Countries of Africa

Call me geographically challenged. By which I mean, put me in a hallway in a hotel, and I turn the wrong direction toward the elevator. Every. Single. Time. My husband learned early on that “You’ve been there,” wasn’t a sufficient response to a request for directions. Been there? More than once? Irrelevant. As for me, I’ve learned when asking for directions to state my deficiency up front. “I’m really not good geographically.” Do that, and people slow down their instructions. They lock in on you, maintaining eye contact to tell if you’re following or not. Even better, they add markers to their left or right turns (“You’ll see the Walgreens.”) In a word, they’re kind.

I share all this to let you know the following project is not something I undertake lightly.

The Project

I intend to learn where the countries of Africa are situated on a map.

Why Learn the Countries of Africa

I’ve decided my abject ignorance about the same is a racist ignorance, and it’s time to do something about it.

No, I can’t tell you exactly where Prague is (yeah, I’ve been there. Twice. See above.) Yet, I know the Czech Republic is in Central Europe. Until this morning, however, I had no idea where Chad was on a map of the countries of Africa, never mind what its capital is (smack in the center; N’Djamena). Several years ago, I learned Morocco was in Africa when my niece did a semester abroad there. But this morning, I learned why we place it, Algeria, Libya, and particularly Egypt politically in the Middle East even though they are geographically Northern Africa.

This won’t be a memorization project. Studying a map spawns too many questions for that. As I learn geographically where countries are, I’ll learn about them, their history, how the world views them. All I can say is, it’s about time.

Color map showing the countries of Africa
Countries of Africa from

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Comments (6)

  • We are all – well most of us – geographically challenged! I do plan to go to Morocco one of these days. I’ve always wanted to go – I feel drawn to the colors and foods of the region. More so since my DNA test showed I’m 1>% northern African.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      My niece loved Morocco. My younger sister visited when she was there, as did her mom. Not us. ): So interesting what DNA plants in us. It affirmed my wanting to be a Viking when I was a teenager. 🙂

  • I agree that not paying attention to the geography of Africa is a problem, I think that we need to know WHERE places are ALL OVER the world. I haven’t been able to travel the world in person, but I always believe in finding out where a country/city is when I read/hear about them in the news.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      That’s such a good practice. I do hope that, as familiarize myself with the continent, when I hear a country on the news, I’ll then be able to say–oh, right. And picture where it is.

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