International brands should have dumped this narrative that Africa is a big jungle.
For centuries, Africa has been called the dark continent and some people (as well as brands) are holding on to this narrative.
International courier company DHL seems to believe that Africa is a safari stuck in a Lion King movie. On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, the Twitter account of DHL Africa posted an ad that can be described as stereotypical.
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The photo was of zebras and buffaloes in a Savannah against the backdrop of a sunset. "We want to know: What's the best thing about Africa?" tweeted DHL Africa.
The tweet got a lot of negative feedback from Africans on the social media app. "Dear @DHLAfrica Zebras and buffaloes do not represent Africa neither is "Africa" a homogeneous bushland as your condescending Conradesque imagery above suggests. Africa is people, Africa is infrastructure, Africa is 54 different countries. You obviously do not know Africa." tweeted Okechukwu Okorie.
DHL Africa not only fell for the jungle narrative but the equally tiresome narrative that lumps Africa as one country. Africa is made up of 54 countries. In these countries are many tribes and ethnic groups.
Several people went on to reply DHL's tweet with photos of African cities such as Lagos, Nairobi, Harare, and Abuja.
DHL Africa messed with the wrong continent. Instead of posting a picture of a safari in a region of Africa, the company should have listed or shown the abundant mineral resources in the continent.
Also, just because we are predominantly black does not mean we are all the same. Foreign brands need refresher courses on Africa and the countries in it.
Gone are the days when people put up with charity ads showing a naked African baby with flies on its face and a voice over that says "every three minutes in Africa a child dies of hunger."
Africa is growing daily and brands should follow the growth and not stick to colonial narratives.