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Africa is a continent, nothing more

Stock photo.
Stock photo.

As we commemorate Africa Month, let me voice my opinion concerning a norm which I think should be corrected.

I have, on multiple occasions, questioned the rationale behind many people, including leaders, writers and news anchors, referring to Africa as “the African continent”. This renders Africa as “belonging to a continent” and not as a continent itself. Because the word “African” is an adjective that implies something relating/belonging to Africa. When we say “the African continent’”, we are acknowledging that there is an existing continent that belongs to Africa, which is unfortunately not true. This continent we live in does not belong to Africa, it is Africa itself, therefore it is grammatically incorrect to say “the African continent” when referring to it.

To take my argument further, Tsonga is an African language because it belongs to Africa. Mozambique is an African country because it is one of the countries located in Africa. We have African foods and African attire because they belong to Africa in terms of invention and creation. It is so sad that of all the continents in the world, only ours is identified as a mere adjective modifying the noun “continent”.

Europe is never referred to as “the European continent”, nor are any of the other continents referred to in this way.

Malphia Honwane
Gottenburg eManyeleti

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