"Very limited education on rich, diverse cultures.."
That's the conclusion on American's knowledge and understanding of Africa that Tanya Munyua, PPRC's student of the month (November) has reached after moving here from her native Kenya 1-1/2 years ago.
Speaking Nov. 13 to Pearl Rotarians, Tanya dispelled misunderstandings and false beliefs Americans--especially young people--have. Firmly, she reminded her audience: "Africa is not a country; it's a continent."
Far too often, the Lincoln High Scool senior shared, Africa is seen in stereotypes: wild animals roam freely, dark-skinned people are both uncivilized and uneducated, children live in poverty. "Instead of putting down a whole continent...we should give young people a substantial education...about the rich, diverse countries [numbering 54]."
Titling her talk"The Danger of a Single Narrative" (from a book with that name), She began with an assignment: List six countries in Africa and six countries in Europe. She hopes similar exercises with students will result in "as much education about African countries as they have about European countries." She added: "I want them to know before they speak."
For Rotary's questionnaire in the club's newsletter, Tanya listed her activities at LHS: SAFER club (Students Active For Ending Rape); BSU (Black Student Union); OWL (Outstanding Writers Without Limits), a non-profit organization started up by Lincoln students that uses creative writing as a vehicle to teach ideas for personal development to elementary school children. Tanya was introduced by Tara Mussulman, past president of PPRC and youth service director.