite turning up without notice.

I have grown up with several friends from the Western world.

Whenever it was time to have their lunch or supper while we were still playing, they would tell me plainly: "I am going to have my lunch, see you later," or "My mother didn't know that you would stay till this hour, so she hasn't prepared anything for you."

I love Africa because of the kindness of its people when it comes to sharing food, despite the difficulties they face in obtaining it
Cliff Chibwezo, Malawi
And off they would go to have their lunch or supper.

No single invitation was ever offered to me to have lunch or supper with them, simply because I had never told them in advance of my arrival. That does not happen in Africa.

In Africa, a visitor, whether known or unknown, is always invited to the table.

When you arrive at someone's home and the family is already at the table having their meal, you are told: "Karibu", meaning "Welcome to the table".

Should you arrive some minutes after the family has had a meal, then you will see pots and plates moving up and down and a fire being lit, signalling that a meal is in the offing for you. That's the true African spirit.

This attitude exists almost everywhere.

If you are travelling in a bus or a train and the person next to you has some food, he or she offers some to you.

I love Africa because of the kindness of its people when it comes to sharing food, despite the difficulties they face in obtaining it.

Delphine Asu, Nigeria

Dark ebony or black

Call it whatever

Sometimes it is associated with evil

And hardly really admired

Unicef ambassador Angelique Kidjo visits Ethiopia
'Africa's innate self cannot be drowned in the sea of development'
It is never seen as bright

And very few appreciate it

Of all the colours in the world

It alone is distinct

The colour is identified with Africa

She is sometimes called Black Africa

Because most Africans are dark

Or ebony or black.

That is what sets Africa apart

That is what I love about Africa

She is unique

And that is why I love her

She is rich in natural colours

Her innate self cannot be drowned

In the sea of development

She is nature herself

She is 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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